In Davao City, supporters troop to Rizal Park to defend Digong

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews/ 26 February) — Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gathered at the Rizal Park here during the commemoration of the 31st People Power revolution on Saturday to renew support for President Rodrigo Duterte who has been criticized for his campaign on illegal drugs and whose administration, according to his Communications Secretary, is facing threats of destabilization.

Celso Tizon, national chair of the Hugpong Federal Movement of the Philippines, one of the organizers of the “One Flag. One Nation. One People” event, said they staged the rally from 3 p.m. until 12 midnight to re-affirm their support for the programs of the Duterte administration against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality.

Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gather in Davao City’s Rizal Park on February 25, 2017 at the Rizal Park in Davao CIty. to defend the President from critics. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

A candle-lighting ceremony was also held at around 7 p.m.

He said the Duterte supporters also commemorate the EDSA Revolution that toppled the regime of late strongman and former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Tizon said he was dismayed by the failure of the previous administrations, from the late Corazon Aquino, Fidel V. Ramos, now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, now Deputy House speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III, for failing to bring change after the EDSA revolution.

“Instead of delivering change, the problem on drugs, corruption, and criminality even worsened,” he said.

He dismissed criticisms against the Duterte administration on his war on drugs by saying that “all these are fabricated” in an attempt to smear his name by his critics.

He believed the President’s campaign against drugs is necessary to rid the country of  the drug menace.

A placard criticizes the 1986 People Power revolution as a failure at a rally expressing support and defending President Rodrigo Duterte on February 25, 2017 at the Rizal Park in Davao CIty. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

“His critics are using the issue on extrajudicial killings to discredit him but they must also think that his campaign on drugs does more good than harm. That’s the bigger change,” he added.

Tizon said he was impressed by the performance of the Duterte administration eight months into the presidency. Duterte is the country’s 16thpresident and the first from Mindanao to hold such office.

“Declare Martial law”

Gapor “Randy” Usman, deputy mayor for Maranao tribe in Davao City, said he wants Duterte to “declare martial law” to make it easier for him to push through with campaign promise on shifting to federalism and “para walay impeachment (no threats of impeachment.)”

“Ipa-abot kay President na karon gi-convince na mag-declare na og martial law. I-convince aron madali tanan na programa para sa katawhan, mawala ang drugs, ang criminal, mawala ang corruption (We want to tell the President we want to convince him to declare martial law to make it easy for him to implement all his programs for the people, eliminate drugs, criminals, and corruption),” he said.

Other groups participating in the rally include, among others, Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte (MRRD), Duterte Diehard Supporters, and Kilusang Pagbabago.

There were also representatives from South and North Cotabato, General Santos, Sarangani, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro and other areas in Agusan and Surigao.

“No real change in forgetting”

In a statement titled “No real change in forgetting,” Konsyensa Dabaw said it respects the rally mounted by Duterte’s supporters here as an exercise of democratic rights. “But we argue that the mobilization would not have been possible had the events of February 1986 not taken place.”

“For starters, the change in administration that enabled Nanay Soling Duterte to recommend in her stead the appointment of her son Rodrigo Duterte to the post of Davao City Vice-Mayor and which launched his 30 years of being a political leader would not have happened.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews with reports)