The 2016 Elections and campaign has definitely brought out the best and worst in us. It has shown us our monsters and demons and it has forced us to look deep within ourselves. It has been quite a journey for me as a member of #TeamDuterte.
Late last year, questions started to pour. Everywhere I went, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, people would ask me if Duterte would be running for President. And all I could say was “I really don’t know.” Fact is I really didn’t know back then. Come the deadline of Filing for the Certificate of Candidacy, Duterte did not file a Certificate for Candidacy. A lot of people were disappointed. I wasn’t. I was relieved. People kept the faith. May pag-asa pa raw. Ako naman umaasa na “‘Wag na lang, please.” My biggest problem back then was, “sino na ngayon ang susuportahan ko?”
And then it happened. Duterte filed his Certificate for Candidacy as substitute to Mr Martin Diño. ARGH! I said to myself. What an exciting time but it also gave me much anxiety. And sometime December 2015, I was invited to a meeting. I thought it was just a meet and greet but it turned out to be an invitation to join the Team Duterte Media Central fulltime. I was hesitant but I dove right in and said yes. I thought “it would be an amazing once in a lifetime experience.”
And boy did I get more than what I bargained for. Much, much more.
Rodrigo R. Duterte is not an easy candidate to campaign for and support. To be honest, I had doubts and hesitations but I accepted the call to volunteer because of my Daddy who has retired from politics but remains 100% committed to support Mayor Duterte with whom he work with as VM for four terms. I also accepted because of Sir Peter Laviña and Mayor Jun Evasco. I have known Mayor Jun for many years and I know him as a honest and sincere public servant who never sought glory, fame, or power. And I knew Sir Peter back when he was a councilor blogger. He was, as far as I know, the first politician blogger in the Philippines and one of the first in the world, and he used his blog to make the government closer to its citizens. If Sir Jun and Sir Pete wholeheartedly supported Duterte, then I should, too.
So yes, I was a hesitant campaigner. I resolved to keep my wall posts to a minimum. And if possible, I would never post anything negative and inflammatory. And I told myself to always keep the Bloggers for Duterte in check. Kalma lang tayo. That was something I always told them.
Early on, I wanted to quit. It was just too much. It was beyond my comprehension how our candidate would refuse to temper his statements, how he would seldom heed our calls for tact, and how he would just speak his mind without regard for the on going campaign. Nakakapikon. Galisod mi convince sa mga tao unya siya wala siya pakialam. (Insert many, many curses here.) I was pissed off. I was angry. I was frustrated. And his statement about burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani was the last straw for me. TOO MUCH! Di na makaya. I gave myself a deadline. I was going to quit by the end of February 2016. During a meeting of bloggers and Media Central members, the bloggers were asked one by one if they had any doubts. And they all answered no. They were all 100% all in. Duterte Cayetano all the way. Nahiya ako. I told them I was scheduled to quit but that I was now having doubts because di ko sila kayang iwan sa ere. They gave me another reason to hold on and keep moving.
And it has been very rewarding. More and more people expressed their support for Duterte. Survey results kept getting better. Best of all, people were starting to get angry. They started to see everything wrong about the government and they started to ask and demand for more. Dumami ang Pilipino na humihingi at kumampanya para sa TUNAY NA PAGBABAGO. Lami pud sa feeling na somehow I was part of that. I could not claim to have a big role in the campaign because no matter how stressed and no matter how little sleep and rest I got, there were hundreds more volunteers working even harder. Without pay and without the promise of favor, mind you.
But it was also taxing. Kapoy gyud kaayo. The black propaganda, mud, and dirt did not hurt as a campaigner, but I was offended as a Davaoeño, as a Filipino, as a human being. How dare they?! PAANO NILA NAIISIP NA GAWIN YAN? SAAN NILA NAKUKUHA ANG MGA KWENTONG YAN? BAKIT GANYAN SILA MAG-ISIP?
A lot of Davaoeños like me didn’t want Duterte to run for President. We anticipated it would be stressful for him. We foresaw how much mud would be thrown at him. But never in our wildest imagination did we anticipate that our beloved Davao City, our home would be so blatantly attacked with lies, unfounded accusations, and fabricated stories. Nakakasakit ng damdamin. Davao City is the home that nurtured and raised us. It is our safe haven. How dare you destroy our home with your lies? How dare you accuse our Mayor of wrongdoings of which you do not have proof of? Inutil ba kayo? Higit na dalawampung taon na nagsilbi si Duterte as a public servant of Davao City. Kung totoong kurakot siya, kung totoong mamamatay tao siya, kung totoong abusado at masamang tao siya, kayo na nasa national position, bakit wala kayong nagawa para kasuhan siya at para matanggal siya? BAKIT? Kung may agam-agam kayo sa pagkatao niya at sa pamamalakad niya, bakit ngayon lang? HOW DARE YOU INSULT OUR HOME AND OUR LEADER?! Hindi lang siya ang iniinsulto niyo dito kung di bawat Davaoeño na pinagsilbihan at inaruga niya.