• Duterte: Strongman with a heart

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    The whole world saw how then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte helped and empathized with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte in November 2013, bringing with him aid and crew for rehabilitation operations.

    Being the first government official to visit Tacloban after the devastation, Duterte’s act made many Filipinos conclude that if there’s one person who should steer the country after President Benigno Aquino 3rd, it was this man called “The Punisher.”

    He cemented his destiny when he showed his concern for the typhoon victims in that visit.

    His remark on the severity of the damage wrought by the typhoon reverberated around the globe.

    “God must have been somewhere else or He forgot that there is a planet called Earth. Di ko malaman kung iiyak ako (I do not know if I should cry). I cannot shout in anger because you cannot be mad at anybody there,” he said, holding back his tears as he described to the media what he had seen in Tacloban upon his return to his hometown.

    That was a defining moment for him. It defined his persona, his leadership, his qualities.

    The presidency was to be his destiny.

    Duterte made history when he won in the 2016 presidential election by a landslide, getting 16,601,997 votes, the first Mindanaoan to capture the country’s highest post.

    He delivered his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2016.

    On Monday, he will address Congress for the second time, to report his accomplishments and his plans.

    One year after taking office, Duterte’s performance will be put under scrutiny. His promises during the campaign period will be tracked to see if these were fulfilled or not.

    The President delivered on some of his promises. His war on drugs continues, just as he promised that there will be no let up until “the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars.”

    Duterte’s campaign against corruption also goes on, with him declaring in his speeches that there will be no corruption under his term. To show his sincerity, Duterte has kicked out of his Cabinet officials suspected to be involved in questionable deals.

    As to his promise to bring peace, there the President has hit a snag. Last week, back-channel talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/ National Democratic Front was cancelled after New People’s Army rebels ambushed a team of Presidential Security Group in Mindanao.

    Duterte has only been in Malacañang for a year. It will take more than a year for him to fulfil his other promises, especially now that his attention had been diverted to Marawi City, which is in need of rehabilitation and reconstruction.

    Perhaps some of his promises will be temporarily set aside as the President is expected to give priority to helping Marawi residents get back on their feet. For after all, that is his responsibility, to see to it that those who fell victims to the Maute Group’s attack will get all the help they need to turn a new lead.

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    1 Comment

    1. Jun Magdangal on

      Brief but well-written and objective. The title, “Strongman with a heart”, is very appropriate.

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