TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, local name Yolanda, destroyed much of Central Philippines. Now, Tacloban City is getting back on its feet, ready to vote for the country’s next leader.
Will the Duterte-Cayetano tandem push the right buttons in a place that has seen the worst of government ineptitude?
Pia Ranada reports:
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: Almost 3 years after super typhoon Yolanda, Rodrigo Duterte is back in Tacloban City.
He was among the first local government officials to come to the city’s aid. Now he needs the city’s help: to get him elected as President of the Philippines.
He recalls flying in with P7 million in assistance and the Davao City emergency response team a few days after Yolanda.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was riding the chopper at the time, day two, it was really in a mess, sabi ko i cried twice. Just walking among, navigating among the dead, when I saw that little boy, alone, yung ibang mga pamilya, hindi ko mapigilian sarili ko sabi ko I cried twice.
(I was riding the chopper at the time, day 2, it was really in a mess. I said I cried twice. Just walking aong, navigating among the dead, when I saw that little boy, other families, I could not stop myself, I cried twice.)
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: Duterte is mobbed in Palo, also a Yolanda-stricken town beside Tacloban. He says a prayer for the storm’s victims in Palo cathedral.
In Tacloban City, a massive crowd listens to him and running mate Alan Peter Cayetano. He hits presidential bet Mar Roxas for mishandling Yolanda relief operations.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ayaw ko nang magpahero ah. I will not talk about my role here and how pathetic Roxas was He cannot handle a crisis. Ang sinasabi ko sa inyo totoo, he cannot handle a crisis.
(I don’t want to make myself a hero…What I am telling you is true, he cannot handle a crisis.)
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: In the heart of a region racked by poverty, he presents his version of the popular conditional cash transfer program.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You need to fight poverty. To fight poverty is to marginalize poverty, liitan mo, then you create jobs. Pero masiguro ninyo yng taxes ninyo ibabalik ko lahat. Yang 4Ps ninyo I will maintain that and to add I will give one sack of rice.
(To fight poverty is to marginalize poverty, lessen it, then you create jobs. Will make sure that I will return your taxes. I will maintain your 4Ps and I will give one sack of rice.)
Many in the crowd show Duterte some love, but he isn’t able to convince all of them.
TACLOBAN CITY RESIDENTS: Ah mamili pa ako. (Sino yung top choice niyo?) Ako dalawa, Binay at Poe. (Kayo po?) Medyo kay Poe ako eh. Ako Binay, siya Poe. Binay ako. Hindi naman nadisqualify. Kung disqualified si Poe, Duterte ako. (JUMP CUT) (Bakit ayaw niyo na kay Duterte?) Parang ano eh, parang tingin ko, babalik yung dating Marcos.
(I’m still in the process of choosing. (Who is your top choice?) Me, Binay and Poe. (How about you?) I am kind of for Poe. Me, Binay, him, Poe. I’m for Binay. Poe wasn’t disqualified. If she was, I’d be for Duterte. (Why don’t you like Duterte?) In my view, it’s like he might bring back the Marcos years.)
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: Earlier that day, Cayetano dialogues with Yolanda survivors in temporary shelters. One of the survivors says Duterte and Cayetano have his vote.
RICHARD TOLIBAS: Mas maganda kako kwan si Duterte kasi marami yung mga sinabi niya na siguro yung tao, baka magbago na.
(Duterte is good because many of what he says may bring about true change in the people.)
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: The latest SWS poll shows Duterte at the number 2 spot after rival Grace Poe.
In a place where disappointment with government is high, radical solutions will have its appeal.Will the 1.15 million voters in Leyte province go for the Duterte-Cayetano tandem’s brand of change?
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Tacloban City. – Rappler.com
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