DAVAO CITY – Even if they were far from Malacañan Palace, Davaoeños and visitors from other provinces in Mindanao made sure that they can watch the inaugural address of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In Bankerohan Public Market, venders and passersby watched in a big screen put up inside the Mallengke, in a portion of the public market that houses mostly “ukay-ukay” (used clothing) shops.
The crowd cheered as Duterte, the country’s 16th President, took his oath on Thursday, June 30. Duterte is this city’s mayor for 22 years before he won the presidential elections on May 9.
On the day of his inauguration, Duterte’s supporters, who came from as far as Soccsksargen and North Cotabato province to congratulate and support him filled Rizal Park here.
Farmers and indigenous people from across Mindanao watched the screens placed along San Pedro street to witness his inauguration.
Cristina Elle, 56, a farmer from Kibawe, Bukidnon, watched at a screen in front of Rizal Park. She said she could not explain what she felt when Duterte was declared as President.
“Wala ko kasabot sa akong gibati, pero nalipay ko kay siya na jud atong Presidente (I don’t know what to feel, but I’m happy that he is our President),” she said.
Elle was one of the farmers who joined the two-day peace gathering to support the resumption of peace talks at the Davao City Recreation Center on June 27 to June 28.
One of her wishes after Duterte was declared is that she wanted to see a new government that would really help the poor be lifted out of poverty.
Elle said she earns only P100 a day, an amount not enough to send her children to school, she said. All of her six children have their own family now.
She said she hopes Duterte will make education affordable to people, something she was not able to give to her children.
She also said she hopes those who were not able to finish school would be given opportunity to work.
One of her struggles, too, was that they had a hard time to look for money in paying hospital bills and buying medicines when one of her children got sick.
“Usahay mangutang na lang ko aron mapatambal ug maayo (I have to borrow money to take them to the hospital),” she said.
Jackielyn Acac, also watched Duterte’s inauguration in front of the Davao City Hall in San Pedro Street. She just came out from work, washing laundry for other people, when she passed by San Pedro Street where a crowd gathered.
But Acac cannot understand Duterte’s speech, which was mainly in English. She was not able to finish school.
“I didn’t understand all of it, but when he said real change in Visayan language, I know it was for us and for the development of the country,” Acac said in vernacular.
Duterte to prioritize health, education
But Elle and Acac found hope as Duterte pledged to prioritize health and education.
“Tana mao na jud ni ang pagbabago (I hope this is really the change),” Elle said.
During his first meeting with the members of the Cabinet, Duterte said that he hopes to use the income from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to fund the government’s health services.
Duterte also told residents of the Port Area in Tondo, Manila during a solidarity dinner organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Thursday night, that he will prioritize education.
He said he will make sure the government’s money will go to the people.
Acac said she trusts Duterte can make the changes he promised. The only thing she wanted to ask for Duterte is a permanent job.
“We don’t dream to be well-off. What is important is I can send my children to school and that we will not go hungry. (With reports from Jennica Diaz and Janika Mia Tiempo, Interns/davaotoday.com)