By Pola Esguerra Del Monte, Assistant Editor, BWorld University

Duterte affirms ‘kill’ policy in Catholic school forum

Posted on January 21, 2016

BEFORE a Catholic-school audience which had the La Sallian brothers at the front row, Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte repeatedly vowed to “kill,” as he unveiled his platform of peace and order, regional development, and equality under the law.

“If I become president, there is no such thing as bloodless cleansing,” he said.

Together with Senator and vice-presidential candidate Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Mr. Duterte spoke at the #TheLeaderIWant Forum 2016 at the De La Salle University-Manila on Wednesday sponsored by and DZRH.

Mr. Duterte and Mr. Cayetano, who both arrived in jeans, were greeted with wild applause by the students.

Earlier reports have cited that millennials, the generational cohort born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, will comprise a significant chunk of voters in the coming elections.

Data from a 2010 census counts 14.2 million Filipino voters aged 25 to 34 in the elections during that year, with almost 22% of the voting-age population comprised of voters aged 18 to 24. A final report by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dated Dec.16 states there are 54,363,329 registered voters for the May 9 polls.

Mr. Duterte criticized the state of the country as “very disorderly,” where “people lack security.” He promised raising the integrity of policemen with an increase in their salaries between P50,000 and P100,000.

He particularly singled out the country’s drug problem, saying: “I hate drugs. I have to kill people because I hate drugs.” He added, “[t]hree to six months, and I will kill them.“

It is particularly worth noting that some De La Salle University students had been previously embroiled in drug-related controversies.

Yet the mayor’s brash style seemed to have sat well with the students, who cheered the tandem every now and then at the forum, particularly when they would make snark remarks alluding to Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay. Mr. Duterte also recalled how Justice Secretary Leila S. de Lima wanted him held liable for killings, to which he only nonchalantly responded with “ambot:” the Visayan expression of “I don’t know.“

For his part, Mr. Cayetano defended Mr. Duterte, saying: “The mayor is very strategic and tactical.“

“He just says it differently, but everywhere in the world, yun na po ang utos sa law enforcers, (that is the directive to law enforcers)” the senator said. “Pag sinabing ‘put your hands up’ at hindi mo tinaas ang kamay mo... (When they say ‘put your hands up’ and you don’t obey), the law enforcers are authorized to shoot.“

Mr. Cayetano, who narrated the bulk of their platform, pointed out that they were after “regional development going to federalism.“

“Many do not know that economically, China followed the federal system,” he said. “Bawat region sa China, at bawat city (every region in China, as well as every city) was given authority, money, and the confidence to decide [for] itself [on] investments, [on] giving incentives.“

He added that the centralization of the National Capital Region has led to overcrowding, with a third of the P3 trillion national budget going to Metro Manila alone. Regional development, he said, will not only solve the traffic problem but will give a chance for the other regions to improve.

Aside from reiterating his support of contraceptive use for population control, Mr. Duterte also expressed his intent to focus on the agricultural sector, saying: “We have to improve the economy, we have to start with the land.“

The tandem’s economic plan will be unveiled throughout the campaign, Mr. Cayetano added, but they “want to spark a debate.”