Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Mind of Rody Duterte


By Manny Pinol

Zamboanga City - In a strange turn of events, the country's sitting President, Benigno S. Aquino III, and the man who many Filipinos would like to be the next President, Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte, will be in this city today at almost the same time.

President Aquino's visit is widely believed to be related to the recent car bombing which killed two and wounded over 50 others. He is expected to show care and compassion to the victims.

Duterte, on the other hand, whose visit was planned about a month ago, is expected to give Zamboangenos hope for an end to the almost endless violence suffered by the city highlighted by the siege staged by rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) on Sept. 9, 2013.

Duterte will continue his advocacy on Federalism which proposes that the Moro upheaval would be addressed by establishing Federal States for the Bangsamoro of the main island of Mindanao, the Bangsamoro of the islands and another Federal State which covers the whole Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Davao City, who claims kinship by blood with the Bangsamoro, has maintained that while he supports the peace process and would like to see that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law passes Congress, the framers of the proposed law have failed to consider the cultural undercurrents between the Bangsamoro of the mainland Mindanao and the islands.

Duterte believes that the unrest among members of the MNLF now finds roots in their insistence that the Peace Agreement signed between the MNLF and the Philippine Government be honored and respected.

The Davao City Mayor believes that the Tausugs, Yakan, and other Moro tribes in the islands west of Mindanao do not like the idea of being under the governance and leadership of the those in the mainland.

"If there is anybody who wishes that this bloody problem would end soon, it is I because I am both Moro and Christian," Duterte said.

"I feel the fear of the Christians and share the dreams of the Moro people who feel that they have been dispossessed of their land and identity," the City Mayor said.

Duterte admits publicly for the first time that his maternal grandmother had a Moro lineage.

"There is a part of me which is Moro," he said.

Duterte's ties with the Muslims of the South were made even stronger because his eldest son, Paolo who is now Vice Mayor of the City, embraced Islam when he married a Muslim Tausug girl.

"I have grandchildren who are either Muslim or Christian. Would I want to see a situation in the future where even my own grandchildren would be dragged into this conflict?," he asked.

He, however, said that the solution must take into consideration cultural realities.

President Aquino, who pushes the BBL passage in Congress, is expected to meet with local leaders in Zamboanga City and may visit some of the wounded victims in the hospitals before flying back to Manila.

Duterte, on the other hand, will be at the Astoria Hotel for the Federalism Forum.

The President and the Davao City Mayor may not meet face to face while they are both in Zamboanga City.

Duterte will join former Zamboanga City Mayor and now Congressman Celso Lobregat for lunch today and former Congresswoman, now Mayor Beng Climaco, for dinner.

The Davao City Mayor is also expected to visit the wounded victims of the bombing in the different hospitals in Zamboanga City.

He will spend the night in Zamboanga City before flying to Pagadian City for the third leg of his Mindanao "Listening Tour."

Next weekend, Duterte will be in Cebu City and then Luzon and Palawan.

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