The Malacañang Palace on Thursday, January 5, acknowledged the titles of “Person of the Year” and “Asia’s Big Winner” given by different media agencies to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier this week, Duterte was named as the “Person of the Year” by a Chinese magazine.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that “Yazhou Zhoukan,” “the TIME magazine of the Chinese-speaking world,” gave the award to Duterte for his foreign policy shift away from the U.S. in favor of China.
“The article also praises Duterte’s program of good governance and anti-corruption campaign as a reason for his popularity among the Filipinos,” Abella told reporters.
Duterte has also been named as this year’s “Asia’s Big Winner” in CNN’s commentary list of “Winners and losers in Asia in 2016.”
Curtis S. Chin and Jose B. Collazo, authors of the commentary article, commended Duterte for winning the last year’s presidential elections in a landslide victory and “subsequently upending, rethinking and reshaping the state of affairs — for good or for bad — at home and abroad.”
The opinion article, published on December 23, 2016, cited Duterte’s “unsparing and bloody” war against illegal drugs that earned him condemnation from different local and international human rights groups.
Chin and Collazo also mentioned Duterte’s declaration to “separate” from the United States, the Philippines’ decades-long ally, and lauded him for setting aside the territorial disputes in the South China Sea to pursue business deals with China.
“For now, the Philippine leader’s unconventional moves seem a harbinger of things to come,” the authors wrote.
Chin and Collazo also took note that Duterte still enjoys a high approval rating despite being surrounded by controversies. In the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted last month, 77 percent Filipinos said they were satisfied with the president’s performance.
“Duterte ends 2016 vowing to rebalance his nation’s ties, improve the life of the average Filipino and make the Philippines — a one-time economic and trade powerhouse — great again,” the article further read.
Last month, Duterte has also been included in Forbes Magazine’s “World’s Most Powerful People in 2016,” ranking 70th among its featured 74 personalities.
“It’s heartening to know that certain media agencies are able to notice the good things the President is doing,” Abella said.