I personally don’t believe that the country will become a dictatorship if Duterte wins the presidency. From my personal experience, the people who serve in Davao do so because they have a huge amount respect for the man. This is in contrast with how dictators rule: people follow him because they either fear his retribution or because they have something to get out of it like ikakayaman nila ang pagsunod sa mga utos ng diktador. Case in point: Martial Law.

Kung sakali man, as in if ever, mag declare ng Martial Law si Duterte, I believe his version of Martial Law is going to be quite different from the Marcos version. For one, Marcos declared martial law so he could hold on to power for as long as possible and have more time to steal billions from the country. He persecuted his political enemies and stole the riches of the people who opposed him. He lived the high life.

Duterte has never had a reputation for being a thief. He doesn’t even want to live within the opulent halls of Malacañang Palace, corrupted as it is by its previous occupants, the current occupant included. He may be a foul-mouthed thug with a disgusting taste for jokes, but he will never steal from the people. Kung mag declare man sya ng Martial Law, then he’s gonna do that with good reason: so that he can enact the necessary reforms in the government without being opposed left and right by people who either just want to get their share of the limelight or who don’t want their cash-cows to dry up from all the changes.

One reason why I support Duterte is because he has a sound plan for fair and just distribution of the country’s resources: Federalism. It’s about time that we Mindanaoans get what we deserve. All our lives, we’ve had no choice but to pay exorbitant taxes. But then we seldom get to enjoy the benefits of these taxes. Meron bang railway system sa Mindanao? Wala. Why? Because the proposals to create a railway line have been buried under so much bureaucracy until it’s now forgotten. Meron bang central business districts at par with the likes of Makati, Ortigas, UP Technohub, McKinley Hill, at BGC dito sa Mindanao? The best answer I can think of is DAVAO. Cagayan de Oro comes at a close second. But neither of these are on the same level as the CBD’s in Metro Manila.

We work our butts off, we pay our taxes. And for what? So that the people in NCR can live comfortable lives while we rot down here with our bad roads and monopolized business sectors and dying farmlands. For the longest time, the money has been trickling in in tiny droplets para masabi lang na uy priority din naman ng national gov’t yang lugar nyo. Kaya nga karamihan ng mga poorest barangays and even the poorest provinces eh nasa Mindanao. How can that be a fair trade for voting into office a president who is an expert at diplomacy but would only continue the status quo instead of suffering the bad jokes of the foul-mouthed thug? A thug who has proven his worth over and over without announcing it to the world.A thug who is truly one of us and who cares for what happens to us. A thug who would never leave us behind in his ascent.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate Duterte’s joke. As I said on Facebook, it reeks of the male chauvinism that I have always hated about Filipino mentality and he really shouldn’t have said it in the first place. (It also shows that Duterte is and always will be a product of his generation. Some of my male elders also spew out offensive jokes like that sometimes.) But, I’d take that kind of bad joking anytime if it means that my beloved Mindanao would finally be getting its fair share of the haul. Sapat naman na siguro ang na-contribute namen sa ikasasarap ng buhay ng mga tao sa NCR. Although, how comfortable they are with the current state of the MRT and LRT is still questionable. It’s about time na kami naman ang maging focus ng development.

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