Duterte spends first weekend as president in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 July) – Still clad in the barong outfit that he used in two turnover ceremonies Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte “toured” a major thoroughfare of the city on the night of the same day to the cheers of residents who were surprised to see their former mayor home a day after his inauguration.

HOME SWEET HOME. President Rodrigo Duterte greets bystanders using an onboard megaphone along Quirino Avenue, Davao City on Friday night (2 July 2016) as his convoy stops due to a traffic jam. Duterte passes by the major throughfare of the city with his windows open and gamely waves to the bystanders on the street. MindaNews photo by Keith Bacongco

Duterte, who was sworn in as the 16th president of the republic on Thursday, led the command turnovers of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame on Friday morning and of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo in the afternoon.

He will spend his weekend with his family at his home in Doña Luisa Subdivision in Matina.

A private jet that flew Duterte from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City arrived at Francisco Bangoy International Airport at around 8:40p.m with partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Kitty.

The President disembarked at the tarmac of the Tactical Operations Group (TOG) of the Philippine Air Force beside the old Davao Airport Terminal.

Like in his days as a mayor of the city, the President rode on his black Isuzu D-Max pick-up.

The only difference this time is that he was escorted not just by local police officers but also by dozens of members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

From the TOG, the president’s convoy drove through the national highway down to JP Laurel Avenue observing the 30- and 40-kilometer per hour speed limits.

The convoy consisting of PSG vehicles, police mobile cars and an ambulance also stopped on red traffic lights.

All the way from the airport, Duterte, who sat in front of his car, opened his window and waved to the people along the streets.

Upon arriving near the corner of JP Laurel Street and Bacaca Road, the convoy was stuck in a traffic jam for about two minutes.

Several motorcycles tried to overtake the police cars at the end of the convoy but the police stopped them.

The convoy turned right to Quirino Avenue where they were again trapped in a traffic congestion until Bankerohan Bridge.

At around 9:35pm, several bystanders, who were waiting for a jeep ride in front of Tower Inn and Tapa King, were surprised to see Duterte waving at them.

“Mayor! Mayor! Ay, President! President!” one of the ladies screamed as she snapped a Duterte of with her smartphone.

“Okay na ta, okay na ta!” Duterte responded to the cheers of the bystanders over an onboard megaphone as he kept on waving and showing a thumbs-up sign to the people.

One of his longtime police escorts shouted to some bystanders not get closer to Duterte’s car.

This time, about five of his PSG escorts disembarked from the vehicles and walked on the right side of the president’s vehicle.

PSG escorts walked beside Duterte’s car for at least 50 meters due to snail-paced flow of vehicles near the Davao Doctor’s Hospital.

It took the convoy over 10 minutes to get out of the traffic jam from the corner of Mayon Street to Bankerohan area.

From JP Laurel Street, the convoy went to MacArthur Highway where Duterte kept his window open.

Some bystanders on the street were surprised while some were seen taking pictures of the president.

The convoy turned left at Tulip Drive then headed right to Quimpo Boulevard.

It was already around 10p.m. when Duterte arrived at his home in Doña Luisa Subdvision.

Journalists who tailed the convoy were stopped at the final turn going to Duterte’s residence.

A few of his neighbors came out the gate and watched as the convoy eventually came to a halt.

In one of his press conferences in May, Duterte had expressed his desire to go home to Davao daily.

On June 29, Christopher “Bong” Go, special assistant to the President, told reporters at the TOG that the president may stay in Manila for a few days before heading back to Davao.

“Pero depende sa kanya kung uuwi ba sya agad pagkatapos ng inauguration pero may mga turnover of command pa,” Go said Wednesday night before leaving for Manila.

He added the President may hold office every Friday in the Malacañang of the South inside the Department of Public Works and Highways compound in Panacan, and spend his weekends in the city. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)