Duterte’s Vision for Public Health
The election of maverick former mayor of Davao, Rodrigo Duterte to the Filipino presidency in May 2016 represented a dramatic departure from politics as usual and raised interesting questions about future health policy in south East Asia’s second most populous country.
As a candidate for president, Duterte, commonly known as “the punisher” for his hardline, uncompromising and draconian approach, raised eyebrows for floating the idea of implementing a “three-child family planning policy” and for vowing to "commit a substantial proportion of the revenues of the Philippine Amusement and Gambling Corporation into a trust fund” to be used for payment of public hospital bills up and down the country. “I only want to see three children for every family… I’m a Christian, but I’m also a realist so we have to do something to combat our overpopulation and I am more than ready to defy the might of the Church, if that’s what it takes,” he solemnly declared on the campaign trail. Another pledge has him promising to “force all private hospitals to set aside 20 to 30 beds for the poor, with their expenses paid for by the government.”