MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo took their oaths as the top executives of the Philippines in late June after a very action-packed national campaign.

Seven months have passed with them at the helm of the Philippine government, and despite moments of conflict between the two at some point, much have been said and done by these two in terms of campaign promises, policy agenda, and expressing their vision for the country and the people.

RealTalk took a closer look at the speeches made by Duterte and Robredo for the past seven months to see what concepts and focus were being communicated by the two public servants to the public.

Upon further deconstruction of their transcribed speeches, their 15 most frequently used words were taken and related to the accomplishments of the two officials.


President Duterte’s most frequently used words.

Duterte’s most used words were “ako” (1,738), “hindi” (1,173), “kayo” (650), “year” (553), “time” (526), “country” (490), “tayo” (424), “drug” (337), “Davao” (330), “president” (321), “people” (293), “govern” (268), “Philippines” (259),“problem” (200), and “ASEAN” (77).

Meanwhile, of the multitude of words Robredo used in her speeches, the 15 most common ones were “work” (154), “people” (113), “ako” (104), “year” (93), “govern” (89), “school” (87), “community” (86), “growth” (83), “just” (80), “one” (77), “women” (73), “many” (69), “public” (65), “country” (64), and “house” (62).

The speeches gathered were those spanning July 2016 to February 2017 and were taken from Presidential Communications Operations Office and Office of the Vice President websites, respectively. Transitional words and linking verbs such as “is” and “are” were excluded from the count.

In the case of the President, the entry on Duterte’s list of most frequently used words that most quickly stands out is “drug,” used 337 times. It cannot be disputed that he has been quick to act upon this. As of January 31, 2017, the Philippine National Police has conducted 43,594 drug-related police operations while arresting 53, 025 drug personalities.

The bulk of Duterte’s presidential campaign revolved around the mission of ushering in a drug-free Philippines. Upon his election, he was swift in intensifying the local war on drugs, instating projects such as Project Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang which are centered on clamping down on the drug problem within the Philippines.

From the time of his election up until February 2, 2017, The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s “The Kill List,” which chronicles drug-related deaths, has logged a total of 2,090 fatalities. This statistic also ties in to Duterte’s frequent use of the word “problem,” which he often related with the local drug issues.

To add, the President often alluded to his home province and its status during his speeches, substantiated by how frequently he said “Davao.” Furthermore, the inclusion of “Philippines” and “Country” on his most used words may be indicative of his patriotism, which was highlighted throughout his campaign and inauguration.

His frequent use of the word “ASEAN” may be caused by Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship, which was officially launched on January 15, 2017. Apart from his participation in the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, he plans to host a series of talks across the Philippines under the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” where members of the 10 participating countries will be invited.    

Meanwhile, three of the 15 most used words by Robredo that she has been quick to act upon as Vice President were “house,” “people,”  and “community.” As Chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, one of her most notable accomplishments includes the construction of over 17,000 houses for the victims of Typhoon Tacloban, according to CNN Philippines.

Another related achievement her platform has garnered is the implementation of a socialized housing scheme, which successfully provided low-cost housing for over 46,000 families. In her speeches, “house,” “people,” and “community” were used 62, 113, and 86 times respectively.

Vice President Robredo's most frequently used words: work, people, ako, year, govern, school, community, growth, just, one, women, many, public, country, house.

Vice President Robredo’s most frequently used words.

Also noteworthy was her most frequently used word “work,” which popped up in her speeches 154 times. This is true given the initiatives related to labor and employment that she promised during her campaign. In 2015, Robredo promised that if elected, she would push for monthly allowance for barangay workers, starting at a rate of Php 2,000.

Furthermore, Robredo’s use of the word “women” 73 times substantiates her image as a gender advocate and former leader in Naga City Women’s Council. Despite this however, the OVP website has yet to report nationwide projects or campaigns rolled out by the vice-president relevant to gender sensitivity or women’s rights.

There were three words that appeared on both the President and Vice President’s top 15 most used words. These three words however were not specific nor give a direct indication of their campaign promises. The first and most straightforward common inclusion was the word “ako,” which both used at a very frequent rate.

More indicative entries were “govern” and “country,” both of which may hint at the value they place on their national positions.

While it is too early in their terms to state whether or not they are effectively serving the people and fulfilling their promises, their most used words and how they’ve acted accordingly at the very least provide glimpses of their performances thus far. — RealTalk, February 8, 2017

Posted by Nacho Domingo

Nacho is RealTalk’s assistant editor and a founding member.

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