DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 June) – Three days before taking his oath as the 16th President of the Philippines, outgoing Mayor Rodrigo Duterte vowed, as he did for this city, a government for the “helpless, hopeless, and defenseless.”
Speaking before government workers who attended Monday’s flag-raising ceremony — his last as city mayor for 22 years — Duterte acknowledged these were the words that his father, Vicente, lived by as Governor of the then undivided Davao and which he emulated as city mayor.
He again vowed to deliver on his campaign promise to end corruption and criminality.
Duterte explained that he won the 2016 Presidential race even as he had no governor or mayor backing him up, because he was “the right person carrying the right message,” among the five Presidential candidates that included Mar Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe, outgoing Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Sen. Miriam Santiago.
Duterte said the support from 16.6 million voters who believed in his campaign promise won him the presidency.
“Corruption in government and criminality (must stop) – tutuparin ko yan kahit sasagasaan ko kahit kahit sino. (I will fulfill that no matter who gets in the way). I stake my honor, my life, and presidency itself, even if I lose,” even if he gets impeached, he said.
He said he was thankful for his landslide victory in the country, in America, among the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who worry over their children who might be lured into drugs if the country’s leader fails to address the drug menace.
“That’s their worry. That’s why nag-landslide ako. They never knew me before. Wala akong isang governor o isang congressmen and yet I won. Why? … Because I was the right person carrying the right message,” he said.
He reiterated his warning to government employees that they must ensure an efficient service to the people and not engage in corruption.
He noted that it has been the practice of some officials and employees of local government units (LGUs) to ask for grease money from the private sector so that their transactions will move.
“I know it adds to your lifestyle. That’s the main source (income), but I am hell bent in stopping corruption. You will never get any help from me if you are involved in any case,” he added.
Duterte was elected mayor in 1988. He served as mayor until 1998, and again for three terms from 2001 to 2010. He served as 1st district congressional representative from 1998 to 2001 and vice mayor to daughter Sara from 2010 to 2013. He was elected mayor for the seventh time in 2013.
He apologized to the crowd comprised of government workers and supporters at the City Hall that he could no longer go near them unlike before because of the security protocols imposed by the Presidential Security Group.
“Usahay maulaw, maikog, og maluoy ko ninyo. Ang problema ang pagka-Presidente is fraught with so many protocols. Dili nako kaduol sa inyo ky sitahon mo. (I would feel ashamed and sorry for you sometimes. The problem is the Presidency is fraught with so many protocols. I cannot go near you because you will be accosted),” he addressed his supporters who were exposed to an early morning sun.
In the middle of Duterte’s 48-minute speech, a woman collapsed prompting him to tell the crowd to leave and take cover under the trees.
He ended his farewell message by thanking his supporters. “Salamat sa inyo ha mga taga-Dabaw (Thanks to all of you, Dabawenyos),” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNew)