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Fulfil your campaign promises: Filipinos to president-elect

With an overwhelming majority of Filipinos in Qatar voting for Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte who romped home in a landslide, the Philippine expats expect much from the new President-elect when he takes over the reins. Filipino voters in the country are looking forward to witnessing an 'era of change', underscoring the restoration of peace and order, and curbing crime, under the leadership of the presumptive 16th President-elect of the Republic of the Philippines.

Duterte, who is among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines, received 12,475 votes in Qatar out of 15,694 ballots cast here. Overall, he enjoys a huge lead over his opponents in one of the most controversial and emotion-packed elections in the history of the Southeast Asian country.

The new Philippine leader, who is expected to take office on June 30, has already given hints in his recent interviews of some of the 'big changes' he will immediately introduce once he officially occupies Malacanang, the seat of the Philippine government.

"This is our democracy's finest moment. I congratulate our President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on his historic victory. I pray to the Almighty to grant our new president the wisdom and strength needed to fulfil his campaign promises for the next six years of his office, bringing back social justice by restoring peace and order, curbing crime, eradicating illegal drug trade and ending graft and corruption. A better life and economic growth the Filipinos expect under Duterte. Together, let us share the victory side by side as we work together for the common good of our nation," said George Babiano, a journalist in one of the Filipino tabloids widely-circulated in Qatar.

Human rights advocate and community leader Ressie Fos reminded Duterte of his popular campaign promises of eradicating corruption, drugs and criminality within six months if elected president.

"I hope he fulfils his promise of cleaning up the ranks of government of corruption and ending crime and drug trade in the Philippines within the timeframe he mentioned. As an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), I also expect the new leader of our country to have his eyes set on intensifying the campaign against illegal recruiters and human traffickers and putting an end once and for all to the bullet-planting extortion scam (tanim-bala), victimising passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I hope he also considers temporarily stopping the deployment of Filipino household service workers in Middle Eastern countries until clear and proper laws ensuring their safety and rights are in place," Fos added.

Bagong Bayani Awardee 2016 for Community and Social Service and adviser to the United Filipino Organizations in Qatar (UFOQ) Fidel Escurel urged for the implementation of more programmes that would benefit millions of OFWs.

"During the visit of Vice-President Jejomar Binay to Qatar, I had proposed for the establishment of a hospital and bank exclusively for OFWs and their families. The OFW hospital is similar to the privileges accorded to war veterans of our country. Since Filipinos working abroad are regarded as 'the modern heroes' of the Philippines, I hope the new president will take this proposal into consideration," said Escurel.

Aries Alcaide, who is preparing for his return home to be an entrepreneur, is looking forward to witnessing Duterte delivering on his 'big' promises, which he said included free hospitalisation, wage increase of Php 75,000 to Php100,000 to policemen, end of job contractualisation, better traffic situation and tax exemption for low-wage earners.

"The recently concluded Philippine election was one of the most tension-filled events that we've had in recent years. I'm unsure where a Duterte presidency will lead us. But as a citizen, it is my duty to respect the election result. For the common good, we must at least give our new president a fair chance to prove himself. Let's see if he can really eradicate crime, drugs and corruption in 3-6 months as he repeatedly said during his campaign.

"Besides his promises, I also have the following questions: Will we finally see rebels laying down their arms, knowing his somewhat leftist view? Will his government have a better response to calamities and natural disasters of massive scale? Will economic growth continue under his leadership? Will we have more jobs back home? Will he get rid of that 'Donald Trump" image and be seen as a respectable leader, not just locally but internationally? I think these are just the questions that we must have asked ourselves when we elected a leader. I'm really hoping that he can fulfil all his promises if not exceed our expectations. This election will have a huge impact on the future of our country. Time will reveal if we've made the right choice," Alcaide remarked.

Joseph Timothy Rivera, International Coordinator for Qatar of People's Reform Party of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, underscored the importance of assigning 'the best, efficient and honest members' to make up the Duterte administration. As an OFW, Rivera is also hopeful that the new president will have stronger employment programmes that would make working abroad a choice rather than a necessity among Filipinos.

He added,"To the newly elected President, you have been entrusted with the lives of us 100 million Filipinos. Regardless of my political affiliation I always believed that our country needs a firm arm but not necessarily a dictator for enforcing discipline, respect of the law, elimination of vices and more so, the assured delivery of justice, peace and progress, all of which are now in your hands. I personally look forward to your bold edicts starting from your executive order on the Freedom of Information, the armistice with all armed insurgents, the efficient implementation of all laws, the effective delivery of services by the government, the reclaiming of our sovereign territories poached by China, the eradication of crime, especially those involving drugs and government corruption, and down to the curfew for minors, the liquor ban past 1am, and all the popular measures that you have effectively communicated to us during your decisive campaign."

Doha-based life and relationship coach Peggy Margaret Molina reminded Duterte to guide the Filipino nation's march towards 'change'.

"Dear Mr. President, you are an epitome of the adage"it is never too late." The impact through the difference you are making at the prime of your senior years is intensive. No matter what we have been through, you have a clear vision that a change is always good. And it's never too late to make that happen. Under your leadership, all I ask is that you remain invincible. We need your iron fist. We need your influence. We need things to turn around. I ask of you to get all your strength from God who has appointed you. It will be different this time. Because this time, the people are reaching out for real. And we will toil with you. And the Philippines will be a better place once more," was Peggy's personal message to the tough-talking leader.

Staunch Duterte supporter Ali Belarmino expressed full support to the new administration."Just do what you think is right for our country and what you promised to the people and we will support you," he said.


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