The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic initially threatened the populist legacy of Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Despite implementing one of the longest and strictest lockdowns globally, the country is still struggling to control the virus. While Duterte appears victorious in his assault on human rights and media freedom, his government’s record in fighting the virus is spotty at best. Yet, Duterte’s populism proved resilient. He remains extremely popular, with a September national survey reporting 81% approval of his government’s response to the pandemic and 91% of respondents expressing trust in his leadership.

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