Duterte’s high rating a boost for Labella
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - May 9, 2019 - 12:00am

I was waiting for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) debate between Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, the standard bearer of the opposition party, Partido Barug-PDP Laban, to materialize last Monday morning but we learned that Vice Mayor Labella had to cancel out. However, now it can be told, the vice mayor went to Malacañang Palace last Monday to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte as a representative of the entire Partido Barug-PDP Laban slate. There, he got the President’s endorsement.

When Vice Mayor Labella met with President Duterte, the latter again raised his hand in support of the local officials for the upcoming May 13 elections. This is a major boost to Labella’s candidacy. There is no question that the Bando-Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) may have huge rallies, but at the end of the day, it is the silent majority (like millennials) who carry the vote to usher in a new mayor.

At a press conference, Labella said he and the President spoke about future nationally-funded projects in Cebu, including the possible construction of a Light Railway Transit (LRT) and massive low-cost housing. This alone is a huge dream for Cebuanos who still do not have their own home and are living as illegal settlers.

Labella added: “It was a good thing for all of us. His being there proves that our team is the choice of the President.” Former mayor Mike Rama said he did not know why he and the other candidates were not invited to Malacañang and that it might have something to do with saving costs of transporting all the candidates to Manila.

One truism in our Philippine elections is that whenever there is a midterm election, people usually use it as a yardstick on whether or not the President did a good job in his first three years in office. People and newspaper pundits use the midterm elections as a performance rating of the current President. The reality is, all presidents saw a huge downward drop in their popularity ratings whenever the midterm election approaches.

However, it seems that only President Duterte has overturned this presidential dilemma when we saw his public satisfaction soared to a fresh record high in the first quarter, according to a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released more than a week before the May 13 midterm elections.

The result of this latest poll showed that 81 percent of the respondents were satisfied with Duterte, while only 9 percent appeared to be dissatisfied with his performance. Only 10 percent remained undecided. All these have given the President a boost, despite the huge negative expose by “Bikoy” that the President’s family was involved in illegal drugs.

 With this positive piece of news, Duterte is expected to join at least three campaign sorties this week to rally support for his allies during the final stretch of the campaign, which is widely viewed as a referendum for his administration. President Duterte is expected to attend a campaign rally in Bohol and two other rallies in Davao City on Thursday and in Manila on Saturday. No, Cebu is not in the President’s schedule, but there is no question that the President is fully supporting the candidacy of Edgar Labella and the Barug-PDP Laban Party candidates.

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Perhaps one of the reasons why the President’s popularity has remained very high is the fact that he always tries to solve the wrong things happening in this country. A case in point is, some unscrupulous Filipino/Canadian businessmen made money out of sending garbage to the Philippines during the time of President Benigno Aquino III way back in 2013. News of this stupidity was censored during the Aquino regime but now that this issue has resurfaced, no less than Duterte demanded that it be returned to Canada.

The latest news we got is that the Canadian government will shoulder all the expenses to ship back the wastes that it had dumped in the Philippines since 2013. During the Cabinet meeting last Monday night, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENAR) reported this development to President Duterte. This is very good news for Filipinos and this is why Duterte continues to have a very high popularity rating.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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