No leader has emerged in the Philippine political landscape as colorful and controversial as President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte. No other Filipino politician has stirred emotional outbursts of opinion and sentiment among the populace.
And if we trace the paths trekked by his party in the terminal phase of his campaign trail for the presidency, we witness the overwhelming surge of his popularity in all corners of the archipelago. And this rose to superlative heights in the miting de abanse that manifested in tsunami of more than 3 million people in the Luneta in Manila and crowds of hundreds of thousands in Davao and other major cities.
What anting-anting has this provincial mold of a perso who hails from a far city in southern Mindanao that he fearlessly embarked on an adventure in a political arena alien to his parochial experience as a mayor? He is not even known to have possessed the oratorical skills of a Talyux Bacalso of Cebu, nor the poetically decked language of the late President Carlos Garcia! Nor good looks that can wow teen-age girls or the physical features that can “tickle to kilig” impressionable gays and women! But why have the awkward swing of his utterances—curse-laden as they are—captivated the heart of the people and mobilized them in their great numbers? True in the north as in the south?
Patriotism— nationalistic fervor—true love of the motherland. Such is the magic charm in his character. His messages, spoken in the language of the lumpen proletariat, reverberate with genuine concern for the forgotten and the neglected. He intimated his limitations and weaknesses in the idioms of the underprivileged. He does not hesitate to admit and claim his own mistakes. And he exhibits no qualms in cursing as emphatic outbursts of contempt and hate against what he considers are unacceptable, such as the drug trade, and terrorist acts of beheading and bombing of innocents.
Surprisingly the unorthodox manner by which President Digong came across to his audiences has been cheerily embraced by the great many, especially the have-nots in society. Lacking the refinements of the wealthy—the pretensions of high society elite and the rich politicians—he has earned the ire of the articulate handful of the “decent” among his political adversaries. Some elements of so called Yellow trolls and especially the oligarch-owned media, have insidiously and maliciously engaged him, often taking him out of context.
Of course we know how the “decent” and the “honorables”, most particularly the corrupt Trapo politicos, stink with their rotten propaganda wares. Their corruption has infected all levels of the government bureaucracy. In President Digong’s own words, “All trust in the government has been lost”.
We have arrived at the brink of total disaster of our society. And because President Digong, in laying out his mission to extricate society from irreversible destruction, has staked his life and honor and even his post, the people has wholeheartedly embraced his leadership. They have seen through the transparency of his sincerity the herald of Change. They have foreseen the sure fruits of his brand of patriotism.
But patriotism is not a strange word to politicians. Each and every politico has profusely verbalized his claim to patriotism. Not a single candidate for president, vice-president, senator, congressman, governor, or mayor would say he does not love his country. If there is a much abused word in the politician’s vocabulary, it is this word “patriotism”.. Yes, this word has been so much abused it has lost its real import.
The lips that in any occasion so readily mumble its syllables like a prayer are in fact in love with another thing—love for self-aggrandizement—love for privileges—love for the luxury of perks that accompany the positions of power. In plain language, Corruption!
That is the reason why President Digong has not stopped cursing and cussing and swearing. And this is understood by the masses to the marrow of their bones, because they too have had their own sessions of cursing and cussing and swearing in all the seasons of their lives for the misfortunes and miseries they have endured. And daily they curse against the “spoilers” and “saboteurs” of the endeavors for Change spearheaded by Digong, including the foreigners who interfere in the domestic affairs of the nation.
The people have peeped through the disparity between the patriotism of Digong and the patriotism of the other politicians. The patriotism of the past presidents has been to cater to the whims and caprices of the Americans.
This is patriotism of puppetry. The interests of foreigners are given high premium at the expense of the wellbeing and welfare of the Filipino people. This brand of patriotism, apart from being a shamefaced falsehood and a mere lip-service, has brought about impoverishment and injustice, engendered exploitation and oppression, and unspeakable abuses of the human rights of the people. This is the patriotism of millionaires and the blessed oligarchs, of the propertied and the well-to-do, of the foreign imperialists and plunderers.
Only President Digong of all Filipino presidents and leaders has taken the admirable stance against the oligarchs. Only he has realized the real cause of the misery of the Filipino. He has grasped the meaning of PATRIOTISM not as an abstract word but as a concept of LOVE AND CONCERN FOR THE PEOPLE AND COUNTRY. A word infinitely inseparable from the plight of the people—something possessed of flesh and blood, of a living, material and concrete existence. Not empty or hollow and floating in thin air.
And since it has been proven from the course of history that the Filipino nation has never been uplifted, much less extricated, from the mire of poverty, but instead has sunk deeper into misery owing to the stranglehold of our economy and politics by a foreign power, it goes without saying that genuine PATRIOTISM should take to terms and contend with the question of PUPPETRY of the past presidents to America.
The condition of underdevelopment is clearly a consequence of such puppetry of past Presidents from Manuel A Roxas to Noynoy Aquino. Because of this, no real independence and sovereignty has been enjoyed by the Philippines. This evident brand of patriotism has bestowed a praiseworthy significance to President Digong’s pronouncement that assumes the stand of charting an “Independent Foreign Policy”.
And such declaratory statement has gained added meaning when he asserts a right to review and study the implications of the EDCA or Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, after having discovered that the document does not even bear the signature of then President Noynoy. It elicited surprise because such lack of signature is already rendered the force of law, seeing that “Balikatan Exercises” or joint military exercises have already been an ongoing reality in our territories. Clearly, Digong has seen an anomalous situation wherein foreign troops are allowed to tramp on our sacred territories and still hold on to the illusion that we are a sovereign nation. It’s a scandalous defilement of our dignity and sovereignty! The US Military Bases have long been removed from our soil by the act of the “Magnificent 12” of our Senators in 1992, and now they are being put back by Noynoy?
The issue on sovereignty and independence can never be isolated from the issue on the Foreign Military Bases. This is a fundamental question upon which Patriotism can take a genuine and meaningful standpoint. And this standpoint cannot but be anti-imperialist.
The country is now blest to have a President Duterte who has taken a principled anti-imperialist stance as opposed to that of all past presidents.
It so happens that this anti-imperialist standpoint has long been bannered by the CPP-NPA-NDFP with whom the Government is now undertaking a “Peace Talks”.
This is certainly a historic event! Two parties that adopt parallel anti-imperialist positions are negotiating for a just and lasting peace not only for Mindanao but for the entire country! This warrants a solid, unified and wholehearted support of the entire Filipino nation. Nothing less!