Remove billboards showing my face, Duterte says

Editha Caduaya
Remove billboards showing my face, Duterte says
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been sending mixed signals about running for president in 2016

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte has ordered city officials to remove billboards and tarpaulins that show his face, as the mayor said he will not run for president in 2016. 

Davao City Engineer Roland Reyes on Thursday, July 2, said he received verbal instructions from Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s assistant, “to remove all billboards and tarpaulins” that support Duterte’s possible presidential bid.

Reyes said the order was for immediate implementation.

Engineer Allen Tibus, who was tasked to implement the order, reported to Reyes on June 30 that “21 billboards were taken off in two-day removal operations.” 

But billboards showing support for federalism and without Duterte’s face were spared, Tibus said.

“All huge tarpaulins and billboards along the major thoroughfares were already dismantled. There were about ten 15×15 meter billboards. We removed all bearing the face of the mayor regardless of size,” Tibus said Friday, July 3.

The Duterte billboards and tarpaulins vary in size and carry different messages.

‘Our only hope’

One of the billboards shows Duterte riding a motorbike with the following message: “Rody Duterte: Naniniwala kami sa pagkatao mo at sa malasakit mo sa ating bayan. Ikaw lang ang aming pag-asa. Sana pakinggan mo ang aming sigaw. Tumakbo ka alang-alang sa bayan at sa aming kinabukasan.” 

(Rody Duterte: We believe in you and your compassion for our country. You are our only hope. We hope you will listen to our cry. Run for the sake of our country and our future.)

Tibus said  billboards were mostly displayed in prominent areas like the Bankerohan Bridge and Diversion Road.

Ramesh Porswani, operator of Souther Mindanao Transport Terminal Inc (SMTTI), who donated the billboards, said he was notified about the removal and everything was returned to them.

Porswani received the letter together with the huge tarpaulins on July 1. 

“I was told the mayor doesn’t like it here, so I decided to place all these to other areas like Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato City, North Cotabato, and in areas where local officials want it,” Porswani said.

Duterte has been sending mixed signals about his plans for 2016 but his supporters hope he will decide to run for president. 

Duterte, for one, said the next president should be young – unlike him, who is already 70. – 

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