Philippines’ Duterte sees lowest rating since becoming president

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, gestures to show respect to Filipino Archbishop Romulo Valles, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, during their meeting at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila on Monday, July 9. (Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
Updated 10 July 2018
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Philippines’ Duterte sees lowest rating since becoming president

MANILA: Satisfaction in Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency since coming into office in 2016, an independent survey showed on Tuesday.
Net satisfaction, used by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) as a rating of the president’s performance, was down 11 points from the first quarter to 45 in the survey of 1,200 Filipinos conducted in the last week of June.
It was the president’s lowest rating in eight surveys taken since 2016. In the first quarter of this year, Duterte’s rating slipped to 56 percent from 58 percent in December 2017.
The president was unfazed by the drop in his ratings.
“I don’t care, it does not interest me at all,” Duterte told a news conference north of Manila.
The survey was taken during the week when Duterte attacked the Catholic Church and called God “stupid” after bishops and priests criticized the killing of drug suspects in the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“It was an unnecessary remark, it really affected his ratings,” said analyst Earl Parreno of the Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms.
“The rising prices and unemployment also had an impact, but this is only temporary. He has to repair his relations with the bishops and rebuild his image,” Parreno said.
Duterte met with the head of the Catholic Bishops group on Monday, promising to refrain from attacking the Church.
The SWS survey did not ask respondents to explain their rating for Duterte, who took office in June 2016. Duterte had enjoyed high satisfaction ratings since coming to office, peaking at 66 in June 2017.
Based on the SWS methodology for satisfaction ratings, a score of 70 and above is considered excellent, 50 to 69 is very good, 30-49 good and 10-29 moderate.


Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

  • The Gomez family gather for funeral of a husband and wife and their three sons
  • They were brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine

COLOMBO: The dark wooden coffins, sitting side by side, attested to one family’s unspeakable grief.
The Gomez family gathered Tuesday to say a final farewell to five loved ones — a son, a daughter-in-law and three young grandsons — brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine.
“All family, all generation, is lost,” said Joseph Gomez, the family patriarch, as tears welled in his eyes. Dozens of family members and neighbors were gathered in his simple home, where the sound of hymns sung by mourners gently wafted in the background and candles flickered beside three coffins. The bodies of two grandsons have yet to be recovered.
Across Sri Lanka, Tuesday was a national day of mourning as families began to lay to rest the more than 320 victims of the bomb blasts that struck a half-dozen churches and hotels in the island nation.
For the Gomez family, the loss was unfathomable: A 33-year-old son, Berlington Joseph, the young man’s 31-year-old wife Chandrika Arumugam, and their three boys, 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and baby Avon, who would have turned 1 next week. A funeral card with a photo of the family clutched in his hands, the elder Gomez wailed: “I can’t bear this on me, I can’t bear this.”
“My eldest son, my eldest son,” he sobbed as he laid bouquets of red roses and brightly colored daisies on the largest coffin. Next to it was a tiny coffin, a photo of little Avon tucked into a wooden frame nearby.
The coffins, draped with long white tassels, were then carried to a Colombo cemetery and lowered into side-by-side graves.
At St. Joseph’s Shrine, dozens of mourners gathered outside, lighting candles and praying in unison for the victims of Sunday’s blasts as heavily armed soldiers stood guard.
At St. Sebastian Church in Negombo, a funeral service was held Tuesday for victims killed there as they worshipped, led by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith. The church was heavily guarded by hundreds of army, air force and police troops, and soldiers were deployed every 15 feet along the streets of the city some 20 miles north of Colombo.
Throughout the country, people observed a three-minute silence for the victims of the near-simultaneous attacks at three churches and three luxury hotels, and three other related blasts, the deadliest violence to strike Sri Lanka in a decade.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed the attack on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known local extremist group, and on Tuesday, the Daesh group also claimed responsibility, though it provided no proof it was involved and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.