WANTED APPRECIATION | 1st year of Duterte feels like 3 – spokesman

June 22, 2017 - 2:09 PM
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Duterte takes oath as president
President Rodrigo Duterte takes his oath before Supreme Court Justice Bienvenido Reyes as his daughter Veronica holds the bible. (Presidential photo/Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said the amount of work and the challenges the administration has faced have made the first year of his term feel like three.

“It feels like three years already, right? Considering the amount of work we done, considering the challenges and all the matters that have been addressed,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Thursday.

At the same time, Abella wished that “people will be more united in appreciating” Duterte and what he has done “and not act as if they were not Filipinos.”

Duterte’s first year of office, which he will mark next week, has been tumultuous, with people bitterly divided over a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives and earned intense criticism here and abroad, the President’s abrasive manner, uncertainty over his government’s thrust, and most recently, the outbreak of fighting in Marawi City between extremist gunmen and government forces, prompting him to place the whole of Mindanao under martial law.

However, these have failed to make any substantial dent in his immense popularity.

Expounding on his wish for more appreciation of Duterte’s efforts, Abella cited an article on the cost of the President’s foreign trips.

He called for a more “entrepreneurial” mindset that would also look at the advantages, such as more investments, that offset the huge expenses for these trips.