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Duterte back in Davao

DAVAO CITY – President Duterte returned to this city for the first time Friday night after his inauguration in Malacañang Thursday.

Duterte arrived still clad in the barong he apparently used when he led the turnover of commands of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City in the morning and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, also in Quezon City, afternoon Friday.

For the first time as president, Duterte will spend his weekend with his family at his home in Doña Luisa Subdivision in Matina just a day after he took his oath of office as the first Mindanaoan president.

A private jet flew Duterte from Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport at around 8:40 p.m. with partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Kitty.

The President disembarked at the tarmac of the Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force beside the old Davao Airport Terminal.

Like in his days as a mayor here, the President rode on his black Isuzu D-Max pick-up. He was escorted by the local police and the Presidential Security Group.

From the TOG, the presidential convoy drove through the national highway down to JP Laurel Ave. following the 30 and 40 kilometer per hour speed limits.

The convoy, composed of PSG vehicles, police mobile cars and an ambulance, stopped on red traffic lights.

All the way from the airport, Duterte, who was seated in front of his car, opened his window and waved to the people on the streets.

The convoy was stuck in a traffic jam for about two minutes at the corner of JP Laurel and Bacaca Road. Several motorcycles tried to overtake the police cars at the end of the convoy but the police stopped them.

The presidential convoy turned right to Quirino Ave. where they were again trapped by traffic until Bankerohan Bridge.

At around 9:35 p.m., several bystanders, who were waiting for a jeep in front of the Tower Inn and Tapa King, were caught by surprise when they saw Duterte waving at them.

“Mayor! Mayor ay President! President!” one of the ladies screamed as hurriedly took a photo of Duterte using her smartphone.

“Okay na ta, okay na ta!” Duterte responded to the cheers of the bystanders over an onboard megaphone as he kept on waving and showing a thumbs sign to the people.

One of his long time police escorts shouted to some bystanders not get closer to Duterte’s car. About five of his PSG escorts disembarked from their vehicles and walked on the right side of the President’s car.

PSG escorts walked beside Duterte’s vehicle for at least 50 meters due to snail-paced flow of traffic near the Davao Doctor’s Hospital.

It took the convoy more than 10 minutes to get out of the traffic jam from the corner of Mayon St. to Bankerohan area. From JP Laurel, the convoy went to MacArthur Highway and Duterte kept his windows open.

Some bystanders on the street in the area were also caught by surprise while some were seen taking pictures of the President.

The convoy turned left to Tulip Drive then headed right to Quimpo Boulevard. At around 10 p.m., Duterte’s convoy arrived at his home in Doña Luisa Subdvision. (KEITH BACONCO)