Digong: the rainmaker
With all the things on his plate, President Duterte found the time during the long weekend to sneak in a visit to soldiers wounded during the latest skirmish with Abu Sayyaf bandits. Such visits are important for him. He genuinely cares for those who go into harm’s way at the service of the Republic.
Whatever his adversaries might say about him, they know his concern for the people is genuine. It is profound.
President Digong sees his role as Father of the Nation. He understands his work as being, at all times, protector of the vulnerable, the weak, the children who will inherit whatever we make of the future. He may sometimes appear stern, but at all times he wants to perform acts of kindness.
We have never had a leader who loved the people with such a passion. He does not want the nation to be looked down upon, even if that meant standing up to the world’s superpower.
He is deeply conscious of the work of those who came before him. Which other Filipino president, as a case in point, remembered to send wreaths to the tombs of former presidents on All Saints Day?
When he toured military and police camps last month, President Duterte gave out automatic pistols to the servicemen for their personal protection. Which other politicians thought of that?
The President has consistently justified his war on drugs as an existential struggle to save the next generation of Filipinos. This is always more than a law enforcement effort, something policemen do simply because the law requires them to act on the problem. This is about saving the nation, protecting ordinary citizens from the scourge of crimes spawned by drug use. This is about holding our communities together, making them safer and more productive. This is about reestablishing order in neighborhoods where drug addicts prowl much like invincible zombies.
It is the specter of the state cowering before the drug lords, of our institutions held hostage by powerful criminal syndicates that haunt President Duterte. He will not allow an intolerable situation to get even worse. He will not allow narcopolitics to hold our future in its deadly embrace. He will not allow law-abiding citizens to be terrorized by discombobulated addicts. As he says repeatedly, he will risk everything to defeat this unseemly foe.
In the President’s mind, it is destiny’s dictate that he get the job done. Our beleaguered people delivered him to the presidency because he was the only one with the will and the capacity to take the drug bull by the horns. He was the only one who would invest immense political capital in winning this war, the only one who could motivate the law-enforcement agencies to go beyond their limits and crush the scourge.
Desperate times require exceptional leadership. The nation is fortunate to have an exceptional leader in the threatened times we live in. He is the epitome of what, in Tagalog patois, we describe as “matigas ang ulo pero pusong mamon.” He will not stop if the people’s welfare depends on his getting things done. He will try and rescue every distressed person if that is at all possible.
He is tribal elder, stern father, rainmaker and mayor rolled into one. He is sui generis. No one else can get to the gist of what ails our national community like he does. No one else is nearly as persistent. No one else is nearly as uncompromising. No one else might be able to deliver a better future, especially for the millions of Filipinos trapped in poverty and enslaved by fear.
His unorthodox style might distress the more conventional among us. But he gets results. Fortunately, for most Filipinos, that is what truly matters.
Our citizens sense the honesty, feel the love and see the tenacity. He might be unique in his language and his methods. He surely operates out of the box. He works without complaining. He feels for the poor. He has the public good constantly in mind.
As the Americanism goes, he is exactly what the doctor ordered: the man who will reshape this nation for the better.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.