Filipinos in Dubai react to Duterte's cursing of Obama


Filipinos in Dubai react to Dutertes cursing of Obama

Dubai - Some were ashamed but others praised him for showing 'political backbone'

By Angel Tesorero

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Published: Wed 7 Sep 2016, 3:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Sep 2016, 12:38 AM

Filipino expats in the UAE have expressed mixed reactions over Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's alleged cursing of US President Barack Obama. 
Some praised him for having 'political backbone' and for standing up against US intervention in Philippine domestic affairs while others said his statements were uncalled for, undiplomatic and crass. 
In a press conference on Monday, Duterte unleashed an expletive-laden caution against the US for reportedly meddling in his government's war on drugs that has led to the deaths of thousands of drug peddlers. 
When asked what he would say if he comes face to face with Obama at the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Forum in Laos, Duterte said: "I am the president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the F?ilipino people...We have long been a republic. I do not kneel down before anybody except the Filipino in Quiapo walking in misery, in poverty and hunger... Masyado kayong bilib sa America (You have so much belief in America)" 
"You (Obama) must be respectful. Do not just throw away question and statements. Putang ina - mumurahin talaga kita diyan sa forum (Son of a #$@ - I will curse you at the forum) 
The meeting between the two leaders did not take place on Tuesday after Obama scrapped it and the US President was quoted in a report as saying: "Clearly he's (Duterte) a colorful guy" and added that he was talking to his staff to see if "this is a time we can have some constructive, productive conversations." 
A statement was later issued by the Philippine government explaining that the press reports that Obama would "lecture" Duterte on extrajudicial killings led to his strong comments, which in turn elicited concern. Duterte did not directly apologise to Obama but said that he regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy. 
For Sharjah resident Sahron Roy Tamano, former president of Filipino Maranao Community in the UAE: "Duterte's cursing did not bode well for the Philippines especially if it is taken out of context. Our President should start building his image by showing his toughness with confidence and a character acceptable to international leaders. I want him to succeed and I don't want the international media to brand him as a bully or crass leader." 
"But he has raised a very valid point and his statements has historical context when he pointed out America's atrocities against the Philippines during the Filipino-American War," Tamano added. 
"As a Moro and a Muslim, that important period in our history is something that we can not forget as our ancestors fought till death for our rights to preserve our land, culture and religion. The US has yet to admit the atrocities they committed against our people," Tamano underlined. 
Dubai resident Hecki Sentillas said the incident "could strain bilateral relationships and affect US.  support. But hey, I stand by Duterte. He is doing a great job as a president of our country. He may have flaws but I would not exchange him with anyone. It's Duterte all the way." 
Photojournalist Jun Cargullo added: "Definitely it is not good image for our country. Aggressiveness can never resolve any argument, it will only worsen the situation. For Duterte to act like a bully, we will never have somebody to gain to our side except those who hate US from the start." 
Abu Dhabi resident Jenny Padua, who previously worked as presidential protocol officer and speechwriter to the First Lady during former president Joseph Estrada's administration, said: "I can only think of two words: civility and diplomacy. I've worked in Malacanang (presidential palace) before and we're always reminded to remain civil and diplomatic in all our actions. We need to act civil and diplomatic." 
"Imagine a world if all world leaders would act in an uncivilized and undiplomatic manner? That is so unbecoming of a world leader since you set an example to your people. I didn't vote for Duterte for a number of good reasons and I'm glad I made a good choice not voting for him. However, as a citizen it is my duty to support (and constructively criticize if need be) the duly elected President. You don't talk like that to an ally. Simply put, you don't curse your friend. It's just really "off" for me." 
But Nhel Morona, UAE coordinator of Migrante-Middle East, believes that "Duterte may not have the moral aptitude but at least he has the political backbone." 
"We support Duterte's statement against US intervention in our domestic affairs. His statements are actually morale-boosters because this is only the first time that a Philippine president has stood up against US intervention," Morona added. 
"He showed his resolve and it is only correct that we support him in his fight for our sovereignty. We hope that his assertion will inspire the end of the master-puppet relation that has defined the US-Philippine ties." 
"But while we support him, we do not turn our backs and keep silent on extrajudicial killings. We strongly challenge Duterte to seriously address this issue and respect human rights," Morona stressed. 

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