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Durterte and The Taxi Driver

Written By: jipp - Oct• 21•17

So I was in Manila recently, playing a tour guide to a bunch of my family members who were there for a very short vacation. Unlike in my previous trips to Manila which were dominated by the use of jeepneys, I used quite a number of taxis this time. One of the best things about taxi drivers in Manila is their ability to speak quite fluent English. It’s always easy to communicate with them at length. So I grabbed the opportunity to ask one or two of the taxi drivers about what they thought of their new president.

“I actually like him. He really works. He does his job” said a taxi driver as we moved slowly along with the slow traffic towards the airport where my family members were waiting to be picked up. So I asked him about all the killings that he’s been accused of doing to curb the serious drug problems among the Filipino communities especially in Manila.

“Yes, drug is a very serious problem in Manila. Very very serious” he said. “So you think it is justified for him to do all the killings to curb these drug problems?” I asked. He appeared to be hesitant at first, but said “No. He should not do it. He cannot just go kill people. He should not misuse his power to kill defenseless people. He is not God”

“You mean these people deserve a fair trial?” I asked, just to dig out more. “Yes, they deserve to be given a fair trial. If it is confirmed that a person is involved with drug only then he should be sent to jail”

“and not to be shot?” I heard myself ask. The documentary on the overcrowded prisons in Manila that I watched on TV suddenly came to mind. “No, nobody should be killed. That’s against the Catholic teachings. Even God forgives. They should be given a chance to repent and be sorry of what they did” he said as if disgusted by my question.

“But then Duterte is not a Catholic” he continued. I didn’t bother to ask what he (Duterte) was. For me it’s not really about religion.

“Thank you for telling me your thoughts on Duterte. I had the impression that most Filipino people agreed of what he is doing” I thanked him as we neared the arrival hall.

“Not really. We are happy that he is doing his job but not the killings” he replied before we offered good bye to each other. The driver of the taxi that I took later seemed to share the sentiment.

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