Voice of change? A closer look at the 'Duterte Youth'

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2017 04:23 AM

MANILA- For some, the Duterte Youth may be an unwelcome voice of millennials but for others, they are the future of republic.

Speaking to ANC on Monday, two members of the Duterte Youth shared their advocacies, the story behind their group’s name, and spoke about alleged misconceptions about them.

Ronald Cardema, the group’s chairman, said they initially formed due to the common desire of reviving the mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) in schools.

“Wala tayong strong nationalistic approach to strengthen our country eh. We always look up to our neighbors,” he said on ANC’s “Talkback.”

Soon, members of the group found another common denominator: their admiration for President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We saw that in Mayor Duterte we have a strongman leader... so this guy has the political will talaga so if he wants changes pinu-pursue niya talaga kahit sino masagaan talagang he instills changes so minsan lang tayo magkaroon ng leader na may ganitong political will,” Cardema said.

Cardema explained that as a group, they were frustrated over the country’s condition and saw hope in Duterte.

“Parang walang pinatutunguhan yung bansa natin. Hindi kami misguided youth. We want a strong nation and in President Duterte kasi we found a leader who wants to make our country strong, who wants to make the Philippines a real superpower here in Asia,” he said.

Adrian Alfafara, a member of the group, added that they thought it would have “more impact” if they named the group after the President.

“It would make an impact if we would name ourselves the ‘Duterte Youth,’ and most of our members really support the president in his aim to secure the people from these drugs and other crimes,” Alfafara said.

Alfafara also addressed allegations that their group is pro-Marcos, claiming it is the “biggest” misconception about them.

“We’re not really like that. We support change for our people, for our nation—change as a whole,” he said.

Cardema also noted that it does not automatically mean that because they support Duterte, they also support the Marcoses.

He said some members of the group who campaigned for Duterte last year did not campaign for former vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos.

Asked on how the group takes Duterte’s threats to criminals, as well as allegations that the former Davao mayor ordered killings, 

Cardema said they consider it more of as a "rhetoric" only to scare criminals.

"For the past 6 years of the Aquino administration, ‘di talaga nila naprove yun and ang nakikita lang naman talaga natin from Davao is the results. Kung baga Davao is a very safe city and maybe it’s also part of the rhetoric of then mayor Duterte to scare the criminals,” he said.