SPECKS OF LIFE: Tatay Digong

In my childhood days when I became politically conscious, I have never heard nor read of a Philippine president who displayed as much fatherly concern as what PRRD has thus far shown for our AFP personnel.

As Filipinos recently commemorated “Father’s Day” nationwide, it becomes fitting that “Tatay Digong” be tagged as such by millions of his adoring supporters, fans and followers here and around the world who praise his paternal actions visiting the hospitals where wounded soldiers lay in recuperation.

He has also displayed his un-cloaked sincerity by physically mourning and grieving with the families and heirs left behind by a KIA, condoling with them during vigils in the hometown of the fallen soldier.

“Tatay Digong” is the only sobriquet that can appropriately describe who the real Rodrigo Roa Duterte is. Nothing else comes close.

If it were not too much even to suggest, “Tatay Digong” should be the symbol of Father’s Day celebrations in the Philippines. Do you agree?

He has gone around almost all the military camps and installations nationwide, talking to AFP officers and enlisted men, assuring them of his personal support to fulfill their mission and listening to their plaints and hopes.

For these, I believe the entire AFP rank and file loves Duterte.

They have discovered rather painfully that, compared to PNoy who preferred attending glitzy ribbon-cutting rites of a giant motor company to granting presidential reception to caskets of 44 SAF personnel who perished in Mamasapano, “Tatay Digong” had always exerted his personal efforts to honor soldiers who have fallen fighting for the country.

This, despite being an “old” man who feels fatigue and weariness too (if being 72 years of age already qualifies one among the real old folks) as he himself oftentimes publicly say he is.

Read how simply he addresses the soldiers. In Butuan City recently, he told the 401st Infantry Brigade: “I am filled with nice feeling. I love you all. Mahal ko kayong lahat. Nasasaktan ako tuwing may nadidisgrasya. Ang konswelo ninyo, hindi kayo madedehado.”

How can an ordinary soldier not feel the empathy and filial compassion after hearing this from the President himself in the flesh?

Will a soldier not be encouraged to fight and die if he personally hears the President (who is just meters away) reiterate the provision of a P50-B trust fund for the education of children of uniformed personnel?

These words of assurance are not mere rhetoric.

“Tatay Digong” has proven every doubting Thomases wrong.

After he visited Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, did he not bring home stranded OFWs wallowing in hunger and squalor?

Yes, those who detest “Tatay Digong” for his cussing simply swallowed their snickering saliva because despite his propensity to utter un-printables every now and then, “Tatay Digong’s” credibility remains high.

So, if the royalty in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East receive him on a red carpet and accede to his diplomatic requests, who are the stupid opposition to deserve the people’s attention?

In the present political atmosphere, those who continue to deride and debase the executive actions and leadership of “Tatay Digong” will one day pay dearly when the reckoning comes.

Thanks to the social media platforms available today, Filipinos here and abroad are enabled to discern the truth from media spins, to separate the chaff from the grain as the cliché goes.

That the Metro Manila-based mainstream media continue to discriminate against “Tatay Digong” because of his “probinsiyano” custom, proves that radical change of constitutional infirmities be pursued and finished during his term of office. Parliamentary federalism, it is.

“Tatay Digong” cares to dream.

His dreams are as simple as the man on the street as the soldier in fatigue uniform fighting the ISIS-inspired AbuSayaf-Maute rebels in Marawi City.

Peace. Food on the table. A roof above their heads. Education for the children. Stable jobs for the OFWs at home. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!