Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas with the Duterte Clan

For presidentiable Rody Duterte, Christmas is sacred, and everyone in the family must be present
By Amyline Quien Ching, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle
Photos courtesy of Davao City Information Cffice

Like everyone else, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte wants to spend Christmas with his family. The mayor kisses his grandson Uno, The youngest son of Paolo Duterte
He is indeed just human, as his recent viral ad that greeted criminals and drug lords a Merry Christmas proclaimed. Because as ferocious as the stance that presidentiable Rody Duterte would like to project to the outside world, campaigning to rid the country of scum, the mayor of Davao City is still quite the lamb when it comes to his family, especially his grandkids.
The young Rody with his mom Soledad R. Duterte

“I find hugs and kisses from my children and grandchildren the sweetest of gestures. ’Yung ganun okay na sa akin,” he says with a smile.
According to the mayor, Christmas is sacred in the Duterte family. Everyone must be present. “Bawal ang wala” as Rody puts it. It’s a tradition that his own mother started when he was a kid. “My most memorable Christmases were when I was a kid. My father was governor of the undivided Davao province then. Malaking responsibilidad ’yun so we didn’t get to see him often. Pero ’pag Christmas, my mother made sure he spent it with us. Hindi pwedeng hindi. So at Christmas, we would always be complete.”

14The Duterte clan with Rody’s children and grandchildren
And now, decades later, he enforces the same rule on his own family. Everyone must be present. Even Rody himself makes it a point to stay home for Christmas. “I don’t go out unless there’s a pressing matter that really needs my attention and physical presence.”
The night is usually spent with his children and grandchildren. He considers himself quite the generous gift-giver and enjoys watching the kids open his gifts and seeing their reactions.
There is really no set Noche Buena menu for the Dutertes as it varies each year. But what remains a constant fixture on the dinner table is salted ham, which Rody considers his Christmas Eve treat. Yun, bawal din mawala.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Davao makes room for lumads at Christmas

by Chito A. Fuentes

There is room for the lumad in Davao City on Christmas.
While elsewhere they are unwelcome and turned away in the most favorite Christian holiday, indigenous people know they have a home in Davao City under Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“Naay instruction si Mayor nga pabantayan ang mga lumad kay di siya gusto nga pasipad-an (The Mayor has given instructions that the lumads be given protection so that they will not be maltreated),” said Omilis Laraze, a member of the Matigsalog tribe.
Laraze, 50, is a resident of Sitio Patag, Salumay, Marilog district. The former barangay kagawad has been designated as the head of the different tribes that make the Mintal gym as their home this Christmas season.
He revealed that he first joined the group that descended into Davao in 2006 after moving in from Bukidnon.
“Nakasinati ko nga anhi sila manaygon unya pag-uli naa nay dala nga bugas (I noticed that they came here to carol and when they returned they brought rice with them),” he added.
Pacita Tinampon agreed.
The 56-year-old resident of Sumilop, Marilog said they feel welcomed in the city.
“Kada hapon tagaan mi duha ka kilo nga bugas (Every afternoon, we are given two kilos of rice),” she noted. 
A member of the Manobo tribe, Tinampon proudly declared that each individual is also given two pieces of canned goods and three packs of noodles.
Upon arrival, each one is given meal tickets which will entitle them to the food rations for the entire length of their stay. 
“We know we will never go hungry,” she added in Cebuano.
Better yet, Laraze said there will still be enough to share with their families when they head for home on Dec. 26.
Eilin Macla, 50, a Matigsalog like Laraze, said many of those who come down bring their families with them including the little children.
“We are given medical attention by health workers who are always watching over us,” she added.
The three said Mintal, 15 kilometers from the city proper, is their favorite home during their annual Christmas sojourn to the city. They credit Barangay Capt. Ramon Bargamento II for giving special attention to them.
Bargamento, however, refuses to take all the credit saying that like other barangay captains hosting the lumads, he is merely following Duterte’s marching orders.
A deputy mayor before serving as barangay captain since 2007, Bargamento said that Duterte has given specific orders to take care of the lumads when they come for the holidays.
Laraze revealed that the revelers are not only from Davao. Many come from Bukidnon, North Cotabato and other outlying provinces.
Bargamento noted an increase this year saying he had to refuse more transients after the health workers said they have reached the maximum of 3,800.
“While they are here, we not only feed them and address their health and medical needs but also try to make them as comfortable as we can,” he added.
To do this, Bargamento said many agencies are tapped including health, social welfare, police, fire and environment. 
A makeshift tent was set up where children can play and listen to stories during the day and watch video shows at night.
Davao’s third district has the biggest population of lumads compared to the first two. 
Rep. Isidro Ungab explained that they all originated from the Bagobo tribe which gave birth to sub-tribes such as Matigsalog, Tagabawa, Obu Manobo, Clata and Aetas.
Ungab, who represents the district, estimated the lumad population at 128,000.
Definitely not all of them descend to Davao at Christmas. But for those who do, they know they have a home waiting for them.
It is far from a glamorous vacation - raising their palms to strangers hoping that a kind heart would spare them a few coins before the light turns green at the intersection. 
If it is their lucky day, there will be some open doors with clothes and foodstuff with a smile and a kind word.
Asked about insults and discriminations from those who think themselves superior, Laraze replied like one who has learned to roll with the punches.
“We don’t allow ourselves to be bothered by that,” he said matter-of-factly.
Most of the lumads have learned to take it all in stride. 
At the first Christmas, there was no room for Joseph, Mary and the Baby.
Nothing much has changed more than 2,000 years later. Doors still remain shut for those considered the least of the brethren.
For the lumads who have been coming to Davao since Duterte became mayor, they know there will always be room for them.
Little wonder that Laraze, Tinampon, Macla and many of their fellow lumads are excited about the prospects Duterte becoming president.
It is not difficult to trust one who has already proven himself. (CHITO A. FUENTES)  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Duterte hints solution to Metro traffic woes

by Chito A. Fuentes

Unlike other presidential wannabes who either do not know what to do or do not want to lose votes, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has given hints on what he will do with the monstrous traffic jams in Metro Manila.
In various speaking engagements, Duterte said he will build a new port in Batangas or somewhere south and maximize the Clark airport.
Cartoon from Arlene Pasaje blog 
The mayor said the horrendous traffic in Manila is one of the impediments of progress.
A recent study says the Philippines is losing P2.4 billion a day because of traffic congestion. That is P876-B a year, a significant amount in a country saddled with P6 trillion foreign debt. 
When asked during a roundtable discussion with Inquirer editors what is his solution to the problem, Duterte candidly replied “wala”.
It was not because he didn’t have a solution. Duterte, a sucker for idioms and figure of speech, was describing the enormity of the problem.
“Walang mangyayari sa atin,” he has repeatedly declared. Of course, he is merely stressing the obvious.
While administration barkers gloat over a modest growth in the economy, they conveniently gloss over the fact that Southeast Asia has experienced modest growth and the Philippines is actually lagging behind its neighbors.
“How can expect the economy to improve if you spend hours on the road waiting for the traffic to improve?” he asked almost always.
Duterte said traders always look for the “fastest, safest and cheapest” way to move their goods.
The mayor said moving the sea port and airport away from the metropolis will decongest it aside from dispersing progress.
“You have to have a fast train with two points of entry somewhere in Metro Manila that is not too crowded,” he added to explain how the goods will be transported to the metro.
Duterte also plans to improve mass transport which will make it more attractive even to the middle and even upper class.
“The reason is very obvious - it is in front of you. Every day thousands of motor vehicles go out of the casa because they are sold,” he pointed out in an interview with TV 5. 
The poor state of public transport is one of the reasons blamed for the congested streets cluttered with private vehicles.
Under the Aquino administration, the MRT is in very bad shape that only those who don’t have cars will take their chance with it.
The mayor, however, conceded that the traffic problem is so big six years won’t be enough to solve it.
Duterte was cursing over his frustrations after being caught in the traffic during the visit of Pope Francis that led to a backlash with no less than Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Bishop Socrates Villegas swiftly denouncing him for it.
The mayor has since apologized for it in a visit to Bishop Romulo Valles and promising to fine himself P1,000 for every expletive uttered.
Duterte’s outburst against the scant attention or even silence on the part of his rivals gives him the edge in terms of his sincerity to address the problem. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Undeclared war vs Davao City

by Chito A. Fuentes

In their bid to take the wind out of the sails of the presidential bid of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, his opponents are now firing away at Davao City.
The first was Laguna Cong. Dan Fernandez, he of only 23 bills filed in his three terms in Congress.

911 vehicles line up infront of Davao City Hall in what is the first and only LGU having such an efficient emergency response system in the whole country.
Swearing like a pirate, Fernandez tried to deflate Duterte’s balloon claiming the mayor is overrated.
Making up for the empty bluster, Fernandez boasted that he could do what Duterte accomplished in Davao in half the time.
Fernandez, of course, suddenly disappeared when he was exposed for who he is. 
“He has little to show for three terms in Congress,” Duterte’s media bureau lashed back.
Among Fernandez’ legislative accomplishments were the conversion of six city and municipal roads to national roads and the creation of four barangays.
Next on the line was economist and columnist Solita Monsod who disputed Davao’s growing reputation as the world’s safest city.
Monsod belittled, the website that recognized Davao’s feat saying the city was not even in the list of the 50 safest cities of the Economic Intelligence Unit. 
Why Davao City should be faulted for Numbeo’s ranking, only Monsod knows. 
The third to take a crack at Duterte was Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo.
Reminiscent of Fernandez’ “I-can-do-that-in-half-the time”, Robredo claimed Naga was able to do what Duterte accomplished in Davao without embracing vigilante-type executions like Duterte.
The sudden outbreak of attacks against Davao is expected to continue, and even escalate, especially after Duterte topped a Pulse Asia survey in the National Capital Region.
It is obvious that the “Tuwid na Daan” and rival political parties have launched an undeclared war against Davao City.
If the attacks are calibrated by media spin doctors hired by rival political campos, Davao can only expect the modest gains it accomplished under Duterte to be disputed, if not discredited.
It could, however, blow up in the face of Duterte’s opponents. The carpet-bombing of a city fiercely proud of its identity would only drive citizens who were erstwhile disinterested to be actively involved in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to send Mindanao’s political rock star to the Palace by the Pasig.
The slow and increasing incidents of Davao-bashing can serve as a call to arms for a people who knew what it was to be caught in the crossfire between government troopers and rebels, and between cops and criminals.
It does not take much to rally behind its most popular mayor on the way to fulfilling his date with destiny.
When that happens, his rivals will have no one else to blame but themselves. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

IN BARING HIS WORST Duterte forcing people to pick their president

by Chito A. Fuentes

This early, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is forcing people to pick their next president - simply by baring his worst.
Duterte was proclaimed presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III Monday afternoon before a highly partisan crowd of cheering and clapping followers and supporters.

The controversial Davao mayor, however, did not appear the least conscious of the occasion, choosing to expose his worst angle so far.
“If you can love your fellow men, if you love the Filipino people - love enough to serve and to die for you - how can I not love four women in my life?” Duterte, an avowed ladies man, asked.
From elaborating on his womanizing and fondness for sex, to cussing to express his frustrations, Duterte was most lurid in his accounts of his encounters with criminals.
Cursing while detailing his ordeal during the visit of Pope Francis in Manila, Duterte let off another round of expletives that expectedly became a magnet for bashing from his haters and rivals.
“Do not think for a minute that you have a monopoly of evil,” Duterte remarked while addressing criminals, warning that is capable of “ten times more”.
Reminiscent of his first mayoralty campaign in Davao, Duterte made it clear his priorities were fighting crime, criminality and government incompetence.
Duterte had postulated the thesis that peace and order and an efficient government are the foundations to development. Davao’s metamorphosis from a basket case to the country’s fifth-ranked city in terms of income has proven him right.
Davao’s feat from the killing fields of the 80s to the Philippines’ safest urban city along with his advocacies including delivery of basic services has given rise to a new sense of dignity and accountability to Davaoenos as shown by the realignment of political forces solidly behind Duterte in his presidential run.
The Duterte who made life difficult for those prodding him to file before the October 17 deadline was not much different from the Duterte who grudgingly accepted a popular draft to run for president.
“Gusto nya man kaya ako ma-presidente, dapat malaman nyo kung sino ako,” he repeated what he has been saying since the start.
His critics have played into his trap, harping at his perceived disrespect for propriety and refinement.
The mayor projects the image of being reckless and carefree - and seems to be enjoying it.
“Kung i-dismiss ako nang Comelec, so be it. No problem. Uwi ako bukas,” he says matter-of-factly.
Duterte, who considers himself “left”, recently announced that he will put a stop to labor contractualization, a position that will surely make capitalists take a stand against him.
The mayor’s unorthodoxy is a marketing specialist’s nightmare but he doesn’t care.
Duterte is not about to repackage himself just to win this election.
People scandalized by his pronouncements and his behavior are raising hell about it but do not expect Duterte to mend his ways.
At the age of 70 and complaining of various ailments, Duterte has made it clear he is not interested in the presidency, giving rise to suspicions he is sabotaging his own bid.
Far from it. Duterte is telling the country what kind of presidency they can expect and, while the campaign period is going on, make a stand whether they will still go for him with all his faults, or go back to the comfort zone where his rivals are packed and jammed.
Brilliance? Miriam. Academic credentials? Mar. Experience? Binay. Pleasing personality? Poe.
Alternating between being crude, rough and irreverent to a virtual champion for the less fortunate and the helpless, Duterte has made sure this will be an unforgettable a political campaign.   
“If God wants me to be there, I will be there,” he replied when asked whether he believes it is God’s will for him to run for president during his proclamation.
Call it bravado, call it bluster, call it a gamble, or faith, if you will, but that is the Duterte to expect in the approaching campaign - and the presidency if he makes it. (CHITO A. FUENTES) 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Rock star with one song - Change is coming!

by Chito A. Fuentes 

“Graft has to stop!”, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told a highly-partisan crowd in Taguig Sunday evening at the concert MAD for Change: Tunog ng Pagbabago.
The rock start sings a hopeful tune - Change is coming!
Duterte decried the sickening bureaucracy that has bred a web of corruption in government which in turn is one major reason why the country is lagging behind its neighbors in terms of development.
“Dito sa gobyerno…ano ka dito 48 signatures,” he gave as example to prove his point.
With 48 signatures, he said the investor will have to fork over a significant amount particularly those involving economic enterprises and industries.
He said that there transactions where investors shell out P300,000 to P500,000 or even P2 million to P3 million for the needed document.
The mayor also cited as example the processing of land clearances where there are so many signatures and payments before the title is releases.
“I don’t care how you do it but I will just give you 72 hours,” Duterte said, citing his policy in Davao.
After 72 hours, employees are no longer allowed to release the document which has to be forwarded to his office with an explanation on why it took more than three days to finish. 
The 2016 most-awaited presidential candidate who beat the deadline set for substitutions did not disappoint a loyal fan based that waited near midnight for his appearance.
At its peak, the crowd estimate at the Taguig concert held at McKinley Hill was placed at more than 30,000.
The bailiwick of his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, was entertained by volunteer musicians including Jimmy Bondoc, Paolo Santos, Luke Mejares and Thor who sang “Takbo” which was released in a last-ditch effort to prod Duterte to file before the deadline last Oct. 17.
Also present were Davao-based musicians who compose the Musicians and Artists for Duterte (MAD) for Change several months back including Popong Landero and Jimmy Cabrera and folk icon Lolita Carbon.
Professional basketball players Marc Pingris, Sonny Thoss, Jay-R Reyes, Cyrus Baguio, Mac Baracael, Willy Miller, Jun Cabato and Jobe Nkemacolam also appeared on stage and threw away free balls.
The early birds arrived at the venue before the scheduled 4 pm and had considerably thinned when Duterte arrived at 10:50 pm.
True to his rock-star reputation, escorts had a difficult time containing admirers who wanted to have selfies with the controversial mayor.
While the Duterte-Cayetano team-up was the last to be finalized, it got off to an auspicious start in Taguig.
Unlike other candidates, the performers were all volunteers who are individually rooting for Duterte.
There were also no bus-in crowds just to project perception of a bandwagon.
Duterte has little need for that at this time, surprising surging on top of the heap in the National Capital Region where he was portrayed as very weak unlike his bailiwicks in Mindanao and two regions in the Visayas.
There were no noticeable changes in Duterte’s speech, giving indications he has no intention of softening his image now that he has formalized his candidacy. 
In what is expected as the most unorthodox campaign, Duterte has sent jaded analysts shaking their heads and fanatical supporters shouting themselves hoarse in glee.
With this phenomenal surge despite comping in late in the campaign and without the fabled political organization that others build up at least a year before election, Duterte can expect frightened rivals to fire at will.
Duterte, however, wants to keep everyone guessing, promising a campaign that will rewrite Philippine presidential elections. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Friday, November 27, 2015

‘UNDER HIS PRESIDENCY’ Corruption has got to stop - Duterte

by Chito A. Fuentes

ALABEL, Sarangani - A few hours after his lawyer filed his certificate of candidacy for president in Intramuros, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte dropped hints on what to expect if he wins the election.
“Ug akoy ma-presidente, corruption has to stop,” Duterte remarked near the end of his 41-minute talk.
The mayor was optimistic about his chances, noting that he has experience in fighting corruption.
“Once upon a time, I was one of only two Tanodbayans investigators in Mindanao,” he disclosed.

Former Mayor Inday Sara Duterte shows her COC as substitute to his father, who withdrew his COC for reelection as Mayor and files as substitute for President at the Comelec in Manila.

This little-known detail of Duterte’s service record happened before the establishment of the Ombudsman.   
“Criminality has to go,” the mayor emphatically declared, drawing applause from the audience packed inside the 2,500-capacity gym.
Duterte earned a reputation for cleaning up Davao which was a virtual killing fields prior to his assumption.
The mayor, who has come under fire from human rights advocates, made it clear he won’t change his ways.
“Di man ko mahadlok ug human rights,” he added.
Duterte asserted it is time to instill fear in the law.
Among the current crop of presidential candidates, it is only Duterte who has repeatedly warned of the upsurge of criminality.
“We have lost a generation sa drugs,” he pointed out.
Duterte recalled instances when he dealt harshly with criminals and drug lords.
“Hardliner ko, cruel ko sa criminal,” he warned. 
The mayor has consistently warned shady personalities that if they do drugs in Davao, he would kill them.
“I don’t know what would be my policy, pero pareho siguro. I will use the military and the police,” he hinted.
Duterte walked into a highly-partisan crowd which erupted into wild applause and deafening shouts at the venue to speak on the occasion of Sarangani’s 23rd foundation day.
The noise rose decibels higher when Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced that Duterte was the newest presidential candidate in next year’s election.
Marcos spoke ahead of Duterte and was already entertaining questions when the mayor arrived. Duterte caught up with the symposium arriving aboard a chopper after presiding over a press conference in Davao.
Earlier that morning, he withdrew his candidacy for mayor, paving the way for the filing of his certificate of candidacy for president in Intramuros by lawyer Salvador Medialdea.
Duterte’s daugher, lawyer Sara Duterte-Carpio, in turn filed her certificate of candidacy to replace him.
The swift execution stunned even his close friends and political lieutenants.
After the initial surprise, however, the formality of his presidential bid triggered frenzied rejoicing among his followers particularly on social media.  
“I can promise you a law-abiding, God-fearing, comfortable community,” he responded to question on what his legacy will be.
With what Duterte brings to the table, there are enough reasons to celebrate. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

AFTER DROPPING TO 2ND Poe now says survey results “inconclusive”

by Chito A. Fuentes

After falling from her perch as survey front-runner in Metro Manila, Sen. Grace Poe is no longer impressed with Pulse Asia.
According to an Inquirer report, Poe’s camp called the latest survey placing her in second place behind Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte “inconclusive” and “not reflective” of the sentiments of the country.
Duterte gains and leads in all classes in topping the latest polls in Metro Manila, where election winners traditionally win the whole country as well.
Prior to the latest survey conducted last Nov. 11-12, Poe consistently topped the voters’ preference. She never called those surveys “inconclusive”.
It was also not clear why the Poe camp said it was “not reflective” of the sentiments of the country when Pulse Asia was categorical that it was the result only of the survey in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Poe’s spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, also claimed the survey was released by Duterte’s camp.
The survey results was bannered by the Inquirer in its Thursday issue and was also given prominent treatment by ABS-CBN’s online edition.
Both the Inquirer and ABS-CBN made no mention of the Duterte camp as the source of their reports.
Sought for comment, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III denied that it was the PDP-Laban that commissioned the survey saying the party “had no budget to commission the survey.”
“Hindi ko alam. Basta ang PDP-Laban hindi nagco-commission, wala kaming pera,” Pimentel was quoted in an Inquirer report.
In the same survey, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Poe’s running-mate, remained on top, towing Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Alan Peter Cayetano who came in second and third.
Valenzuela did not say if the Poe camp had the same comment for the results in the vice-presidential survey.
The survey was conducted before Duterte announced that he was running for president.
Political rivals had predicted an uphill fight for Duterte in the NCR because he is from Mindanao which has not yet produced a president.
Duterte, however, might yet prove these predictions wrong.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey, 34% of the respondents said they would vote for Duterte, up from 27% in September.
Duterte topped the ABC and D classes, while trailing Binay only by one point among voters in the E class.
In contrast, Poe fell to 26% from 31 in September.
Binay dropped from 26 to 22 while Roxas slid farther from 13 to 11 in the same period.
Duterte’s numbers are expected to rise significantly in his bailiwicks in Mindanao, Central and Eastern Visayas buoyed by his strong showing in NCR.
With this development, Duterte continues to baffle experts in what promises to be the most unconventional presidential election ever in the country’s history. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

WITH DAVAO MAYOR’S ENTRY Who will receive Duterte rivals in Vis-Min sorties?

by Chito A. Fuentes

With the guessing game on whether Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will run or not now settled, the new guessing game is: who will stick with the other three presidential aspirants? 
At least two analysts have predicted that Duterte’s entry will disrupt the existing political configurations particularly in Mindanao.
Mon Casiple said Duterte’s last-minute entry into the presidential race “has changed the political equation, ensuring a free-for-all among five candidates next year.”
Casiple, executive director of Institute for Political Reform, predicted that Duterte “will certainly get the Mindanao and Cebu votes.”

Filipino seafarers aboard a ship in Antartica send a white-as-snow message home.
Meanwhile, Malou Tiquia of PUBLICOS Asia Inc. went even farther, predicing that Duterte will be a “game-changer”.
Tiquia, who hosts “Agenda” on CNN Philippines, said Duterte will take support away from Poe and Roxas.  
Duterte caught political watchers in the National Capital Region by surprise when he stormed into the lead in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
The tough-talking Davao mayor cornered the nod of one-third of the the respondents, posting a commanding 34%, dislodging erstwhile topnotcher Sen. Grace Poe who fell to second with her 26%.
Vice Mayor Jejomar Binay dropped to third, four percentage points behind Poe at 22% while administration bet Mar Roxas plummeted even farther to fourth at 11%.
Sen. Miriam Santiago brought up the rear with 7%.
It will be recalled that many Mindanao politicians who had earlier express support for Duterte’s candidacy eventually settled for other candidates when the latter refused to beat the deadline last Oct. 17.
Duterte’s re-entry now poses headaches for the former as Mindanao and even Cebu are experiencing a sudden surge of regional pride.
In Davao provinces, rival politicians have already opened contact lines with the mayor’s camp to express support for his bid. Even former Speaker Prospero Nograles has openly declared his support for Duterte in spite of their bitter and protracted political rivalry in Davao.
Sources in the Duterte camp note a similar scenario shaping up in other Mindanao provinces and some areas in the Visayas particularly Cebu.
As the campaign period draws near, one question lurks on many people’s mind: who will be brave enough to go upstage and sit beside the other presidential candidates at the risk of antagonizing Duterte fanatics?
It won’t be a simple act because in doing so they put their candidacies on the line in the southern regions who see in Duterte their first real chance of finally seeing one of their own in Malacanang. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Laguna solon little to show in 3 terms in Congress

Chito A. Fuentes

If his legislative performance is any indication, Laguna Cong. Dan Fernandez has very little to show for three terms in Congress.
Fernandez came out of nowhere Monday to train his sights on Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has openly declared his presidential bid.
The one-time actor dismissed Duterte as “overrated”, saying he could do better in half the time. 
“Give me 10 years, and I can improve any town,” he boasted before reporters at the House of Representatives.
A quick visit to the House of Representatives website, however, is anything but impressive.
Fernandez’ legislative record showed only 23 bills authored or sponsored in his name.
Out of the 23, only 18 were legislative measures while the remaining five were resolutions. 
Of the 18, six were conversion of municipal roads into national roads, four were for the creation of barangays in San Pedro City.
One bill sought the increase in the number of the members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Binan City from 10 to 12.
Fernandez filed a bill mandating that each city or municipality set aside a portion of its territorial jurisdiction for forest parks while another sought to protect the forest by banning all commercial logging operations.
He filed a bill establishing the center for Filipino gifted and talented children and another qualifying the use of the income of the National Museum.
Fernandez also filed a bill providing for a Magna Carta of workers in informal economy and a separate bill upgrading the position of Sanitary Inspector to the next higher salary grade.
His biggest bill which carved out Binan City as a legislative district separate from the first district of Laguna was realized when President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10658. This will make him eligible to represent the new district as congressman when his term in his present district expires.
Among his five resolutions, two concerned the Iglesia ni Cristo.
One bill was to recognize and honor the “exemplary humanitarian contributions of the Iglesia ni Cristo and its partner, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation.”
Fernandez also sought the passing of a resolution recognizing and honoring the Iglesia ni Cristo for its sixth Guinness World Record for the largest charity walk.
One resolution directed the committee on ecology to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation, on “the exigency and indispensability of an environment-friendly project for the dredging, rehabilitation and utilization of the Laguna Lake that will significantly address the imminent devastating flooding not only in the Province of Laguna but also in Metro Manila.”
The fourth resolution urged the Office of the President to declare 2014 as Nicolas V. Zamora Centernnial Death Anniversary.
Finally, Fernandez expressed the opposition of “the People of Laguna” to the detention of pork barrel scam suspect Janet Napoles at the Fort Sto. Domingo Detention Center.
In 2009, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal kicked Fernandez out of the rolls after it found him of having questionable residential status in the first district of Laguna.
Obviously Fernandez will have to do more than his sudden flair for expletives to prove that he is half the public servant that Duterte is. (CHITO A. FUENTES) 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

‘After what’s happening, I might run’ - Duterte

by Chito A. Fuentes

“I might run, after all that is happening,” Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday.
Duterte had increasingly expressed his disgust over recent events in the country and his latest statement hinted he might finally give in to the clamor to aim for Malacanang.

“This tanim-bala, criminality, corruption, political decision instead of the legal issue on (Sen. Grace) Poe’s citizenship are all symptomatic of the oppression of Filipinos,” he complained.
The mayor’s patience obviously has grown thin. 
“Stop f****ing the Filipino. If they cannot stop it, I will stop it,” Duterte said Thursday.
Duterte had expressed his disappointment over Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruling on the disqualification case filed against Poe on the grounds that she is not a natural born citizen.
The mayor disagreed with the decision, saying the disqualification case is not a political issue but a “constitutional issue”.
“A theory cannot amend a constitution by presumption,” Duterte said.
The mayor added that Poe will be a “presumptive president whose citizenship is based on presumption.”
“The highest position is reserved for a true-blue Filipino,” he stressed.
On Saturday, upped the ante.
“When Flor Contemplacion was executed, sinunog ko ang flag ng Singapore kaya hindi na ako makapunta sa Singapore, pero babalik ako dun as President,” he told members of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology.
This must be music not only to the undisputed hero of OFWs but also his legion of supporters in the Philippines.
Duterte also charmed his audience with his typical wit.
When asked who he will appoint to the notoriously corrupt Bureau of Customs, the mayor replied, “ang ilalagay natin d’yan ‘yung mga walang kamay pati mga pulis para hindi makapanghingi”.
Asked whether he will file his certificate of candidacy on Monday, Duterte, however, replied “not yet”.
“I have to make the rounds to fill in the gaps,” he explained.
This has inspired his supporters to make the final push to catch the last bus to next year’s presidential elections.
The PDP-Laban scheduled a rally at the University of the Philippines Lahug campus in Cebu Sunday.
Although Duterte’s attendance has not been confirmed, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was expected to give inputs into the mayor’s latest mindset.
Lawyer Noel Felongco, who chairs the organizing committee, said also expected to provide star power were entertainers Jimmy Bondoc, who composed the song “Takbo” along with Luke Mejares and Thor.
A mammoth concert is also slated on Nov. 29 at the Bonifacio Global City to rally Duterte supporters in Metro Manila.
Just when everyone thought it was all over, a Duterte presidential run suddenly seems closer than it has ever been. (CHITO A. FUENTES)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Supporters still hoping Duterte changes mind

by Chito A. Fuentes

DAVAO CITY - Supporters of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte obviously are still hoping he changes his mind and runs for president.
Metro Manila-based musicians who came up with the music video “Takbo” continue to court Duterte have separately visited him in Davao reiterating the message they conveyed in the song.
First to come over were Jimmy Bondoc and Paolo Santos who serenaded Duterte after a gig in a local mall. Bondoc wrote the song which was uploaded on youtube a day before the deadline of the filing last Oct. 17.

On Saturday, it was the turn of Luke Mejares to visit Duterte. Bondoc, Santos and Mejares formed the core of 17 artists and musicians who pooled their talents for “Takbo”.
Also standing up to be counted were Joel Guarin, Gail Blanco, THOR, Rickson Ruiz, Jerome Nunez, Pido, Ian Fajardo, Mike Caleda of the Crib, Max of Climax, NiEL DE MESA and Gibson Viduya.
Recently, it was the turn of six basketball stars to come out to express support for the popular Davao mayor in a video also uploaded on youtube.
They are Jobe Nkemakolam, Japeth Aguilar, Jay-R Reyes, Jeffrei Allan “Jeff” Chan, Joachim “Sonny” Thoss and Santiago Cabatu Jr.
The video opened with individual shots of the six players declaring “Duterte tayo!”, their right thumbs up revealing the now-familiar red and blue ballers.
At the end the 31-second video, all six were shown seated side by side with a Duterte poster hanging on the wall above the heads of Thoss and Chan. 
Aguilar, Chan and Thoss of Ginebra San Miguel, Rain or Shine and Alaska respectively recently played for the national team.
Last Nov. 9, Duterte was the honored guest during the 45th birthday celebration of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a vice-presidential candidate. 
According to an exclusive Rappler story written by Pia Ranada, “what was supposed to be Cayetano’s birthday celebration became more like another event to convince Duterte to run”.
Duterte recently gave the presidential run a shot in the arm when he declared on his TV program that he might change his mind about the 2016 presidential race if the administration will not be able to solve the tanim-bala extortion scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
As part of his birthday message, Cayetano summed up what seems to be the call of the hour.
“The point, Mayor, is that we don’t have a choice. We keep telling people we want real change but they’re not given real choices. Give us a choice for 2016,” he asked Duterte.
Duterte has until Dec. 10 to make what he calls a “gamble for his freedom.” (CHITO A. FUENTES)