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Kazuya Gutierrez Sato

1 POL 1

Explaining Political Polarization in the

This paper examines the causes behind the segmented politics under the
regime of President Rodrigo Duterte.The polarization and division of
Philippine politics and the society in general is a result of the growing anti-
media fervor and its capitalization by the administration , the
administration's emotional framing of illegal-drugs issues, and finally the
value-laded characteristics surrounding said issues.
No other candidate capitalized on social media during the 2016 election
than the current administration, Dutertes campaign team was the most
effective in utilizing the power of social media (Cook & Salazar,
2016).Today, the administration capitalizes in the growing the anti-media
fervor in Philippines to gather support, this fervor is response to the
monopoly on information held by the mainstream media in the Philippines,
the Philippine media community has long had the keys to the gates of
information where they had monopoly of doing news with various
influencers who set or cut the news agenda (Beltran, 2017). To break this
monopoly is true information dissemination for the participants of anti-
media movement. The administration capitalizes on this movement through
the likes of Mocha Uson, Usons repeated and often escalating attacks
against the mainstream media, in general, sets the perceived political
propaganda and bias of the mainstream media (Beltran,2017). The two
main news networks of the country, GMA and ABS-CBN along with news
website Rappler has been in the receiving end of this anti-media backlash
for being Anti-Duterte and supporter of the Yellows. The current
administration riding on this anti media fervor, tries to discredit and
antagonize anyone or any entity that tries to criticize the persona of Duterte
or express unfavorable views over his policies weather it be fact or opinion
as fake news and more often than not name call the individual or entity
that is expressing it.
One of the key defining characteristics of Dutertes campaign is its ability to
stir up emotions when it comes to the issue of illegal-drugs. Illegal-drugs
play a central role in his platform and his presentation of it is one of the
reason why he won.
Dutertes entry into the political stage changed the tenor of the political
conversation. A latecomer to the presidential race, Duterte placed the
Kazuya Gutierrez Sato
1 POL 1

language of the crisis in the foreground, depicting the republic as a nation

on the brink of disaster pointing to illegal drugs as a culprit (Curato,2016).
However, it is not right to view the anxiety and antagonism duterte created
over drugs was something that was brought by him alone instead it was a
latent anxiety already existing in the public sphere(Curato, 2016). Today,
this anxiety and antagonism fully reveals itself in the form of all-out war on
drugs that has divided our society on its appropriate methods and desired
ends. It manifests itself in the form of penal populism where giving a voice
to the citizens frustrations while effectively silencing the the perspective of
the dangerous other for they are enemies considered to be eradicated
(Curato, 2016). Indeed, in todays political debate the narrative of the
supposed victims and their experience dominates as way for justification
and also to shutdown any critic regarding the war on drugs.
Finally, what truly sets apart and divide our society and its politics is the
different values expressed by different members when it comes to political
disagreements. The presence of values really matters because, Political
disputes are hard to reconcile and to leave mutual agreement because
unlike disputes over facts it cant be rationally resolved (Mason, 1993). We
can all agree that no one is against combating and preventing the
proliferation of illegal-drugs and achieving a addiction free society. The
disagreements lies in the methodologies that is employed and this is where
the value ladenness of the disagreement can be observed;concept such as
rule of law, human rights, justice, mercy, or compassion are really disputes
over values. The weight and importance of these concepts differs among
different groups and sectors. The church, Academia, Civil rights group are
critical of the war on drugs because of the significance of these concepts
among these groups. The other side of the fence that supports the war on
drugs are applauding it because in contrast they favour vigilantism,
deterrence, and security before civil liberties.
It would be interesting to see how will time shape the current political
environment of the nation and how will it impact the regimes hold to power.
Kazuya Gutierrez Sato
1 POL 1


Cook, M., & Salazar, L. (22 june 2016). The Differences Duterte Relied
Upon to Win. ISEAS,(34), 2335-6677, 1-12. Retrieved Oct. & nov., 2017,

Beltran, J. V. (jun 14 2017). 61 The Emergence of the Philippine Anti-

Media:The Duterte Factor. ResearchGate, 13, 1st ser., 1-14.

Curato, N. (12 december 2016). Politics of Anxiety, Politics of Hope: Penal

Populism and Dutertes Rise to Power. Journals of Current South East
Asian Affairs, 35(3), 91-109, 1-20. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from

Mason, A. (1993). Explaining Political Disagreement. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press. SS B 019502