There’s no arguing Change (‘the act or instance of making or becoming different’) has come, especially in the campaign against illegal drugs. There were some misgivings at first on whether President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise would be coming soon, but just as the results of the 2016 polls started to show an overwhelming support for Duterte, things have dramatically changed.
Aside from the things that are happening in the the war against drugs, here is a list of the top 10 changes that have happened since Duterte won the Presidency.
1. He won the presidency by using his mass appeal and without banking on the traditional elite for campaign funds. There were offers to chip in money but the President preferred running on the popular bandwagon, the people who vote, to relying on predictable sources.
2. He earned the distinction as the first President to register over 16 million in support votes which, while considered a plurality, also reflected the sentiment of Mindanao to redirect development efforts to Southern Philippines.
3. Long before Duterte sat down to claim his presidential right, the strength of his pronouncement against illegal drugs swept the nation overnight. In the last week leading to his inauguration, thousands of drug users and pushes, mostly small time, surrendered to authorities.
4. Duterte is the first President to take oath at Kalayaan Hall in Malacañan Palace. (Ferdinand E. Marcos was sworn in at the same hall in 1986 but his win against rival Corazon C. Aquino was rejected by the electorate.)
5. The former Davao City mayor is the first President to skip his proclamation during a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives, which are imbued by law to proclaim winners for the country’s two top positions.
6. During the presidential oath-taking, for the first time a very simple meal was tendered as opposed to the lavish banquet that usually follows after the ceremonies. Highlighted in the menu were Filipino snack foods and juices.
7. For the first time in history, the Cabinet Secretaries and the heads of offices directly under the President took their oath en masse. This is in contrast to the traditionally very formal swearing-in exclusively done for the members of the official family.
8. Duterte is also the first Philippine president to miss out on his first flag ceremony at the Palace grounds. This is a throwback to his practice while still city mayor of Davao for over two decades. He was, however, represented by his Executive Secretary in the event.
9. He is the first President of the country who has had his marriage annulled. Quirino was a widower when he took office, while Diosdado Macapagal assumed the Presidency with his second wife in tow. Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno S. Aquino III, is single.
10. Duterte is the first President from Mindanao. True to his DU30 campaign, he won on May (numerically represented by No. 5) 9 (+9), 2016 (+16), or a total of 30!
Beyond this short list, though, there are still numerous “firsts” that exclusively belong to our resilient and at times highly explosive-talking President. The oddities that are attached to Duterte’s name define, in some way, the kind of change we expect from the new national leader.