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Love of country motivates Duterte

Barely a month in office, President Duterte has voiced a few complaints about his “lonely” job, from enduring long working hours to having a meager salary.

But even with the difficulties that come with the job, the President stressed that his love for country motivates him to work every day to advance the welfare of Filipinos.

“My will to work is there. But if you ask me if I’m happy, I am not. It’s lonely. Pag-uwi ko doon trabaho, tapos gigisingin ‘Sir, gising na sir kasi alas tres na,” the President said during an assembly with local government executives in Malacañang last Wednesday night.

“What’s really pushing me to move is my love for my country. Mahal ko talaga ang bayan ko,” the former mayor of Davao City added.

Duterte, a reluctant presidential candidate, earned a landslide victory in the May elections on the promise of waging a war on crime and corruption. The former mayor has started to adjust to the presidential office, from his busy work schedule, protocol arrangements, to having a bigger security detail wherever he goes.

Duterte reiterated that he had no intention to seek the presidency but was merely urged by some groups to run.

“Nagpaloko lang kasi ako na… Gusto ko suntukin,” he said.

He admitted that he is exhausted with heavy workload especially since his day starts early and ends late at night.

“Ngayon I started at 3 o’clock. Tapos pag-uwi ko. Magba-barge ako, matulog. Wala na lahat. Pagod ka na,” he added.

Apart from his long working hours, the President complained about his low salary estimated at P130,000 a month.

Duterte also said he was also unaware if he has allowance as the country’s leader.

“Tinanong ko ang sweldo, 130 – ‘Di mabuti pa nag-mayor ako. ‘Yun lang pala. Ewan ko nga kung may allowance pa ako dito o wala. Hindi ako makatanong. Wala man akong matanungan,” he said.

Duterte is also still uneasy being addressed the President or when people stand whenever he arrives at a place. He said he still prefers to be called “Mayor” despite being the country’s leader.

“I was for the longest time Mayor of Davao City. A good 23 years. Kaya naiilang ako pag magtindig-tindig kayo, even doon sa National Security Council,” he said.

“I’d rather you address me as Mayor kasi mas maganda pakinggan. Ang Presidente kasi minsan… naiilang ako. I am not used to this kind of life,” he added.

The President earlier ordered all Cabinet members and other heads of government agencies to stop addressing him as “His Excellency” in official communications in a bid to lessen formality. (GENALYN D. KABILING)