Rodrigo Roa Duterte is the 5th President in my lifetime and the 3rd President since I got my right to vote. It is true that every President has a different way of leading the people and building the country but Duterte is simply exceptional. Let me enumerate the ways on how Duterte became exceptional among the Presidents I encountered in my lifetime.
How He Rose To Power
When Ramos was elected President, he was already considered a hero of EDSA Revolution by breaking away from the Marcos administration. He was AFP’s Chief of Staff and later became the country’s Secretary of National Defense before he rose to power.
Joseph Estrada was a famous action star. He rose to power right after his term as the country’s Vice President ended. Unfortunately for him, he was not able to finish his term because he was ousted due to a graft and corruption case.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has somewhat experienced the same fate as his predecessor. She was Estrada’s Vice President. She replaced the former after he was impeached and sent to jail. The next term, she ran for presidency and won. Although Arroyo was not impeached, she was sent to jail after her term ended.
Benigno Aquino III has quite an emotional entrance in the Malacanang Palace. Being the son of the declared EDSA Revolution heroes, he became an epitome of change to some Filipinos after the country was thought to have fallen into the hands of corrupt presidents in two consecutive terms.
But some people think differently than everyone else. Some believed they haven’t experienced the change in the hands of a hero’s son. So the people chose their candidate, and that’s how Duterte rose to power.
Duterte was the people’s choice even before he declared his candidacy. The people campaigned for him; and although there have been doubts of his victory due to his Mindanaoan origin and his bluntness in speech, the people fought for him. Through the help of social media, he was brought to victory and rose to power.
His plans and promises to the Filipino people
Unlike his predecessors, Duterte did not focus his platforms on new investments and businesses. Instead, he focused on drugs, federalism, clean governance, agrarian reforms, salary increase on government officials and more that has a direct impact on the common Filipino people.
Being a Mayor who lived humbly in the city of Davao, he knows just what the people on and below the poverty line needs and he focused his platform on it. Not getting the support of businessmen nor most of the politicians didn’t stop him from endorsing his plans for the country. In fact, he was the only running President I’ve known in my lifetime who wasn’t bothered about losing the candidacy. As he said, he has nothing else to lose. Everything that he is doing is for the country and its people.
His Bravery and Genuine Compassion
His bluntness of words maybe provoking and alarming to some, but I found them as a sign of bravery and authenticity. He was, by far, the man I’ve known who took the courage to expose the much-feared drug lords in the country. He also doesn’t show fear in commenting against the high-powered individuals who’s making the lives of the people inconvenient and miserable. He speaks for the people and that’s how everyone loved him.
It is not unknown to the people that every plan he is making was made out of his deep compassion for the less fortunate and the commoners. And though some people misunderstood his intents, he never let them stop him. Instead, he dealt with them right on their faces and exposed their hypocrisies.
Even the media was not able to escape his wrath. But instead of getting provoked, the media understood and has accepted his action as a sign of discipline.
His Meekness and Humility
I have never encountered a President who knows how to stoop down to your level as Duterte did. He is now the President, and yet, he still acts like he is simply an ordinary Filipino citizen who is working for the country and the people. And he treats everyone else like his colleague at work.
I encountered one Presidential candidate before who acted like s/he was already the President of the country. Nagpapa-VIP treatment kumbaga. Sad but glad s/he didn’t win.
Duterte appears like a father you can always turn to when you need help. And though I do not want to abuse his kindness, he always makes me feel like he is always ready to be there for me when I need him. Parang “Just call my name and I’ll be there” lang ang peg. You may not heard him say it but you can simply feel it by way of his treatment.
He is real, down-to-earth, and lives a frugal life even after he was declared the President of the Philippines.
His Willingness To Die For The Country
He knows the current state of the country; and he knows that, by doing the things he does, his life would be in danger. Despite it all, he kept pushing forward, implementing his plans just so the country will be cleaned and freed from all dirt – to give the people the much-needed security and to improve the lives of everyone.
Think about it, what he is doing is not easy at all. It’s extremely difficult, in fact. Yet he is doing it, all for his love for the country and the people.
If only I can, I would like to declare him now a living hero. I have long been waiting for a man with his heart. Now that he is finally here, I can say that there is indeed hope for this country, and that we are finally truly experiencing some real #change.
But of course, we will not let him do all the work. As Filipinos, we will do our part. As John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Change may be happening in our country now, but if we want to feel that change, we need to do it in ourselves.
So let’s get involved and let us be brave enough to voice out whatever it is we think would be necessary to help make our country better. After all, a true Filipino wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to be part of the refinement of his country.
We are all in this together, and through the leadership of His Excellency Rodrigo Duterte, we can rise up and make the Philippines a sublime and prosperous country once again.
God bless Duterte! God bless the Philippines!