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Meet the vendor who follows Duterte’s sorties

Rhaydz B. Barcia
Meet the vendor who follows Duterte’s sorties
49-year-old Felipe Fernando, who hails from Nueva Ecija, sells souvenirs to express support for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

SORSOGON CITY, Philippines – Nueva Ecija resident Felipe Fernando has been following the Luzon sorties of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, selling novelty items to show support for his idol.

Fernando, a 49-year-old father of 3 from Gapan City, has been spending his own money to campaign for Duterte. At the same time, Fernando is earning between P2,000 and P5,000 during rallies, selling souvenirs such as caps (P150) and keychains (P10-P15). 

He has followed Duterte’s sorties in San Pedro, Laguna; Lipa, Batangas; Novaliches; Malabon; Navotas; Balanga, Bataan; Daet, Camarines Norte; Naga City; and Sorsogon City.

Fernando arrived in Sorsogon City, ahead of Duterte, on Saturday, April 30. When asked why he supports the Davao City mayor, Fernando said that Duterte can bring change to the Philippines, similar to how his iron-fist approach has worked in Davao City.

Fernando shared that Duterte has been his idol since 1995, when the mayor burned a Singapore flag in anger over the execution of domestic helper Flor Contemplacion. He added that Contemplacion’s story mirrors that of many other Filipinos – one of poverty – and Duterte is the candidate who can best turn things around.

“I believe that total change in the country is possible. What he has done in Davao will be realized throughout the country,” Fernando said. 

BRISK SALES. Duterte supporters checking out Felipe Fernando's souvenir items. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

There are other Duterte supporters coming from various places across the country who follow the candidate in his rallies. 

Davao City resident Fe Sagaso, 44, also sells t-shirts with Duterte’s image printed on them. She has been selling these souvenirs since the start of the Palarong Pambansa in Albay.

Sagaso also sold Duterte-branded items just beside Fernando’s spot outside the venue of the mayor’s sortie in Sorsogon.

Cavite resident Marco Antonio Abano, 26, said that the tough-talking mayor is like a rock star. Duterte has attracted many supporters despite his alleged links to extrajudicial killings and penchant for cursing.

“We’re fed up with previous presidents who were intelligent, civil, and highly educated, but tainted with never-ending corruption,” Abano said. “So let’s have a leader who is strict and tough this time so that change in Philippines is possible.”

Duterte is set to hold a miting de avance on Saturday, May 7, at Rizal Park in Manila, and Fernando said he will be making more novelty items to sell and campaign for his idol.

“This will be my contribution to our country: to campaign for my idol to win the presidency so that through him Philippines will restore the glory again. Mayor Duterte is the right man to lead our country,” he said. – Rappler.com

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