PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated he will not extend his presidency as he maintained that he is not a dictator.
“I’m on the dot. On the last day of my term, or earlier than that I’ll step down,” Duterte said in his speech during an event at the Laguindingan Airport here on Friday evening.
Duterte was in this town to grace the Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific launching of Cagayan de Oro as its seventh domestic hub in the country.
He said he served as the mayor of Davao City for several terms. “There was never an instance on any of my term that I exceeded one day or 24 hours in my office. Days before I am no longer there. I already installed the vice mayor. ‘You run the city. I am on my way out.’”
He also clarified that he has no plans to stay in power as a dictator saying it is not in his nature to be one.
“I mean, I will serve during my time. If you say that I desire [to be a dictator], you must be crazy,” Duterte added.
The President also took stabs at the “yellow” or the Liberal Party (LP) whose members, he said, has been sowing intrigues against him.
Duterte and many of his communications officials have been repeatedly saying that the LP are out to destroy his credibility as part of their destabilization plot against his administration.
“But these are just people who cannot accept defeat. They have spread intrigues against me, in the military. I told them [military], you can oust me now if you want but I will never do that,” he said.
Taking a break from his usual tirades, Duterte took the time out to heap praises on the Gokongweis for its contribution to the air travel industry.
“Despite the current situation in Marawi City, Cebu Pacific has seen the promise of what Mindanao can become in the coming years. It is my hope that its officials and employees will become our partners in effecting meaningful and lasting changes in society,” he said in his speech.
Duterte has also enjoined the country’s entrepreneurs “to make the Philippines a progressive community filled with opportunities for the next generation. Together, let us realize our vision of a safer and comfortable life.”
During the event, Cebu Pacific has formally declared Cagayan de Oro as its seventh domestic hub as it launched two new routes that link Northern Mindanao to Caticlan (Boracay) and Dumaguete City.
“What was originally the 4th destination launched back in 1996, is now a hub. It follows the path of Manila, Cebu and Iloilo, also hubs,” said Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer, in his statement.
“Today is a testament to our long-standing commitment to contribute to nation-building, and make air travel more accessible to Filipinos. We look forward to the effect our low fares and direct flights will have on Northern Mindanao,” Gokongwei added.
The Laguindingan Airport is the most important air-travel facility in the region. It is located in Misamis Oriental, which is considered as the gateway to Northern Mindanao.
The airport complex currently has 7,200 square-meter passenger terminal and a 2,100-meter runway, capable of four takeoffs and landings per hour. Since it opened in 2013, the airport has become the sixth busiest in the country, serving over 1.7 million passengers per year.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 22, 2017.