DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was awarded the “Man of the Year” by The Manila Times here Friday for his ​”​integrity, conviction and nationalism.​”​

During the 5th Business Forum held at the Marco Polo Hotel, The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dante Ang described Duterte as a “brilliant political strategist.”

“Without money, organization, political party and big business behind him, he routed the candidates of the establishment whose campaigns were powered by guns, goons and gold, not to mention cheating poll machines,” he said.

Ang also described the first Mindanaoan president as a man who “speaks his mind out.”

“He is brash. He is politically incorrect. His private and public discourses are laden with his favorite word that begins with letter “P.” He has demonstrated the audacity to stand up to the superpowers in the name of an independent foreign policy that is pro-Philippines and friendly to all,” Ang said.

“Our Man of the Year is a man of integrity and conviction. Love him, hate him, he will do what he thinks is right and good for the Filipinos. His methods could be brutal at times but make no mistake about it, he has “pusong mamon,” a soft heart for the oppressed and the marginalized. He genuinely cares for the Filipino people and would offer his life in the service of the nation. Our Man of the Year is a true nationalist,” he added.

In his speech, Duterte reiterated his fight against illegal drugs, saying it must be stopped “for the sake of the Filipino people.

“I do not accept awards except this one,” Duterte said.

He said he was offered an award previously, but declined it adding, he “made it as a matter of personal and official policy not to accept award all these years.”

“You do not give me an award or reward for the things I have to do, because I am paid to do that exactly,” he said.

During the last presidential elections, Duterte garnered 16,601,997 votes in a record breaking voter turnout of 81 percent. (davaotoday.com)

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