Duterte youth supporters will also be his 'critics'
MANILA, Philippines – Despite a low-key inaguration, groups of people trooped to Malacañang Palace on Thursday, June 30 to get a glimpse of the country's new president.
Youth activists from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), calling themselves Duterte Youth for Change waited by the side of the road, holding a banner and chanting "Duterte" loudly.
The president's convoy, however, passed by a few minutes before they arrived. But, they said, it didn't matter. For them, simply being able to show their all-out support for the new president was all that mattered. (READ: President Rodrigo Duterte's inaugural speech)
“Majority namin ay students from PUP. Isa kami sa mga nag initiative na mag buo ng Duterte Youth for Change. Sa objective namin, syempre ay gusto naming maipakita ang suporta namin kay President Duterte, hindi lang sa panahon ng eleksyon kundi mula sa kasalukuyan ne elected na siya,” said Duterte Youth for Change president Alexi Tiotangco.
(Majority of us are students from PUP. We made the initiative to start Duterte Youth for Change. Our objective is to show our support to President Duterte, especially now that he’s already elected)
Tiotangco, who served as PUP Student Regent from 2013 to 2014, believes in the agenda of President Duterte to fight corruption, eradicate illegal drugs, build peace, and ensure food security.
Watchdogs and critics
Tiotangco, however, was also quick to say that their group is not only there to support the new president, they will also be the watchdogs and critics.
“Kung ano ang kanyang mga hinaing programa, andiyan kami para suportahan o maging kritiko nito," Tiotangco said.
(We are here to support. But we will not just agree to everything but we will also be critics. We are here to support and critique his programs)
The 21-year-old Sociology major said that the people should understand that President Duterte is also human and sometimes makes mistakes.
As for blind followers, this is what Tiotangco has to say: “Tingin ko kasi kung bakit naging blind followers sila, sa matagal na panahon, nasanay tayo sa mga tiwali. So dahil nakita nila si Duterte, natuwa sila at nakakita ng pag-asa."
(I think they became blind followers because for the longest time, we got used to corrupt officials. So when they saw Duterte, they saw hope.)
Tiotangco believes that the youth sector needs an iron fist to wipe out corruption in the government. She added that Duterte "has the ability and eagerness to remove all the wrongs in the system."
“Halimbawa nalang ay yong korapsyon na nararanasan namin sa aming pamantasan. Hindi lang naman sa amin kung hindi sa iba pang pamantasan," she added.
(An example is the corruption which we experience in our university. Not only us but what other universities experience as well.)
Duterte Youth for Change expects a lot from this administration but says they will let the new president adjust to his post.
“Gusto naming ipakita ‘yong dedikasyon namin kay Presidente Duterte dahil naniniwala kami na may pag-asa. May pag-asa ‘yong lipunan, may pag-asa particular sa sektor ng kabataan,” she added.
(We want to show our dedication to President Duterte because we believe that there is hope. There is hope for the society, there is hope particularly for the youth.) – Rappler.com
A journalism student at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, Danielle Nakpil is a Rappler intern. She also works as a stringer for Rappler Sports