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.
May 3, 2019, 4:57am
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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.