Duterte Reader
Photo by Jade Cadelina
Duterte Reader
Photo by Jade Cadelina

A book about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s early presidency was launched on 30 October at the University of Sydney. Duterte Reader is a collection of critical essays by leading public intellectuals in the field offering timely, incisive and well-grounded analysis of the rise to power and controversial early presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

The book offers a penetrating portrait of a volatile administration poised between a troubled past and an uncertain future. The research is thorough; the writing eloquent; and the insights myriad. This is critical reading for anyone who wishes to understand this perplexing moment in the ever-changing, ever-fascinating politics of the Philippines.

The book’s editor, Nicole Curato was the main speaker. Curato is a sociologist from the University of Canberra. She was joined by contributing authors Anna Cristina Pertierra from Western Sydney University, and Adele Webb from the University of Sydney.

“In an era of fast politics, there is the pressure to come up with quick commentaries before the next spectacle takes over our conversations. A Duterte Reader hopes to contribute to these conversations by taking a step back to carefully examine the social conditions and historical processes that shape the trajectory of Philippine democracy,” Curato writes in her preface to the book.

In conversation with the authors was Ginny Stein, ABC foreign correspondent whose recent in-depth reporting on Duterte’s war on drugs has featured on Lateline and Background Briefing.

The launch was organised by the Sydney Democracy Network.

Meanwhile, Duterte Reader was also launched on 29 September at the Australian National University. Curato was also the main speaker at that launch and was joined by book contributors Ronald Holmes of the Australian National University and Emerson Sanchez of the University of Canberra. The launch in ACT was organised by the Australian National University Filipino Association, the ANU Department of Political and Social Change, and the Philippine Studies Group.

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