President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday gained major support in his war on terrorism after ASEAN leaders praised him in chorus for destroying ISIS-linked Maute leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.
In his speech during the start of the summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, in Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told his fellow ASEAN leaders to thank Mr. Duterte for his effort in keeping the South East Asia safe.
“I ask my fellow ASEAN leaders to thank our southern friend for his effort in keeping us all safe. The destruction of Isis is what keeps us mutually united. I would like to thank President Duterte for his crucial decisions that led to success”, Razak said which followed by a big applause from ASEAN leaders.
Vietnames President Trần Đại Quang on the other hand echoed Nazak statement saying ASEAN leaders should united behind Duterte in fighting terrorism and illegal drugs.
ASEAN leaders are expected to meet in the Philippines starting next week with Duterte as the host.
Duterte made a short stop at Hanoi meeting a Filipino community there.
Once again, he asked his compatriots to give him four years to fulfil his campaign promises, and said his country was one of the “lucky” ones to be called to the Belt and Road Forum. He said he hoped to discuss trade and how his country could benefit from the economic plan devised by President Xi Jinping.
The visit to the city is Duterte’s first as president, as he makes his way returning to Manila hosting the ASEAN summit.
“Just give me three to four years [to get things done] … Just give me time to stop corruption,” he said. “I am really trying my very best.”
Duterte supporter Jennifer Lagahit Daproza hoped the president would improve the economy back home so Filipinos do not have to go overseas and work as domestic helpers.
“We want him to eliminate drugs because the drugs cause the crime and the crime rate goes up and then businesses don’t want to come because they’re scared,” she said.
“We have seen such a big improvement … we feel very positive that before his term ends he will be able to accomplish what he said he would do.”
Another attendee, who gave her name as Lisa, said Duterte gave their country a sense of pride that was not felt by the community during previous administrations.
The president has engaged in a war on drugs in his country that has killed more than 8,000 accused drug dealers and users.
Despite international outcry against Duterte’s actions, his popularity at home remains high. /Nikki Maliksi/