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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mongaya: Duterte’s mass base

ORDINARY citizens support President Rody Duterte despite the flak he is getting from various quarters. They will be administration’s defenders, among others, against possible moves to unseat him.

This was one of the points Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco stressed during a press conference at the new office of Kilusang Pababago Visayas-Cebu last Saturday.

It seems, regime change scenarios because of negative reaction to the president’s talk on human rights, anti-US and anti-UN tirades partly pushed the formation of Kilusang Pagbabago.

In the war against drugs, for instance, Evasco said various sectors here and abroad are raising the issue of human rights and extra-judicial killings. However, ordinary folk are rooting for the law enforcers to win.

Thus, organizers said over 10,000 community leaders and volunteers filled the Cebu Coliseum, which has a capacity of only 5,000, to take their Kilusang Pagbabago oath of commitment.

As expected, the crowd cheered wildly when two groups of singing policemen belted songs about “Tokhang” and how drug suspects fall when they shoot it out with the police.

The other week, the two groups of singing cops entertained cheering journalists during the general assembly of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ). “Natokhang,” one CFBJ official joked.

In last Saturday’s activity, the noise level at the Cebu Coliseum would rise several decibels as the songs allude to killing criminals and pushers.

Of course, the Kilusang Pagbabago will be the vehicle to consolidate this Duterte mass base nationwide. In effect, the movement will be President Duterte’s partner for change.

While the movement will have politician-friends, like Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, I understand it will have its own dynamism and move independent of LGUs.

The mayor came for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Kilusang Pagbabago office. The movement leaders likewise paid a courtesy visit on Gov. Junjun Davide last week.

For Evasco, the government-mass movement dynamics will be the essence of participatory governance. The secretary is pushing for the creation of this office under the office of the president.

Evasco said the Kilusan will practice participatory budgeting as they will soon access a fund tentatively called “Biyaya ng Pagbabago” or blessing of change.

In support, Liza Maza of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said the Kilusang Pagbabago will join a national anti-poverty summit to participate in planning the Duterte administration’s war against poverty.

***

Mayor Osmeña’s expression of support for the Kilusang Pagbabago and participation of what used to be the “Let’s DO It” movement speaks a lot about the immediate future of Cebu City politics.

To recall, most of the mayor’s political enemies in the city sought alignment with the Duterte administration’s PDP-Laban through the intercession of OPAV Mike Dino. I understand only anti-communist Councilor Jun Alcover has persevered in his anti-Duterte position.

Perhaps after the Kilusang Pagbabago show of force, city politicians would want to follow the example of independent Councilor Hans Abella who arranged the use of the Cebu Coliseum for free and received loud cheers from the pro-Duterte crowd.

After all, political alignment especially at the Cebu City Council would speed up solutions to lingering problems like traffic congestion and the Inayawan dumpsite.

***

Former mayor Mike Rama has yet to clear his name of the drug protector tag. Unlike businessman Peter Lim and others in Duterte’s list, Rama failed to gain an audience with the President or even PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

Perhaps, somebody should advice Rama that it would do him no good reminding Cebuanos about his predicament. Mas maayong mohilom ug unya na motingog kon moingon si Digong nga wa diay siyay labot.

(@anol_cebu in Twitter)
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