VICE Votes

We Put Supporters and Critics of President Duterte in a Room Together

A group of young voters sits down to discuss the midterm elections and his policies – including marijuana legalisation, same-sex marriage, and the controversial War on Drugs.
Photo by VICE

In the Philippines, the midterm election is held around the 3rd year of President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency. While he is not up for re-election (Philippine presidents get a single 6-year term upon getting elected), the midterm elections is a test of his popularity. In 2016, Duterte won the election with 39% of the presidential vote.

Those up for election are Senators and Congressmen, as well as local officials. The 2019 midterm elections arrive against the background of a voting population fractured by a variety of issues—the War on Drugs, marijuana legalisation, competing claims over territorial waters, to name a few—and the current administration tasked with handling these issues.

As Duterte’s choices as president are put to the test – as are his endorsed candidates – VICE gathers a focus group of pro and anti-administration young voters from a spectrum of religious, social and political beliefs. The discussion aims to understand why they believe, fear, and support the things they do. Moderated by VICE Asia’s Editor-in-Chief Natashya Gutierrez, the focus group includes students, NGO workers, mothers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, among others.

The Philippine midterm elections will take place on May 13 and will cover 18,000 seats across the country.