Over the last few weeks, as Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte’s survey ratings soared beyond the expectations of political pundits, questions have been raised on what else he is capable of aside from just cleansing his city of criminals and making it safe for his people.
Critics, including those threatened by his sudden rise in national political prominence, described Duterte as nothing more than just a rural Dirty Harry with homicidal tendencies who could not think beyond just using force to implement the law.
I had the rare privilege of engaging Duterte, who I consider a dear friend being the baptismal Godfather of my youngest child, Imman, and the wedding Godfather of my eldest daughter, Dr. Maria Krista, in intellectual sparring sessions and I wrote down his thoughts on very critical issues affecting the country.
Titled “The Thoughts of “Rody” Duterte,” these positions taken by Mayor Duterte on critical issues are supposed to be part of a long-delayed book which I am writing.
Today, I have decided to share the excerpts of the book with the readers to give them a glimpse of what to expect in a Rodrigo Duterte Presidency.
Here are The thoughts of “Rody” Duterte:
“A leader is not a messiah. He should be a garbage man. He cleans and clears the path towards a better future for the next generation. He does the work nobody else would like to do.”
“I don’t have the brilliance of (Ferdinand) Marcos, the smartness of (Fidel V.) Ramos or the eloquence of Miriam (Defensor-Santiago). All that I can offer the Filipino people is a good heart and common sense. Governance after all is just pure common sense.”
“While there is no perfect system of government, the Unitary form that we have now has not worked well for us given the fact that we are an ethnically diverse country living in over 7,000 islands. The Unitary form of government has centralized power in Metro Manila. It has also centralized corruption and prevented the growth of the regions who are left with very little share of the national wealth. Federalism could also prove to be a more viable option to address the restive Bangsamoro in the Southern Philippines who are seeking self-governance.”
“Corruption has crept into every fabric of Philippine society, not just in government but also in the private and religious sector. Drastic measures must be done. Laws must be amended to make it easier to prosecute the corrupt. Death Penalty must be considered for plunder while at the same time Values Education must be made mandatory in both private and public schools in the country.”
On Drugs and Criminality:
“I have no tolerance for criminals and the drug lords. They destroy our children. I believe that those who harm our children do not deserve to be part of society.”
On Policemen, Soldiers and Teachers:
“Policemen, Soldiers and Teachers are our front liners in the mission to build a better nation. More so with policemen and soldiers because they cannot say “No” to orders given to them even these could mean their death. Government must give them special care.”
On the Bangsamoro Problem:
“If there is anybody who would like to see the Bangsamoro Problem resolved, it is I because I am a Catholic by faith, there is a part of me which is Moro and I have grandchildren who have embraced Islam. But the Bangsamoro solution should take into consideration cultural realities. If the Bangsamoro Basic Law would fail to pass because of recent developments, we must continue the search for peace. We must never give up on the search for peace.”
On the Communist Insurgency:
“I have the highest respect and admiration for real revolutionaries. They lead difficult lives just to pursue a cause and fight for what they believe in. They should be given an opportunity to serve the people and join government, provided that they give up their weapons and renounce violence as a way to achieve change.”
On the Flawed Penal System:
“Drug lords and hardened criminals who enjoy life inside the New Bilibid Prison instead of being penalized for their crimes make a mockery of our justice system. They prove that in this country if you are rich, you can avoid punishment. The Penal System must be overhauled. If I have my way, I will look for an isolated island which is whipped by typhoons every year or a dilapidated ship which could be left afloat in the middle of the ocean and keep these drug lords and hardened criminals there. I will give them enough supply of rice and provide them with hooks and lines so that they could catch fish for their viand. That’s what they deserve.”
On the Sabah Issue:
“The Philippine government must not abandon the Sultanate of Sulu’s search for justice. Government must find ways to resolve this issue without necessarily straining our relationship with our neighbor Malaysia.”
On the China Issue:
“There must be ways to resolve the problem with China vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea issue. If I were the President, I would be willing to talk to China on this problem without so much of the ceremonies and the protocols. While we must never surrender our sovereignty on the West Philippine Sea islands, we must face the reality that a non-confrontational approach would be the best option. There is a bit of Chinese blood in almost all of us Filipinos and I believe the Chinese are a reasonable people. However, should the Chinese leadership choose to ignore our friendly pleadings, the Philippines should invoke the treaties it signed with world powers and consider allowing these powerful states to maintain a presence in areas near the sea of conflict. We must defend our country’s territory.”
On Youth and Education:
“Education is the best gift we can give our children. Quality education must be guaranteed and we the leaders of today must ensure that the youth are protected from the evils which will destroy them, especially drugs.”
On Agriculture and Agri-business:
“A leader must realize that more than anything else, it is his moral obligation to ensure Available and Affordable Food for his people. The fertile lands and the almost limitless water resources of our country could help produce food more than the requirements of our people. Agriculture must be given priority by the national government. Farmers must be given technical and financial support to be more productive. There is no need to import garlic, onions, chicken or pork. Our farmers can produce these commodities. They only need government support.”
On the Environment and Climate Change:
“Today’s generation must realize that there will be other generations after us. We must protect the environment for them and we must not be consumed by our greed forgetting that we are just temporary custodians of Mother Earth’s wealth and resources.”
On the Filipino diaspora and OFWs:
“The modern-day phenomenon of Filipinos leaving the comforts of their homes to find jobs abroad must be viewed from two perspectives: one, it could be a testimony to the exceptional skills and talents of Filipinos, and second, it could be an indictment of government and its failure to provide job opportunities to millions of our countrymen. Government must review its rural development policies to determine what could be done to create jobs in the countryside. The sad stories of Filipino workers exploited and abused abroad should come to an end.”
 Originally written by: Manny Piñol