OPINION: The President wears a Philippine flag

Ellen Tordesillas

Posted at Jul 01 2016 12:58 AM | Updated as of Jul 01 2016 10:59 AM

When outgoing President Benigno Aquino III and incoming President Rodrigo Duterte met yesterday for the traditional turnover of the reins of the government, the big difference between the two was very much noticeable by the small item they each wore on their left chest.

Aquino was wearing his yellow ribbon pin, which to many, symbolized the exclusivity of his administration to friends, relatives and like-minded others. Duterte, on the other hand, was wearing a Philippine flag which was seen as a symbol of what he said in his speech: “I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I was not elected to serve the interests of any one person or any group or any one class. I serve every one and not only one.”

There was a tense moment towards the end of Duterte’s 14-minute inaugural speech, when after saying “Why am I here?” he said, “ Hindi kasali ito diyan. (This is not included there).

There was laughter, then a 13-second pause.

The thought that raced in my mind during that brief pause was, "Oh no, is he going to curse, just like what he did during the campaign when he jolted members of the Makati Business Club after he set aside his prepared speech and dropped his first of the several putang-inas five minutes into his speech?"

Thankfully, that did not happen. Duterte resumed his speech: “The past tense was, I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation. Thank you and good afternoon.”

Relief. Approval. Excitement. The applause said it all.

ABS-CBN’s Adrian Ayalin, reporting from Davao City, posted in Twitter: “Duterte supporter Lydia Rufino says the speech without cursing was an answered prayer for her.”

Are we now seeing The Metamorphosis--of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly?

As we were watching him received one-by-one members of the diplomatic corps, we paid special attention to his meeting with Mexico's Julio Camarena Villaseñor, Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, and United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

It will be recalled that during the campaign, the three had separate not-so-pleasant experiences with then-candidate Duterte. Villaseñor was in a tourism forum when Duterte, the guest speaker, unaware of the envoy’s presence, cited Mexico as a country where you do not visit because of the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Gorely expressed disapproval on Duterte’s statements on a rape case involving an Australian--that he regretted he was not the first one to rape the lady Australian missionary who was violated and killed by prisoners in a Davao hostage incident.

Goldberg earned the ire of Duterte when he issued a statement supporting Gorely.

From what we saw on TV, Duterte’s meeting with each of the three was cordial. Duterte talked briefly with each one and from their facial expressions, it looked like a pleasant encounter.

Vice President Leni Robredo’s separate inauguration was also good.

Now for the hard part of governance.

Thank you, Manolo

One of the good things about the Aquino administration is the Official Gazette (OG), which is more than just an outlet of Malacanang press releases. For that, one goes to www.pcoo.gov.ph.

Manolo Quezon, undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office in the Aquino administration, who was really the brains behind the OG said, the site is more about the preservation and promotion of the institutional memory of the Presidency itself.

He is turning over the OG material to the Duterte administration. He invites everyone to visit:





He said:” We've uploaded much of this aspect of our work on archive.org, for free and open use.

“The URLs above offer collections that include original and found content, as well as the most comprehensive online deposit of Philippine presidential documents, which mirrors the online archive we've published in the Official Gazette website (www.gov.ph), and in malacanang.gov.ph.

“We leave this with you as a permanent online collection covering 2010-2016.

“We leave the Official Gazette's web page and social media accounts with the incoming team of the President-elect with the hope that they in turn will build upon what has been started.”

Thank you very much, Manolo.


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