DAVAO CITY: The enthusiasm of around 6,000 supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who attended a rally culminating a nationwide caravan on Friday night never faltered even as the man whom they want to join the presidential race asked for a little more time and patience.
“Soon,” Duterte told a cheering crowd at the Rizal Park, just a walking distance from City Hall, on when he would announced his candidacy for President.
“Let me convince my family first. They might change their minds,” he said.
For the supporters of Duterte, it was a statement good enough to confirm that the tough-talking mayor of Davao would contest the country’s highest post.
After the rally, he said he is “50 percent sure”about running for President.
At the end of the five-hour program, thousands of lighted candles illuminated the park as the mayor’s supporters collectively prayed.
“We pray that he will be enlightened to respond to the call of the people for him to join in the elections next year,” the prayer said.
When the mayor was onstage delivering his message, some of his supporters were in tears.
“The problems of the Philippines are very formidable,” Duterte said, noting how hard it would be for him to fight a system that allowed perceived corruption in the government.
“Our problems include drugs, peace and order, and this government. Until we have this kind of government, the problem will linger on,” he pointed out.
Duterte has become the prime mover of federalism.
“We cannot allow Manila to forever design our future. We need to change the system that will allow us to develop the way we want it,” according to the mayor.
Earlier, Duterte said he will consider running once he gets the support of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
At the rally, a voice message of CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison was played.
Sison described Duterte as a man with “integrity, strength of character and political will for good.”
“Sa tingin ko bukas naman siya sa development ng Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng Filipino- owned industrialization and land reform at kumbinsido ako na makabayan siya at ipagtatanggol niya ang pambansang soberenhiya at integridad ng teritoryo ng Pilipinas [I think he is open to the development of the Philippines through Filipino-owned industrialization and land reform and I am convinced that he is patriotic and that he will defend the national sovereignty and integral territory of the Philippines],” he said.
Duterte thanked Sison for kind words and he also thanked his supporters for their overwhelming confidence in him.
The caravan started on August 15 in Luzon.