Dutertespeak: A guide for the foreign media | Global News

Dutertespeak: A guide for the foreign media

/ 08:31 PM September 23, 2016

“Duterte turns ire on EU, calls them hypocrites and uses ‘F’ word” — PDI headline Sept. 20, 2016

President Duterte’s colorful language has attracted worldwide attention. But his words have often been misunderstood, according to his supporters. It’s probably time for President Duterte’s team to issue guidelines to help the foreign media understand and even appreciate Digong’s unorthodox style.

As President Barack Obama himself acknowledged, after Digong reportedly called him a “son of a whore,” such language is “just a habit, a way of speaking for him.”


If Pareng Barack gets it, heck then the international media should learn to understand and report Duterte’s speeches and outbursts in the proper context.


A guide to Dutertespeak could help. Here are some tips:

  1. “Fuck you” really means “I reject strongly your position on this matter and am expressing my intense displeasure with your pronouncements.”

The latest misunderstanding involves the European Union to which the president reportedly said, “Fuck you.”

Okay, that’s not exactly a diplomatic or polite thing to do. But, seriously, people say that all the time, right?

It’s like another popular version of that expression in the U.S. with the word “mother.” It’s just the way people speak. Even you, members of the foreign media, use it.

(By the way, if you happen to do so during your stint in Manila, it’s important to know that the reaction of locals, as relayed by your interpreter or guide, may seem odd: “Well, I hope you trip, too,” or in Tagalog: “Madapa ka rin sana.”)

And about Duterte’s EU outburst, well, the man was upset because yet another international body criticized his popular (though admittedly bloody) campaign against drug addicts and dealers.


So President Duterte was merely expressing his staunch disagreement with the EU’s position.

So it is recommended that the next time he says “Fuck you,” just auto-replace those two words (which are after all not appropriate for a family newspaper or news broadcast) with: “I reject strongly your position on this matter and am expressing my intense displeasure with your pronouncements.”

  1. “Putangina” really means “I firmly believe you are mistaken.”

There’s been a great deal of confusion over the Duterte’s use of this popular Filipino expression, which literally means “Your mother is a whore.”

Like No. 1, it is a common expression of excitement, frustration, disappointment or anger. You members of the foreign media must go beyond the words themselves. You must focus on their true meaning when uttered by Rodrigo Duterte, who is really saying: “I firmly believe you are mistaken.”

  1. “Gago” really means “It is unfortunate that you have embraced a viewpoint that is contrary to mine.”

This is another popular expression that Duterte uses a lot. Now, this must be made clear: This does not refer to a male version of Lady Gaga. Literally it means “stupid” or “moron.”

It’s not always meant as a personal attack, but more of an expression of a strong opinion. When Digong says it, what he’s really saying is: “It is unfortunate that you have embraced a viewpoint that is contrary to mine.”

  1. “Ulol” really means “Your perspective on this matter is not one I embrace.”

Again, an important note: This is not a variation of the popular Web acronym for “laughing out loud.” (Though I guess it could stand for “uncontrollably laughing out loud.”)

Like “gago,” it also means stupid, but when used by Duterte it really means, “Your perspective on this matter is not one I embrace.”

  1. “DDS” really means “Duterte’s Daring Superheroes.”

“DDS” has been widely reported to stand for “Davao Death Squads.” Again, this is malicious misinformation. These courageous groups have been using their incredible superpowers to get rid of criminal elements. From now on, please make sure to explain that DDS is short for “Duterte’s Daring Superheroes.”

  1. “Extrajudicial Killing” really means “Saving the living from nonhumans” or “Salvaging”

By now, you’ve probably heard that the nation’s esteemed legislators have also declared that the phrase “extrajudicial killing” is grossly inaccurate. And a warning: Repeated use of that phrase will be considered an act of sabotage, which could result in your removal from the country.

The Philippine Congress now uses the phrase “deaths under investigation.” The office of President Duterte believes that does not go far enough and is still potentially misleading.

For President Duterte’s actions are all about preserving and affirming life. The Punisher is about saving lives from drug dealers and addicts who are, as the president has eloquently declared, not humans.

Thus, the more acceptable and accurate phrase “Saving the living from nonhumans.”

To keep it short, it is recommended that you use the term “salvaging.”

Oh, yes that was also the term used by the late President Ferdinand Marcos in his campaign against another menace, the Communists.

Please note that President Duterte considers President Marcos a hero, so please stop referring to the late chief executive’s controversial reign and his designation as the second most corrupt ruler in modern history.

Who cares about that? Who cares about the $10 billion he stole, the 3,000 he killed and the tens of thousands of torture victims during his regime? Are these even relevant today?

Oh, you disagree, do you? You think we should talk about what Marcos did when he was in power? You think he was a corrupt, abusive leader?

Well, I can tell you now what President Duterte would say about what you think: “I reject strongly your position on this matter and am extremely disappointed with your pronouncements.”

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