Duterte deserves our support

By Joel P. Longares

FOR SO LONG, the Philippines has been ruled by people from the elite who have not done anything to improve the lives of our poor people. While these politicians are campaigning, they make all kinds of promises elections after elections – combat crime, eliminate corruption, lift the people from poverty, bring peace, etcetera, etcetera.

But once they sit down in office, they forget all about their promises and go on with their old ways – spending the people’s money, making themselves and their cronies richer, looking away while their officials rob the people blind, ignoring the rise in crimes because they have a battalion of bodyguards to protect them, and basically forgetting about the people who elected them.

And now, they are wondering why a simple mayor from a small city in faraway Mindanao have beaten them lopsidedly.

The answer is simple. The people are tired of their promises. The people are tired of moneyed politicians who pay lip service to the poor during election campaigns but didn’t care whether their constituents have food on the table, a decent shirt on their back, and a roof over their head. The people are tired of hypocrites in government who say one thing and do another. The people are gripped by fear of crime and drug lords, who don’t seem to fear anyone in government. The people are tired of traditional politicians who do nothing but enrich themselves in office. The people are tired of being bullied by the very officials tasked to protect them.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said what the ordinary Juan de la Cruz has always said but nobody in government cared to listen. Davao City Mayor spoke, dressed, thought and acted like them. Walang pagkukunwari, walang pagsisinungaling, walang kinatatakutan.

Duterte said he would shoot or hang to death those who defy the law and who make the people’s lives even more miserable by selling their children drugs and luring them into a life of crime. Duterte said he would execute drug pushers and criminals. He said he would jail or hang those who rob the people and the government. He said he would lead a simple life as president so that the people would emulate him. And they believed him.

Duterte cursed. And they loved him. Duterte threatened politicians and media men who would come in his way to bringing change to the country. And they cheered him. Duterte joked. And they applauded him.

To the more than 16 million Filipinos who voted for him to be the country’s next president, finally, here’s a man who would dare go against powerful politicians, greedy businessmen and cocky criminals to save this poor country from crime, corruption and greed. Here’s a man who spoke their language, curse their curses, and dressed like them and offering to lead them to salvation.

While the people cheered and looked forward with hope, those who have ransacked this country for so long shook in fear for they will be the targets of Duterte’s radical change agenda. Only they who enrich themselves selling drugs to their hapless victims, they who use their power and position to victimize people, they who pocket the people’s money instead of using them to uplift the people’s lives, they are the only ones who fear a Duterte presidency.

Duterte knows how it is to live in a small town in a distant province. That’s why people believe him when he says he will give priority to the folks from these provinces that have long been neglected by the elite in Manila. He has made it clear that he will distribute wealth evenly by developing the local economies in the rural areas, thereby decongesting Metro Manila and luring the people back to the provinces.

The country is in a mess. The political system is rotten. The political leadership is incompetent. And the people want change, real change. They don’t want to listen to any more promises that would only keep them even more hopeless, even more desperate, even more frustrated in the end.

Only a leader who is strong, sincere and has the political will to enforce what he thinks is right, regardless of the consequences on his own life, can get this country out of the mess that our previous leaders had created. Duterte deserves our support, not our condemnation.

Kailangan ng bayan ng pagbabago. Bigyan natin ng pagkakataong patunayan ni Digong na kaya niyang baguhin para sa mabut ang ating bayan.