Duterte sings, makes shortest speech in final ’thank you’ to supporters

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 27 2022 01:08 AM

MANILA - Four days before stepping down from office, President Rodrigo Duterte again went off-script as he faced supporters in a thanksgiving concert in Manila on Sunday evening.

Duterte gave remarks lasting less than half a minute, the briefest for the chief executive known for forgoing prepared speeches, conducting hours-long sessions, and making off-the-cuff—at times vulgar—tirades.

“Maiksi lang ito. Sa sambayanang Pilipino, maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo,” Duterte said in front of thousands gathered at the Quirino Grandstand for the event dubbed “Salamat, PRRD” after the president’s initials.

(This will be short. To the Filipino people, many, many thanks to you all.)

He then took a bow before returning to his seat beside partner Honeylet Avanceña.

Later, before the end of the program, Duterte walked to the center of the stage to sing with Martin Nievera the president’s favorite song “Ikaw”, to music by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

A fireworks display over the MacArthur Park facing the grandstand, which was intended for the event’s climax, accompanied the president’s rendition.

This was not Duterte’s first song at the concert. Earlier, he also took the mic, joining a group of doctors and medical front-liners who sang “Fill the World with Love” by Petula Clark.

The thanksgiving concert, organized by supporters of the president, also became a chance for Duterte to thank those who have been behind him since his run for office in 2016, said director Njel De Mesa.

“Gusto lang namin magdiwang ba, na inabot natin ang anim na taon. Dumaan tayo ng bagyo, kalamidad, pagsabog ng bulkan, pandemya, pagtaas at pagbaba ng iba-ibang klaseng presyo at siyempre, ‘yong ating pinagdaanan, hindi pangkaraniwan. Sa hirap at ginhawa, magkakasama tayong mga Pilipino,” De Mesa said.

(We just wanted to celebrate that we reached 6 years. We went through storms, calamities, volcanic eruptions, the pandemic, the rise and fall of prices. Of course, what we went through was not ordinary. In hardship and prosperity, Filipinos are together.)

Duterte was onstage for the over-3-hour program, listening to performances by various artists.

Seated with him onstage were his special assistant-turned-senator Bong Go; Sen. Imee Marcos, brother of Duterte’s successor Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. ; and Senator-elect Robin Padilla, whose wife Mariel was co-emceeing the event.

Padilla and fellow action star Cesar Montano sang “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” with comedian Moymoy Palaboy.

Cabinet officials such as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III were also with the president.

‘THANK YOU’ FROM ARTISTS

Among the performers at the “Salamat, PRRD” event were pioneer Original Pilipino Music (OPM) singer-songwriters Freddie Aguilar and Florante.

Aguilar sang his global hit song “Anak,” as well as “Duterte Para Sa Tunay na Pagbabago”, an adaptation of his earlier song “Ibaglalaban Ko” which he rewrote for Duterte’s 2016 campaign.

The latter song became the musical accompaniment for Duterte’s entrances to events and his speeches, including the State of the Nation Address.

Florante, according to organizers was flown in from abroad at the request of the president.

He sang his compositions “Ako’y Pinoy,” “Handog”, and “Sana”, where he was joined by other performers at the event.

Singers Martin Nievera, Jed Madela, and Dulce also gave renditions of songs like “What a Wonderful World,” “You Raise Me Up”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and “Ako ang Nagwagi”.

Some performers were key artist endorsers of Duterte back in the 2016 campaign, such as Ice Seguerra, Jimmy Bondoc, and the Mocha Girls.

Mocha Uson, an online influencer who along with Bondoc had been appointed to government positions during the administration, also thanked the president.

“Mababa ang tingin ng ibang tao sa akin, pero ang pinakamakapangyarihang tao sa ating bansa, mataas ang tingin sa isang babaeng katulad ko,” Uson said.

Other artists like Andrew E., Robert Seña, and Isay Alvarez were campaign supporters of Duterte’s daughter, vice-president-elect Sara Duterte.

Aside from the fireworks display at the end, the event also featured a drone show that exhibited the words “Salamat, PRRD, long live” as well as renderings of the president’s image, fist symbol, and the Philippine flag.

For many supporters who came to the event and endured rains just before the president arrived, his short speech came as a surprise, as shown by their chanting “Duterte” afterward.

“Kung tutuusin lang naman sana, kung ako lang ang masusunod, dapat Duterte pa rin tayo e,” said jeepney barker Edwin Rivera, who came with his wife to the event.

(After all, if I would have a say, we should still keep Duterte in office.)

But like his very brief remarks, the president has said he will make the curtain call come June 30.