The journey begins. Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte, the unwilling presidential prospect who has earlier agreed to “listen” to the voices of the people asking him to run for President, starts town hall meetings next week in key cities all over the country in a journey called the “Listening Tour.”
While the forums will be all about Duterte’s advocacy of Federalism, Maribojoc, Bohol Mayor Jun Ebasco, his long-time political strategist, said it will also be an opportunity for the colorful city mayor to really gauge the feelings of the people.
After a forum on political leadership scheduled to be held yesterday, Saturday, Jan. 17, with students of Ateneo de Davao who are members of AIESEC, Duterte will visit Butuan City on Jan. 22 in a forum on Federalism.
On Jan. 25, Mayor Duterte will fly to Zamboanga City for another forum on Federalism and then fly to Pagadian City the following day, Jan. 26.
The Duterte Team flies to Cebu City Jan. 29, the home province of his father, former Davao Governor Don Vicente Duterte, to join his father’s province mates in celebrating the Sinulog Festival which ends on Jan. 31. He will be guest of the Southwestern University in Cebu City.
On Jan. 31, Duterte and his group will be in Malolos, Bulacan in the morning and in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija in the afternoon.
The schedule for the month of February includes visit to Puerto Princesa Palawan in a Federalism Forum hosted by Gov. Pepito Alvarez, followed by Antipolo City, Dumaguete City, Dipolog City, Dagupan City, Baguio City, Tuguegarao City, Mati City and Iloilo City.
During the tour of the different cities, Mayor Duterte is also expected to share with the forum participants Davao City’s experience in combating government corruption, drugs and criminality which made it the 4th Safest City in the World.
“We hope that after the tour, Mayor Duterte will have a clearer appreciation of the sentiments of the Filipino people,” Mayor Ebasco said.
Duterte had earlier brushed off suggestions that he consider the presidency in 2016. He even threatened in jest that he would shoot people pushing him to run for president.
As the calls for him to run have reverberated all over the country, Duterte recently said that he would now be willing to listen to the people before making a final decision.