The Davao Eagle has just landed in Malacañang.
It seems surreal but it’s true.
The newly-installed President of the Republic of the Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has just been enthroned in his new nesting place, Malacañang. The reluctant candidate is the first-ever President to come from Mindanao. Most Mindanaoans, especially Davaoeños, were beaming with pride as he took his oath of office today, June 30, 2016.
A lot of people were eager to hear what the 16th president of the country has to say. They have been used to fiery speeches during the campaign and curse-laden outbursts during press conferences after he was declared the winner in the presidential race with over 16 million votes garnered, 16,601,997 to be exact. For sure, there were those who felt a jitter or two hoping he won’t make a fool of himself by making blunder after blunder.
Well, lo and behold, he survived his first speech as president. What a huge relief it was to know the expectations were unfounded. He gave a meaty and eloquent speech which will go down the history of presidential speeches as one of the good ones. It wasn’t long so it didn’t bore his audience nor was it short that it left them wanting. I would like to believe that the 15-minute speech was not mere rhetoric but something which comes from the deepest chamber of his soul.
Let me go through some of the striking parts of his speech. I counted twelve.
- “…we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office.”
This shows that the President is very much aware where his authority comes from and that is from the people. He did not really plan to run for president. He even said that he will retire from public office this year, 2016. But listening to the voice of those who vowed to support him no matter what – from the rich businessmen to the lowly street vendors – he gave in and tried his “luck” saying that if it is his destiny, he will win.
And win, he did. It is all because of the people who put their faith and trust in his capacity and capability to lead the country.
- “I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together.”
Although his platform of government during his campaign was hinged on eradication of criminality, drugs, and corruption with peace and order as bottom line, he is fully aware that those are merely offshoots of erosion of faith and trust in the government in all its three branches. People have lost their trust in the system which aims to promote their welfare in the first place but which has not delivered in the end. He would like to restore that faith and trust.
- “I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in. I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships. I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings.”
President Duterte’s decades of serving the people of Davao City gave him the eyes, heart and will to see, feel and fight the ills of society which are corruption, illegal drugs and criminality. It seems that we will be hearing these over and over for the next 6 years but this is better to make people more aware of these issues. This new president is bent on addressing issues rather than throwing blame on past administrations. He is determined to give what our fellowmen need instead of rest on the laurels of what his parents have done for the country. There is at least a feeling of relief in knowing that.
In a recent forum of businessmen in Davao City, he said in not so many words that no business will thrive unless there is peace, law and order in the country. He urged them to stop corruption also as it is a two-way street.
4 “As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind your work and I will mind mine.”
The trouble with imperial Manila mentality is people think those from the provinces are utterly stupid. Read comments in social media and you can see that. A lot of people during the campaign thought the tough-talking mayor from small-time Davao City is an idiot and a good-for-nothing guy who’s as dirty as his mouth. Not many who wrote in national newspapers expressed fear for the country once this dictator-in-the-making will win as president.
C’mon, the President is a lawyer educated in a premier school in Manila. Just because one comes from the province, notwithstanding one from the south, that one is of lower caliber than those born and raised in the Metropolis. People go to Manila to study because they can afford to do so. I wonder, how many Metro Manilans go to the top schools in Manila where these “probinsyanos” go to? And yet, people look down on those coming not from their traffic-laden and polluted urban jungles.
Not anymore though. The two people occupying the two highest positions of the land are both “promdis.” Being elected into those two top offices is enough “revenge of the promdis.”
So, fearful urbanites, relax! The President knows what he’s saying and what he’s doing more than you and I will even know.
5 .“Malasakit. Tunay na Pagbabago. Tinudanay nga Kausaban (Compassion. Real change.)” – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate. “Tinudanay nga kabaguhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong panggobyerno
(Real change. This is the direction of our government).”
For the first time I’ve heard lines in Bisaya/Cebuano uttered in a presidential inaugural speech. Perhaps it’s time for people to learn a a little bit of Cebuano. No longer will one be able to laugh at the accent of someone who comes from the Visayas or from Mindanao otherwise that would mean laughing at the President who may be very articulate in English but whose accent somehow betrays his roots. Who cares? At least he’s well-versed in three languages which not many are. That could be one among many of those changes.
These lines show that the President is less a politician and more of a mover and a doer because he aims to transcend his campaign slogans into action more than anything else which will bring us to the next quote.