Breaking ground with Rody Duterte

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa - The Philippine Star

Rody Duterte is not perfect. He is as flawed as any of us. But given the situation in the country today of unpunished crime and rampant graft running amok, he is the right man to put the country back on the right path.

Unlike Binay, he did not enrich himself in office. Unlike Roxas who is of the oligarchy, he is from humble lower middle class. He knows what it means to be poor. He knows what it means to be desperate when you are a victim and the law is not able to protect you.

All this makes him a target of virulent attacks on his person. The criminals have both political and financial support. The trouble with him is he wants to end heinous crime and is prepared to confront it.

More importantly, he is not just making promises or dishing out platitudes. He has a track record – what he did in Davao..

But more importantly, he alone among the candidates has promised to change the social and political structure of the country to put marginalized sectors in the mainstream. Poverty causes despair to the family man without a job and makes him vulnerable to drugs. The presidential system has favored a few but offers no relief to the many. That is the outcome of being “little brown brothers” to the Americans.

We have been talking endlessly of “revolution” to change the system year after year, government after government but all and every time when we come close to this “revolution.” All kinds of subterfuges are used in this conflict between the few and the many. Even as a child in the 40s I heard “revolution” – that it will come, it will come because the many can only take so much. We are now in the 21st century and that revolution has not come. It is deplorable that such a gifted people should be among the poorest in the region. It has become so bad that Filipino has become synonymous with menial jobs abroad to support their families because there are none in their own country.

His style of leadership has already begun by the way he campaigns. He has many offers of funding from taipans and other oligarchs but he has turned them down because he wants the many to own the new government that he will lead.

 That style has gone viral in social media because Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte means what he says and says what he means. The video was taken from an exclusive interview with dzRJ radio – media partner of The STAR calling on the people to fund his campaign.

According to reports Duterte is asking housewives and the youth to make campaign T-shirts for him and carpenters to make billboards out of wood scraps.

Kayong mga kabataan at housewives na lang ang gumawa ng mga  posters ko. Kayo na lang ang magtahi ng mga T-shirts ko para sa kampanya natin, kayong mga karpentero na lang ang mag-tayo ng billboards ko, kahit na galing sa mga scrap na lang,” he said.

How long that style of campaign will last is the question. But being Duterte he is willing to try, to break new ground in Philippine politics. For that alone, he earns my respect even if he says p.i. There are too many artificially respectable politicians aping oligarchs so they can be counted among them. That is not governance. That is social climbing.

No wonder Duterte topped the recent Metro Manila survey on presidential candidates despite the fact that he has no machinery. The people are his machinery. He empowers them by encouraging them to empower themselves. If the people have become victims instead of beneficiaries it is this penchant for the trivial that is being made the center of their lives.

Duterte explained that he is running for president because the people have become victims instead of beneficiaries of the government in the past six years.

He is breaking new ground.

 I hope that he stays that way even when he becomes President with the perks of power. He will need to change the system immediately to keep the momentum of the resolve for new politics in  the country.

“Yes, I’m running. It is my duty to do something even if it means leaving the comfort of my home and my beloved Davao. I cannot stand to see the ordinary Filipino neglected by the very structures and institutions of the government that were created to protect the people,” he said.

* * *

Social media has become a force. I hope Mark Zuckenberg realizes how important it has become. What started me into crowdsourcing was Malcolm Caldwell’s “Can a Revolution be Twitted?” This is the Philippines, Mr. Caldwell. Anything and everything can be done once they set their mind to it.

Duterte’s video, which was uploaded on the Facebook page of The Philippine STAR, has reached over two million Facebook users, has 500,000 views, over 2,000 comments, more than 65,000 likes and more than 39,000 shares as presstime. My FB post on Duterte’s charisma received the highest likes and shares than anything I have ever written. In the Philippines 1/3 of the population are internet users. They should be told they hold a weapon as powerful as mainstream media.

Duterte’s last three words in the video: “upakan na natin (let’s beat it).”

“As president, I will enforce the law and I will have to instill discipline and that is the only way we can go forward in this country,” he added.

Duterte, standard-bearer of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said that all his projects could only be realized if the Filipino people support him.

Happy Birthday to my friend and mentor former Speaker Jose de Venecia, fondly called as JDV. He continues his legislative career internationally. It was during his stint that the necessary laws to Ramos government were passed, He isn’t a Duterte but he was the exemplary parliamentarian.

As founding chairman and chairman of standing committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) he recently delivered speeches in Beijing, at the Great Hall of the People, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on China’s revival of the ancient overland and maritime Silk Roads; and at the ICAPP Special Conference on the Silk Road, hosted by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

At least the Philippines will be known not only as where Miss Universe comes from.


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