Duterte cracks landslide jokes before Cebu victims
President Rodrigo Duterte explained in the past he uses jokes to relieve tension and lighten the mood when he speaks at events.
But was it too soon to make jokes about landslides in Naga City, Cebu? He spoke there on Friday, September 6, to break ground for a housing project for hundreds of families who lost their homes the year before.
He was talking about lands being tilled by "tenants" in Cebu, telling them they should let go of the land affected by the landslide.
He joked, “So daghan pa ni sila sigurong naa sa daplin sa bukid. Pag-ampo lang mo nga ma landslide mo aron mubalik mi ngari. Pero dagan mo dayon, porbida pud uy.”
(So there are still many of them living on the side of the mountain. Pray that there will be a landslide so that we’ll come back. But run immediately, jeez.)
While audience members not affected by the landslide laughed right away, the victims and beneficiaries of the housing project took a while to laugh.
He joked again a few minutes later: “Pananom mo’g asa mo dapit bukira kay pag-abot sa landslide… Pagpractice mo’g dagan. Kanang mas paspas anang yawa… Magbugal-bugal ang pagkaistorya [nako] pero ana gud ang tinuod.”
(Plant on wherever mountain you are living in now because in the event that there is a landslide… You should practice running now, run as fast as – I may be sarcastic but that’s the truth.)
Later during his speech, he offered words of comfort and clarified his jokes were meant to “lighten the burden.”
“I’m sorry for those who died. I just want to lighten your burden,” he said.
He cited a bible verse for the victims of the landslide.
“We all have a – we all have a destiny. Our fate in this world. When we will die, where we will die, and what we’ll die from,” he said. “Only God can answer that. So it’s a mystery. But take refuge. Read Ecclesiastes 3.”
He told the audience to trust in God and that tragedy is as much a part of life as comfort.
“There is a time for plenty because we have money – we got lucky – and there is a time for want, poverty,” he said. “A time to be happy, to celebrate, like birthdays, weddings, baptisms,” he said. “A time to be sad in times of illness and death, or disabled for some. And there is also a time to be angry and a time to be calm. I will not be tough for all time.”
In this same speech, he praised former Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon – whom he fired two days before, and admitted ordering the transfer of witnesses in the trial against jailed-Senator Leila De Lima from New Bilibid Prison to marine barracks in Fort Bonifacio.
Were the President’s jokes misplaced and too soon, considering the landslide was only a year ago? Or is humor just his way of comforting victims of a tragic situation? – with reports from Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com
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