NYT report a well-paid hack job, says Abella
Malacañang on Wednesday described The New York Times’ profile of President Rodrigo Duterte as a “well-paid hack job,” and blasted it for linking his rise to power to violence.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement that the New York Times appeared to be dealing with facts selectively in order to “bully” Mr. Duterte.
“One would expect more from the New York Times. Their article, ‘Becoming Duterte: The making of a Philippine strongman,’ sounds like a well-paid hack job for well-heeled clients with shady motives,” Abella said.
He objected to the article’s use of violence to frame the rise to power of Mr. Duterte—who has repeatedly threatened to kill criminals and drug peddlers—and said it ignored his other achievements.
“NYT cynically and unfairly narrates the President’s rise to power in the context of violence. It deliberately fails to mention the many initiatives the President made when he was Davao City mayor,” he said.
He pointed out that with Mr. Duterte as its long-term mayor, Davao City had been praised as one of the safest cities in the world.
Residents followed an antismoking and a midnight alcohol ban, and city services were efficient, he noted.
“Moreover, Mr. Duterte ensured that Davao City Hall is a responsive government known for its efficient delivery of government services,” he said.
On Mr. Duterte’s watch, Davao City got a one-stop shop for business permits, a Central Communication and Emergency Response Center that provides emergency resources to residents, a Lingap Para sa Mahirap health financial assistance program, free primary and secondary education in public institutions and access to college education for underprivileged but deserving students, he said.
Best of intentions
While Mr. Duterte shuns “Western liberal niceties” and has a rough manner, he only has the best of intentions for the nation, Abella said.
Mr. Duterte wants to reduce crime and poverty, and bring about peace, he said.
“[The President] does not engage in Western liberal niceties to promote his agenda, to rebuild a nation with compromised internal structures,” he said.
“He is a rough-hewn outsider who vowed to ‘reduce poverty; restore trust in the government by addressing crime, corruption and illegal drugs; and reinforce peace agreements with ethnic Moros who experienced historic injustice, and the CPP/NPA/NDFP who have been fighting for social justice for decades,’” he added.
The New York Times article failed to present the whole picture of the President, he said.
“One gets the feeling NYT is not interested in presenting the whole truth, only that with which they can bully those who attempt an independent foreign policy,” he said.
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