The explosion in Davao occurred outside a hotel which Rodrigo Duterte visits frequently. Duterte had earlier shrugged off rumors of a plot to assassinate him, saying such threats were to be expected.

At least 12 people were killed and 60 injured in an explosion at a night market in Davao City in the Philippines, an official told CNN Philippines.

The Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, the director of Region 11 of the Philippine National Police said that 10 people had died at the scene, and two had died after being taken to the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

"Right now, we cannot yet give definite answer to as to who is behind this as we are also trying to determine what really exploded. It's a sad day for Davao and for the Philippines," the initial statement given by President’s son and Davao city mayor, Paolo Duterte .

Davao City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, is the hometown of President Duterte who took office at the end of June and has made his name in politics as the mayor of Davao City, taking a hardline stance on drug crime that he has now incorporated into his national policies.

Davao has remained peaceful for years despite existence of Abu Sayyaf’s militant organisation. The blast is considered backlash of Duterte’s War on Drugs. Duterte has been blunt regarding welfare of Philippines and the national interest in matters of internal and foreign affairs. On the international level, Duterte has not formally accepted the US-backed UN resolution which led to tribunal intervention on South China Sea in favour of Phillipines against China- which came as soon as Duterte was elected as Preaident of Phillipines. Duterte has snubbed UN Organisation’s concerns on ‘War on Drugs’ issue and his policies are evidently tilted towards the Russo-Chinese camp.

Davao is located in Mindanao, a large southern island of Philippines which is afflicted by decades of Islamist insurgency. Duterte is hugely popular in Davao, having served as its mayor for more than 22 years before his stunning national election win, garnering from the popularity of a promised war on drugs that has killed more than 2,000 people since he took office on June 30. The president of the Philippines has taken his much criticized war on drugs to another level, placing a bounty on the heads of “ninja” cops protecting drug syndicates. He said they will "face a day of reckoning," announcing a US$43,000 reward on their heads. The previous week, a five year old girl had become victim of the campaign.

Duterte's brutal crackdown has been slammed by the UN, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights groups.

During August, UN special reporter on summary executions Agnes Callamard urged the Philippines to halt the extrajudicial executions and killings or face punishment for the “illegal” acts perpetrated in a brutal manner. Duterte responded by threatening to withdraw from the "inutile" body.

In a speech, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accused the US of importing terror to the Middle East through its interventions, pointing to Iraq, Libya and Syria as examples.

While addressing an honorary event of Islamic Eid'l Fit'r in Davao City, President Duterte challenged the ‘ignorant’ narrative that the Middle East is the root of terrorism stating: ‘It is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism to America; America imported terrorism (to the Middle East)"

Duterte also slammed the US and UK for presenting Saddam Hussein as a dictator in order to justify the Iraq war of 2003, and for failing to admit their mistakes after the fact. “They forced their way into Iraq,” he told the Muslim crowd, explaining further: “After almost 10 years of investigation, it turned out there was no legal basis to declare war against Iraq. You see, it's a useless war. He added: ‘ Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria. Even children are being doused with gasoline. They were pushed to the wall for the failed promises."

Since the late ‘60s, Philippines has witnessed unrest in Muslim regions and Duterte has proceeded to hold peace with the Moro National Liberation Front, in order to work out the details of an autonomy agreement reached in 2014. He urged the leaders to focus on peace. “Let us build a nation that will be founded on peace and understanding,” he said.

“It will not come overnight. Certainly, it will not come next year. Probably, it will be something about two to three years from now. But I assure you that something will change before I end my term.”

Duterte also said he not would declare the Abu Sayyaf rebel group as criminals, as they were “driven to desperation,” as a result of failed promises and a lack of governance. “That’s why they were pushed to the wall,” he said. “They were radicalized.”

In April, the group reportedly pledged allegiance to terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to which Duterte has responded with the intention to destroy the non-state actors through ‘shock and awe’ military operation. Criminal behaviour through kidnappings and assassinations has caused the rebels to be maligned in manner of operating as bandits and terrorist while fighting Manila the whole time.

Upon being elected, Duterte chose a unique line of policy which proved to be distinct from previous leaders. He stated that the foreign policy will not be dependent on the US, with whom the Philippines enjoy a defense partnership, and will “be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest.”

Countering the criticism on his Anti-drug campaign, he stated: “They (US and UN) must understand the problem first before we talk about human rights. I would insist, listen to me: this is what the problem is, then we can talk,” he told reporters as he is set to visit Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia before attending ASEAN Summit in Laos where Duterte will meet with US President Barack Obama. About the meeting scheduled with Russian president Vladimir Putin, he stated: ‘I like Putin.. We share many similarities’.

He has spoken about engaging in talks with long-term rival China over the disputed South China Sea, a conflict over which Washington and Beijing have been clashing for years.

Taking into account his stand on factors related to internal challenges and foreign policy issues, he has faced immense criticism but received support from circles that deem him decisive and effective – resulting in 91% approval.

Since he took office on June 30, an average of 13 people a day have been either assassinated in public by masked assailants, killed by police without further investigation, or found as unidentified bodies on the streets, often balled up in packing tape with signs saying variations of: “Don’t follow me, I’m a criminal.” Duterte’s supporters celebrate these killings, while his critics condemn the violence as blatant violations of due process and human rights. Michel Syjuco, author of Ilustrado, states: ‘Yet the President’s seemingly outrageous actions are merely part of the Philippines’ deeply entrenched culture of impunity. What is frightening is that so few people realize that yet.’

Duterte vowed to pardon any police and military involved in the extrajudicial killings. His son and daughter have been ‘installed’ as mayor and vice mayor of the city that he ruled for two decades and refuses to fully answer allegations about hidden wealth.

What seems quite alarming is his response to the criticism in what seems an effort to undermine the traditional democratic checks and balances to his authority, Duterte has threatened to cease the legislative process if it hinders his plans, projected the possibility of Matrtial Law when criticized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and insulted foreign ambassadors and proceeded to threathening to expose negative influence of the Catholic Church by emphasizing its corruption.

It doesn’t stop here. He has warned that members of the media are not protected from assassination: “The Constitution can no longer help you,” Duterte told reporters, “if you disrespect a person.” This represents suppression of ‘tirade’ or voices of dissent as culture of impunity protects him in the way it does many Philippine politicians for e.g. Gloria Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, Tito Sotto, Romeo Jalosjos and Juan Enrile.

Duterte claims himself to be the antidote to all that, but this hope is where the danger truly lies. The assault on civil discourse and consensual disagreement is undermining the citizenry’s ability to speak freely, and only the powerful politicians can stand to benefit from impunity as such of Ferdinand Marcos. Michel Syjuco suggests that history has shown how systematic victimization can easily target anyone for voicing unpopular opinions. Michel states: ‘With entrenched culture of impunity, that can only add up to the further disempowerment of Filipinos.’

As the Roman poet Juvenal asked: “Who will guard the guards themselves?” Duterte’s campaign slogan was: “Change is coming.” Will that change prove for the good? Or will the new President’s promises make the Philippines less safe in the years ahead?

Despite all the criticisms, the United Nations Economic and Social Council announced Duterte as the best President in the world in the periodic review published on August 8. The paper was issued after consultation of Technical experts from reputable International Civil Service organisations and think-thanks.