“In all of 118 years, only two Bisaya became presidents of the Philippines, and both accidentally: Osmeña, when Quezon died and Garcia when Magsaysay died in a plane crash. It has been almost 60 years when we had a Bisaya for President.”
by Ducky Paredes
The news that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will join the presidential race and has started political sorties in the lead Butuan City will surely gratly affect the standing of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Being someone who considders himself as a Mindanaoan for having maaaied someone from Medina, Misamis Oriental. I know that Binay has a following in Mindanao among a lot of people.
Duterte announced his plans for a “listening tour” nationwide which will start in 30 days. This will inform the public about his plans to replicate throughout the country the things he has done in Davao City.
A supporter of Duterte, North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol, said Duterte will be in Zamboanga City and Pagadian before the end of this month.
Another visit is scheduled to Cebu, then to Puerto Princesa, Dumaguete and Dipolog.
But interspersed in between forays in his regional base, Duterte will also campaign in Baguio, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan within the next 30 days.
Duterte shows he is a serious presidential contender as he distributed in his Butuan symposium a two-page pamphlet written in Cebuano Bisaya with an enumeration of all the country’s presidents beginning with Andres Bonifacio of the Tagalog Republic of 1896, all the way to the incumbent Benigno Aquino III.
“In all of 118 years, only two Bisaya became presidents of the Philippines, and both accidentally: Osmeña, when Quezon died and Garcia when Magsaysay died in a plane crash. It has been almost 60 years when we had a Bisaya for President,” says the flyer attributed to a movement called Kita ang Magmugna sa atong Kaugmahon [We should determine our own future].”
The venue was festooned with tarpaulins proclaiming Duterte as “Anak sa Mindanao ug Kabisay-an, Lider sa Katawhan (Son of Mindanao and the Visayas, Leader of the People).”
Duterte’s wanting to be the third Bisaya president comes at a time when Roxas has not improved his standing while Binay still leads the surveys.
Roxas hails from Aklan in the Visayas while Binay is from Northern Luzon.
Roxas, who lost to Binay in the May 2010 elections, opposed the signing of an agreement that would have created a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in Mindanao in 2008.
Muslim ulamas issued a fatwa against Roxas, deposed President Joseph Estrada, and then senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon, declaring them enemies of Islam and sanctioning votes for them as “haram” or forbidden.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the appointment of Roxas as chief of staff of President Benigno Aquino III did not bode well for the peace process.
“Our leaders in Manila hardly understand the cultural and social realities of Mindanao and impose their policies trying to forge an impractical peace pact,” Duterte told the crowd.
“While I pray for the sake of peace that the BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law will pass into law, I know and you know that it will not appease all our Muslim brothers. The only solution to prevent further trouble is to shift to federalism.”
In his talk, Duterte’s hour-long extemporaneous speech in colorful Bisaya peppered with expletives tells how he disciplined rogue policemen and cleansed his large domain of drug lords and hardened criminals, while instilling a strict sense of discipline among the population. This that he elicits lusty cheers and thunderous applause accordoing to Duterte’s supporters.
“I have to protect two million residents of my city, not to count the hundreds of thousands who visit us for business or tourism, which is why I threaten the few criminals who prey upon my citizens or destroy the lives of our youth, warning them they better leave Davao, vertically or horizontally, for all I care [expletive deleted],” Duterte said. And the crowd, including elderly women who must have come to the hall from the nearby Santo Niño Cathedral, roared in approval.
In the humid capital of Caraga, Duterte flew in around noon Thursday aboard a small helicopter, and immediately drove in a simple motorcade to the Doña Ynes Convention Center where a crowd of professionals, businessmen, market and transport sector leaders, and students from the two largest universities in the city waited for more than two hours.
Other than Agusan del Norte Gov. Maria Angelica Amante, who hails from Cabadbaran, the town where Duterte’s mother Soledad Roa was born and raised, there was none of the usual politicians in a city completely controlled by the Liberal Party.
With none of the usual florid introductions, Duterte went up the platform clad in denims and a striped red shirt and began a lecture on his advocacy: the conversion of our highly centralized system into a federal political structure similar to those of Malaysia and even the USA.
Federalism as a change in the way wedo things in the Philippines is something that Mindanaoans has been waiting for. In fact, the Bangsamoro Law that is now being discussed iin Congress is based on the concept of federalism, something that Mindanaoans believe is what the region needs for Mindanao to grow and for the country to move forward. Certainly, as far as Mindanao is concerned the idea of Metro Manila’s continuing to be the center of the country’s politics and commerce is the wrong way to go.
Duterte’s espousing federalism as a key element in campaign for a change in our system of governance is something that resonates with most pelople in Mindanao who feel that not enough attention is being given to the island that is contributing a lotto the progreaa ofthe country.
Will Duterte make a good President? He is at least not known to have enriched himself as Davao City Mayor. That makes him, for me, more qualified than other presidential candidates. If we vote for a crook for President in 2016, where will the country be in 2022?
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To all who remebered my birthday last Monday, thank you all. At 76, it feels good that a lot of you still take the trouble to greet an old man. Salamat talaga.
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