CEBU - (UPDATE) President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday celebrated his victory with supporters in this southern province that delivered over one million votes for him in the last election, as he prepared to assume office on June 30.
The 71-year-old outsider in national politics has vowed to wage a tough anti-crime campaign and spread wealth and power to the provinces. Cebu is the commercial hub of the central Visayas islands.
"I really wanted to come to Cebu to thank you personally because I got many votes here," Duterte told the crowd in Cebuano.
"I will work towards federalism. I'm okay if I beat corruption and drugs," he said.
At least 2,500 supporters, according to police, braved late afternoon rains to hear Duterte speak in the "One Love, One Nation" event at Sugbo South Coastal Properties, which also featured musical performances.
It was his second visit to this province since winning the May elections. He attended a private thanksgiving earlier this month, just days after he graced a rally of some 500,000 supporters in Davao City, where he served as mayor for two decades.
Duterte stressed the gravity of the country's drug problem on Saturday. He said "shabu" was being prepared right inside Bilibid, the country's main prison.
"Even a small packet of shabu can create a monstrous problem. It's a good thing that I'm mayor. Look at Davao," he said.
The southern metropolis of Davao, a patch of calm and business activity in the conflict-town south has become a showcase of Duterte's tough leadership.
While he served as mayor of Davao, the Leyte-born Duterte lived in Cebu before the family moved to Mindanao when he was five years old.
Duterte dominated the presidential race in Cebu province with over one million votes, powered by an endorsement from the ONE Cebu coalition. He is also related to the province's Durano political clan.