“I do not care if I burn in hell for as long as the people I serve live in paradise.”
‘I AM NOT A MESSIAH,
I AM THE GARBAGE MAN’
This is basically what Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte believes is the meaning and essence of leadership.
In an interview with a group of young students from the University of the Philippines Cebu who flew to Davao City last year, Duterte was confronted with the question: “How do you define a leader and what kind of a leader are you?”
“A leader is not a messiah. He is the guy who does the work nobody else would like to do,” said Duterte, who bows before his audience and who has publicly declared that he does not want people to rise whenever he enters the room or delivers a speech.
“I consider myself a garbage man. I take care of the dregs of society. I make sure that my city is safe and clean and my people are comfortable,” he said.
According to Manny Piñol,Duterte’s successful style of leadership is the kind Filipinos sorely need right now.
“The Duterte leadership phenomenon could yet mark a period in the country’s political history when Filipinos, fed up with the corruption and criminality threatening society, go through a shift in their leadership preference, embracing an unconventional and controversial leader who has no record of corruption and who gets the job of protecting his people done,” he wrote.
In 2002, he hosted a boxing event which featured Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and he invited Muslim and communist rebels to watch the fight for free.
“Davao City is Zona Libre for everybody who comes in peace. But you are not allowed to carry firearms in the City unless you are a policeman or an army soldier. Even Nur Misuari at the height of his popularity and power acceded to this rule,” Duterte said.
His conciliatory and accommodating gesture towards the “enemies of the state” has generated criticisms that Duterte supports the New People’s Army and the Muslim rebels.
“There are enemies who should not be killed otherwise we will have nobody to talk to about the prospects of peace,” he once said following criticisms on his statement that Misuari, the MNLF leader who was accused of leading a deadly siege in Zamboanga City, must be consulted on the peace process in the Southern Philippines.
“You kill Misuari? Who do you talk to in the Western part of the Bangsamoro? The Abu Sayyaf?,” Duterte asked in response to the criticisms.
Duterte seems unperturbed by what people outside of his city would think about him.
Following a newspaper report which said that American officials are bothered by alleged extra-judicial killings involving drug lords in the City of Davao, Duterte retorted: “I am not the Mayor of New York. I am not answerable to the Americans. I am answerable to my people in Davao City.”