By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
Thousands of President Duterte supporters gathered along IBP Road in Quezon City to show their support for the country’s top leader as he delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
P/Capt. John Wayne Versoza, ground commander of Advanced Command Post, said there were about 3,800 supporters.
They were from different parts of the country, including Metro Manila, Region 1, Region 3, Region 4-A.
No untoward incident happened, Versoza added.
Various pro-Duterte groups—including ‘Friends of Rody Duterte (FORD),’ D4 Movement for Federalism, ACT-CIS, Coalition ng Maralita, Hugpong ng Pagbabago Inc. and Alliance Reform Philippines—were present during the event.
Some government officials—including Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretay Epimaco Densing III and former DILG Undersecretary Emily Padilla—were also present.
Densing, who talked on stage, alleged that there were some Filipinos trying to put down the country.
“Those are the yellows,” he said.
Densing encouraged the attendees to become like Duterte who “loves the country” and “is a symbol of change.”
Meanwhile, among the supporters who joined the crowd were the members of FORD who said that they went to the gathering though they lacked of sleep.
“We were so excited. I was afraid to sleep because I might not wake up early and arrive on time for our call time,” Flora Baguling, 54, told Manila Bulletin.
Baguling was one of the President’s supporters who came from Baguio, Benguet and left by 2 a.m. to make sure that they would arrive early in Batasan.
“From 10 p.m., I was just waiting for the time to come,” she added.
Farrah Ajoc, national chairperson of D4 Movement for Federalism, said they attended the gathering to back the President on his plan for a federalist government.
“We want to change the system. We are quite ready, though there are lots of critics [who] bother,” she said.
Ajoc was with a hundred other members of D4 Movement for Federalism, including the around 20 Marawi Siege victims who are hopeful that Duterte would extend some assistance for them to start anew.
On the other hand, Liga Independencia Spokesman Patrick Cura said they joined the thousands of Duterte supporters to express their support for the President’s programs on poverty and peace and order.
Cura added that they were also at the event to denounce the members of Communist groups’ activities.
Cura alleged that communist group members are only destabilizing the peace and order in the country.
“So we are here to encourage communist members, especially the youth, [to change]. We are trying to make things right,” he said, while waving their flag bearing their group’s name.
Meanwhile, Adonis Dukot, a self-confessed former drug user, joined the crowd supporting the President to express his gratitude for Duterte’s drug rehabilitation programs.
“I was jailed from 2013 to 2018. But I was freed in 2019 after undergoing rehabilitation program. That’s why I’m really thankful for the President for such opportunity,” Dukot said.
Despite a heavy downpour, many chose to stay near President Corazon Aquino Elementary School where Duterte supporters converged.
After almost an hour of rain, more supporters started to arrive again, including members of FORD from Mandaluyong City.
Drenched by rain, the supporters marched along IBP Road, waving their flags and shouting “Duterte, Duterte, Duterte.”
Several street sweepers had been trying to keep the area clean; but piles of trash, including food leftovers and carton packages, were still seen everywhere.