Davao Bomb Blast Awakens Filipinos To President Rodrigo Duterte’s Missed Message Of Love


The Davao City bomb blast of September 2, 2016, ripping through a popular night market along Roxas Avenue at 10:50 p.m. with a casualty count of 14 civilians killed and 71 injured, has left a nation in anguish and mourning. Reported to be a retaliatory act by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group facing intensified government military action in Sulu less than four months into President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in office, the explosion across the Philippines’ model city, has made Filipinos refer back to an important message their new leader has been trying to hammer home.

As if to answer the existential question “Why am I here?”, President Duterte said this.

“I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines.”

President Duterte made this historic pronouncement in his 60-second closing statement for the first leg of the pre-election PiliPinas Debates on February 21, 2016. Pundits would note that he said the same thing in a campaign speech and at his inaugural address as president of the Philippines.

His public confession challenges listeners to examine themselves and decide how they feel. Filipinos reflecting on his “I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines,” could very well use the same sentiments as their own.

Filipinos of the New Millenium, better educated, more in touch with the times and less gullible than their predecessors, are pre-disposed to recognize pragmatism and common sense behind President Duterte’s passionate confession. What better guiding precepts are there than love of country and love of fellowmen?

President Duterte needs Filipinos who are emotionally charged up enough to get on board with him in securing these vital goals: 1) putting food on the table of every Filipino household, 2) eliminating the drug trade, and 3) attracting foreign investments. He needs Filipinos who possess a true love for their country and their countrymen.

Empowered farmers are key to increasing food production, and factors that limit their output need to be addressed. Loan sharks and middlemen on whom the farmers depend, would have to cut their fees down to manageable levels and partner up with their clients in planning for the next crop. Businessmen would have to marshal their time and financial resources to help President Duterte build a Mindanao Railway System for transporting food from the hinterlands at minimal cost. Government bureaucrats would have to exercise due diligence in taking out the irrigation fee imposed on farmers. A change in the old way of thinking would have to be induced by the “love factor.”

Love of country and countrymen are valuable aids in President Duterte’s drive to eliminate the drug trade in six months, at the forefront of his war on crime and corruption. The “shabu” industry is perpetuated by two players, the user and the dealer, and cannot flourish, one without the other. Both share responsibility for this problem. A body count is inevitable, but a joint effort by law enforcement and the concerned public to remove “shabu” from their midst, will happen. And they will be motivated, if you will, by love for one’s country and one’s people.

Foreign investments are vital to President Duterte’s goal of job-creation to improve Filipino quality of life. Extremist groups have been creating a negative economic climate that prevents this scenario from happening. By kidnapping civilians or extorting money from them, these bands demonstrate that 1) they do not love their country, and 2) they do not love the people of the Philippines.

Such a simple yardstick reveals all. Everyone would be better served if these extremist groups were to move offshore, say, to Borneo. No matter the guise they put on, the political or religious agenda they spout, they have no love for the Philippines, and they do not love the Filipino people.  These extremists can be described as “a band of lazy, angry men who contribute nothing to our future.”

Not only in the Philippines, the political “love factor” is evident today even in such an advanced society as that of the United States. Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump has called for a restriction on migrants who do not love Americans or the American way of life. It is his common sense approach to cracking down on homegrown terrorists who would do Americans harm.

The Roxas night market in Davao City where ordinary shoppers spend their hard-earned money on sidewalk fare, discount clothing and massage services, was the ideal soft target for a terrorist bombing. The perpetrators have clearly demonstrated that they do not love this country and do not love the people of the Philippines. The authors of this atrocity do not belong here.

Youngsters who are the vanguard of the next Filipino generation, should recite the pledge of allegiance everyday at school, and should also be made to say the following.

“I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines.”


6 thoughts on “Davao Bomb Blast Awakens Filipinos To President Rodrigo Duterte’s Missed Message Of Love

  1. Elmore

    Well done Ken.
    Thank you for such very well presented insight of what President Duterte’s message.
    Keep on keeping on!
    All of humanity in process and each of us has been given the brain to use according to what we find when seeking for the best to perpetuate life, a very important choice to make that will last for eternity.

  2. Kenneth Lim

    Thank you, Elmore. Hopefully this article sheds light on why the new Filipino president does what he does while his critics try to put him in a box that can be easily labeled.

  3. Kenneth Lim

    Thank you, Edythe. In the wake of the unfortunate incident, I’ve found Davao be extremely peaceful, full of lovely people honest to a fault.

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