The Health of the Filipino People & the New Administration



Philippines, public health, political economy, social determinants of health, social class, health systems


The Republic of the Philippines is characterized by severe social and economic inequalities, with 26% of the population in poverty. Government spending on health and access to health services has been limited. Garnering the vote of many poor Filipinos, Rodrigo Duterte was elected to the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines on May 9 and inaugurated on June 30, 2016. In the Western media, he has been vilified for his off-the-cuff remarks as the "Trump of the Philippines" or for the law-and-order policies of his tenure as Mayor of Davao City as “The Punisher” or "Duterte Harry." In reality, however, he is a more complex figure, who has made peace with Muslims and with Communists while serving as Mayor. Since his election, he has included leftists in his cabinet and declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist insurgency. He has vowed to institute social policies to uplift the poor, including improvements in health access. The oligarchy will not give up its privileges and its holdings easily, however. The health of the Filipino people will be affected by what Duterte is able to accomplish during the length of his six-year term.


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Themes and Debates