Damage control surpasses the realm of art into science when the person whose offensiveness you're trying to contain is the Philippine President Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte. Despite the woeful history of a zero tolerance approach to narcotics worldwide--nowhere has the "war on drugs" worked as intended--Duterte is intent on learning this the hard way. Being very think-skinned, Duterte takes any perceived slight very badly, hurling insults at any and all critics.
As it so happens, those who have raised concern about human rights abuses as the body count piles up via extrajudicial killings in his "war on drugs" represent the world's most powerful countries.
President Barack Obama refused to meet Duterte at an ASEAN gathering in Laos after being cursed as a "son of a whore" over possibly raising the issue of human rights. More recently, Duterte threw the middle finger at the European Parliament over mentioning similar human rights concerns, adding an f-bomb to get his point across.
While the shallow and stupid are doubtlessly happy about Duterte sticking it to leaders of wealthy countries--screw the imperialists and so on and so forth--the sensible are left holding the bag in mending relations with increasingly antsy international counterparts. Consider that, for every single day in September so far, foreign investors have reduced their holdings of Philippine equities. This turn of events has prompted Philippine central bank officials to come out en masse to downplay Duterte's offensive outbursts. These include eight-time [!] best central banker in the world awardee Amando Tetangco:
Philippine central bank Governor Amando Tetangco sought to soothe investors spooked by President Rodrigo Duterte’s rhetoric around his anti-drug war, with stocks poised for the longest outflow since 2007.Meanwhile, money is leaving the country continuously:
“If you take out the noise and look at the fundamentals, look at the economic program, look at the quality of the members appointed to the economic team, then these are all solid,” Tetangco told bankers, traders and fund managers late Thursday in Manila.
Tetangco joins a host of economic officials including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who on Wednesday said economic policies have been clear and consistent since Duterte took office in June. S&P Global Ratings this week warned of “rising uncertainties surrounding the stability, predictability, and accountability” under the new government.
Money that flowed into the Philippines after the May elections is drying up. Philippine stocks slid 0.7 percent on Friday, and foreign funds have been selling for 21 straight days as of Thursday, the longest outflow since 2007.The irony remains that, if you make the reasonable assumption that this "war on drugs" will be as futile as every other, he will have given his country significant political and economic handicaps besides by acting this way. Who benefits?
The peso slumped to an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar and is the worst-performing Asian currency after the yuan this year. Foreign direct investment shrank 41 percent in June from a year earlier.