By Manny PiÃ±ol
Survey numbers are starting to show that public support for Presidential prospect and Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte is steadily increasing and it is expected that by September this year, he could well be the top choice for the Presidency in 2016.
Political analysts believe that the sudden surge in Duterte's political stock is a result of his consistency and clarity in delivering his messages since the day he agreed to undertake a nation-wide "Listening Tour" to promote Federalism.
"Discipline," "Tough Anti-Drugs and Anti-Crime Campaign," "Clean and Decent Governance," "Available and Affordable Food," "Protection of the poorest of the Poor" are some of the messages which he has kept repeating in all of his engagements.
To the untrained ears, the constant repitition of the messages may sound boring and irritating at times but this strategy in political communications is proving to be very effective in defining the Duterte Leadership style.
While Vice President Jejomar Binay moves around the country telling Filipinos that they could live life the way the people of Makati do, Senator Grace Poe talks about the problems of the MRT and the legacy of her father, the late presidential contender Fernando Poe, Jr., and Mar Roxas stresses the expansion of the "Daang Matuwid," Duterte has been pounding on issues which are constant.
These are messages which almost every Filipino feels and understands.
Unlike Binay's "Ganito Kami sa Makati," Poe's MRT and Roxas' "Daang Matuwid," Duterte's anger at criminals, drug dealers and the corrupt in government is felt by the ordinary Filipino.
Here are the other thoughts of Rody Duterte which he has shared in the many engagements all over the country:On Leadership:
"A leader is not a messiah. He should be a garbage man. He cleans and clears the path towards a better future for the next generation. He does the work nobody else would like to do."On Governance:
"I don't have the brilliance of (Ferdinand) Marcos, the smartness of (Fidel V.) Ramos or the eloquence of Miriam (Defensor-Santiago). All that I can offer the Filipino people is a good heart and common sense. Governance after all is just pure common sense."On Federalism:
"While there is no perfect system of government, the Unitary form that we have now has not worked well for us given the fact that we are an ethnically diverse country living in over 7,000 islands. The Unitary form of government has centralized power in Metro Manila. It has also centralized corruption and prevented the growth of the regions who are left with very little share of the national wealth. Federalism could also prove to be a more viable option to address the restive Bangsamoro in the Southern Philippines who are seeking self-governance."On Corruption:
"Corruption has crept into every fabric of Philippine society, not just in government but also in the private and religious sector. Drastic measures must be done. Laws must be amended to make it easier to prosecute the corrupt. Death Penalty must be considered for plunder while at the same time Values Education must be made mandatory in both private and public schools in the country."On crime and drugs:
"I have no tolerance for criminals and the drug lords. They destroy our children. I believe that those who harm our children do not deserve to be part of society."On the country's unsung heroes:
"Policemen, Soldiers and Teachers are our front-liners in the mission to build a better nation. More so with policemen and soldiers because they cannot say "No" to orders given to them even these could mean their death. Government must give them special care."On the Bangsamoro Issue:
"If there is anybody who would like to see the Bangsamoro issue resolved, it is I because while I am a Catholic by faith, there is a part of me which is Moro and I have grandchildren who have embraced Islam. But the Bangsamoro solution should take into consideration cultural realities. If the Bangsamoro Basic Law would fail to pass because of recent developments, we must continue the search for peace. We must never give up on peace."On the Communist insurgency:
"I have the highest respect and admiration for real revolutionaries. They lead difficult lives just to pursue a cause and fight for what they believe in. They should be given an opportunity to serve the people and join government, provided that they give up their weapons and renounce violence as a way to achieve change."On the Flawed Penal System:
"Drug lords and hardened criminals who enjoy life inside the New Bilibid Prison instead of being penalized for their crimes make a mockery of our justice system. This proves that in this country if you are rich, you can avoid punishment. The Penal System must be overhauled. If I have my way, I will look for an isolated island which is whipped by typhoons every year or a dilapidated ship which could be left afloat in the middle of the ocean. I would keep these drug lords and hardened criminals there. I would give them enough supply of rice and provide them with hooks and lines so that they could catch fish for their viand. That's what they deserve."On the Sabah Issue:
"The Philippine government must not abandon the Sultanate of Sulu's search for justice. Government must find ways to resolve this issue without necessarily straining our relationship with our neighbor Malaysia."On the row with China:
"There must be ways to resolve the problem with China vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea issue. If I were the President, I would be willing to talk to China on this problem without so much of the ceremonies and the protocols. While we must never surrender our sovereignty on the West Philippine Sea islands, we must face the reality that a non-confrontational approach would be the best option. There is a bit of Chinese blood in almost all of us Filipinos and I believe the Chinese are a reasonable people."On Education:
"Education is the best gift we can give our children. Quality education must be guaranteed and we the leaders of today must ensure that the youth are protected from the evils which will destroy them, especially drugs."On the Environment and Climate Change:
"Today's generation must realize that there will be other generations after us. We must protect the environment for them and we must not be consumed by our greed forgetting that we are just temporary custodians of Mother Earth's wealth and resources."On Agriculture:
"Agriculture must be given priority by the national government. Farmers must be given technical and financial support to be more productive. There is no need to import garlic, onions, chicken or pork. Irrigation services must be made available to rice farmers and marketing assistance must be provided by government. A leader must ensure Available and Affordable Food for the Filipinos."
Time and again, Duterte says these lines over and over again.
It may sound boring to some but consistently pounding on these messages have helped define Duterte's quality as a leader.
With Duterte, there are no "Ifs" and "Buts."
The message is clear and defined as black and white: The Philippines will be better under Duterte.