Speaking to officials of PAGCOR, President Rodrigo Duterte said people can repay him for his services as chief executive with chewing gum.
AP/Aaron Favila, File
Duterte says gum-chewing habit 'eases up the pain'
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) - January 12, 2018 - 5:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Known for his man-of-the-people habits even while meeting world leaders, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he chews gum to “ease up the pain” caused by a problem with his spine.

Speaking to officials of PAGCOR, Duterte said people can repay him for his services as chief executive with chewing gum.

“It eases up the pain when I'm chewing,” he said. “It eases a bit.”

Duterte has captured the attention of international press for his casual demeanor and attire while on overseas trips or even while hosting foreign guests in his country.

READ: ASEAN 2017: All eyes on gum-chewing, cursing Duterte

To recall, Japanese officials reportedly went paranoid about Duterte chewing gum in front of Japan’s emperor ahead of the two leaders’ meeting in Tokyo in 2016.

That was after Japanese TV shows repeatedly aired footages showing Duterte apparently chewing a gum during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, Cambodian netizens reportedly called Duterte “rude” after a photo of his 2016 meeting with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, showing him with rolled-up sleeves and an open collar, surfaced.

The 72-year-old Duterte had admitted to having acute bronchitis and a migraine that was connected to a spinal injury he sustained in a motorcycle accident in the 1960s.

He also revealed that he used Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller used by cancer patients. He said his doctor once advised him against abusing it. 

READ: Duterte admits suffering from back pain, daily migraines

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