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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 1, 2016
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Words and Demeanor

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In the inaugural address of President Rodrigo Duterte, the 16 th President of the Philippines quoted two American Presidents. The first by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying “The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have little.” And the second from Abraham Lincoln, “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong; You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich; You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer; You cannot further the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”

President Duterte said those two quotes shall serve as the foundation upon which his administration shall be built as he embarks on a quest to give Filipinos the promise of genuine and meaningful change that catapulted him to the presidency.

Duterte, who campaigned under the slogan of “Tapang at Malasakit”, is more known for the former rather than the latter. Whether the decision to focus on bravery and toughness, rather than empathy and concern was by design or a result of his campaign strategists taking advantage of the conversations and media attention that was being generated by the combination of his reputation and his bombastic statements while on the campaign trail, toughness and an uncompromising stance against drugs and criminality won him the presidency.

Now that Rodrigo Duterte is the President of the Philippines, he and his communications team could rightly be starting to shift the focus to Duterte's malasakit, his soft and caring side. That concern for his people, rich and poor alike is theme of the two quotes by American presidents that he says will serve as the guiding principles of his administration.

President Duterte acknowledged in his speech that he needs the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve. If he wants the earn the support of the entire nation, not just the 16 million who cast their votes for him last month, he would do well to start showing Filipinos that he can be their President who is more than just a caricature of the tough-talking, foulmouthed mayor from Mindanao. The words and demeanor of his inaugural address showed us that he can be that man.

We hope that President Rodrigo Duterte's inaugural address that many pundits agree started on the right foot is indeed the start of the metamorphosis that was promised by Mayor Digong. Change begins in us and with us. If the 16 th President of the Philippines can change his words and demeanor, not only during his inauguration, but throughout his presidency, surely we can change our ways as well, especially if it is for the good of the country.*



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