As he turns 72 years old on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte is wishing for more strength and time to serve the country.
In a news conference upon his arrival from an official trip to Thailand early Thursday, Duterte said he has already reached the “apex of his dreams” and no longer wants any gift “except maybe a prayer to God for my country.”
“So my wish really, my prayer to God is that bigyan niya ako ng kaunting lakas na lang [he give me a bit more strength]to do our – overwork time because it is needed,” the President told reporters.
He said 24 hours are “not really enough time for the presidency,” unless he sleeps for around four hours.
“I get a lot, a lot of state documents,” the President said, adding that as a lawyer, he must be “extra careful and judicious” in studying such documents to avoid getting impeached.
“I only ask God that he give me a little bit of time, a little strength to surmount the problems of the country and that I’d be able, not really to solve but maybe mitigate some of the rigors of governance at ang problema [and the problems],” he added.
Asked about his birthday plans, Duterte said he will spend his first birthday as President with family, in particular, new grandson Stonefish Carpio, youngest son of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“I would be very glad to spend my time with my newest grandson Stone and the rest of my children and grandchildren. That would have been the greatest gift that I can ask in this planet,” he said.
The President said it has been a tradition in his family to keep things simple in such occasions.
“Kasi nagtitipid `yung pamilya [Because the family is being frugal] and all that we did and everyone of us, I don’t know, but most of my siblings, we follow the same rule. We just sleep it off, the day,” Duterte said.
He also made clear that he does not accept gifts, especially lavish presents, on his birthday.
“If you have something for me, some are very expensive, you know I do not need it anymore. At saka maski bigyan ninyo ako ng mga diyamante [And even if you give me a diamond] for every finger, I cannot wear it. Otherwise, I’d be stupid, and even watches and all,” the President said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was among the first leaders to wish him a happy birthday.
Duterte said the Thai leader even presented him a birthday cake during the official dinner the latter hosted in his honor in Bangkok on Tuesday.