Philippines' Duterte keeps 'very good' rating after six months: poll

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte retained a “very good” opinion-poll rating after six months in office marked by surging deaths in his war on drugs, but many worry that his tirades against some foreign leaders could dent the country’s image.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pays his respects at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, Cambodia December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Duterte registered a net satisfaction rating of 63 percent, just lower than the 64 percent he got in September, the Social Weather Stations agency said in a statement on Thursday.

“We are ... grateful to the Filipino people for giving the president two consecutive ‘very good’ net satisfaction ratings,” Duterte’s communications minister, Martin Andanar, said in a statement.

The survey would inspire the president to “fulfill his promise of getting rid of drugs, crime and corruption in our society”, Andanar said.

Duterte’s war on drugs, the key plank of his campaign for a May election, has claimed about 5,000 lives since July 1.

In the same survey, 51 percent of respondents agreed that the president’s habit of foul-mouthed attacks on foreign leaders who anger him could be harmful for foreign relations.

Duterte called President Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” before they were due to meet this year, because he anticipated that Obama would raise the issue of human rights. The United States called off the talks.

Duterte had previously used the epithet against Pope Francis, although he later apologized, and the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.

He also cursed the United Nations and European Union after they raised questions about extra-judicial killings in his war on drugs.

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix the headline)

Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel