From Pigong to PDiggy: What to call president-elect Duterte?

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are fond of giving their presidents nicknames or acronyms. With a new president to be proclaimed in a matter of days, what new nickname will rise above the rest?

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's own spokesman Peter Laviña wondered about this during a press briefing on Friday, May 13, in Davao City.

Nicknames of presidents include PNoy for outgoing President Benigno Aquino III, Erap for Joseph Estrada, GMA for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and FVR for Fidel V. Ramos.

Laviña said a number of names have cropped up among supporters and in social media on what to call Duterte.

Some names that have reached him include President Digong, President DU30, PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte), P-Rod, and Pigong. Even the nickname "PDiggy" is making the rounds online.

Most of these names, he said, are coming out on social media. 

"We solicited help from people, particularly from social media. So we will let their creativity flourish. We are not dictators so we will not dictate," he told reporters.

Given the intense engagement of netizens in Duterte's campaign, it's no surprise for the Duterte team to listen to social media. 

'Mayor', 'Mister President'?

Initially lacking funds for television and radio political advertisements, the campaign team depended heavily on social media to promote their candidate.

But Laviña said some people, especially Davaoeños, may opt to call Duterte "mayor."

Duterte himself, he said, has his own preferences on how people address him.

"He does not like to be called 'Sir.' He likes to be called 'Mayor' or by his first name," said Laviña.

Though the transition team is welcoming nicknames for Duterte, and as Duterte himself likes to keep things informal, Laviña maintained that the institution that is the Philippine presidency comes with protocols that need to be observed.

"You can call him by any name you prefer, but there will be times you have to address him formally as Mister President," he said.

So what nickname will it be? – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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