The present president is besieged by the woes and worries cultivated by his calloused predecessor. He must weed out the narcotics trade and their protectors, thieves in every level and branch of government, corruption, apathy and a degenerated sense of sovereignty. He cuts through every single one of these obstacles with a strong link to the past but with a clear view of tomorrow. These difficulties which beset him may be too much for one man to handle but he chooses to do it.
He is hardened by the pains of the past. He is worried by the horrors that lie ahead.
He is not afraid to speak his mind. He is tough, willful and headstrong. He may not be the type of statesman you would think of as president.
He is the president needed at present.
The present president is always there when you want him. He is never absent. He is never gallivanting on foreign shores peddling schemes nor sitting in soirees. His mind is on the task at hand, a gargantuan one at that.
He labors to restore a nation set in its course to self-destruction.
His work ethics are reflected in his record. He proves that in government service, attendance is a must.
As mayor of Davao, he is on site hours after any calamity strikes. Even beyond the borders of his city, he would answer any call for help. Natural disasters and national threats do not deter him.
As president of the Philippines, he is still on site hours or a day, at the most, after any catastrophe. Since taking office, there have been a steady stream of attacks against Filipinos which he has chosen to personally attend to one by one. Despite the volume and enormity of the onslaught, he is always there.
As the chief executive of the country, he has alter egos that address every facet of Filipino life. And being built and predisposed to true service to the public, his alter egos arrive mere moments where he is needed. There is even a department who sets up relief stations and supply centers even before people need them.
He is a president who is always present.
The present president gives you the feeling like it’s your birthday almost every day. You unwrap him daily to discover how he has decided to make your life a little better. It may be spectacular and exciting. Some days he gives you free health care because you need it. Some days he gives you free housing because you have been waiting for three years and five months for it. Some days he gives you free education because you deserve to know what you are worth. Some days he fights the global bully for you so no one will try to take you for granted.
On other days, you may not like what you see. You may think he has forgotten how someone has hurt you in the past when he forces you to make peace with them. You may question him; argue with him; even attack him. Do it. He likes hearing what you have to say so he knows how you feel. He can only give you what you need if you allow him to get to know you. But you can be assured that just like perfunctory medicine, exercise or even bitter gourd which you sometimes need to take, he has your best interest at heart.
He is a president who is a present.
People often talk of destiny when they see the climactic rise of a president. In terms of President Duterte, a man who quietly works away from the conspicuous pomp and pageantry of traditional political aggrandizement, all that matters is the future happiness and self-determination of the country. The helm of power he wields is concerned only with one thing – the country’s present course towards its destiny.
(This was originally published on Huffington Post on December 29, 2016)