After enduring challenges in the past five years in office, President Duterte is not encouraging people to become the country’s highest government official.
In his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 26, the President admitted that presidency entails long work hours with measly salary. The heavy security also limits the president’s movement so the top public servant actually lives like a prisoner, according to Duterte.
“You know, sabihin ko sa inyo, huwag kayong mag-presidente kay wala talagang… Sabihin ko maliit ang suweldo, wala ka (You know, I’ll tell you, do not aspire to become president because you won’t have..I tell you the salary is low),” Duterte said.
“If you are not there really for the — mag-corrupt ka diyan, well, it would make you a billionaire overnight. But kung magtrabaho ka lang ng ganito… I’m just letting off my… (But if you work this hard… I’m just letting off my [steam]),” said Duterte who will end his six-year term next year.
Duterte also talked about his limited freedom while working in Malacañang. He claimed that he could not easily go out of the Palace given strict security measures implemented by the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
“Itong PSG hindi ako pinapalabas (PSG won’t let me out). Magsabi ako magpunta ako doon, ‘Sir, hindi puwede ‘yan, hindi puwede.’ Kulong talaga ako. Mag-presidente ka, sa totoo lang (If I say that I’ll go somewhere, the PSG says, ‘Sir, it’s not possible.’ I’m really locked up. If you become president), you are a prisoner,” he said.
Duterte also mentioned the perks of riding a helicopter when visiting places but the president’s movement is actually restricted.
“You are brought here, kunwari ka pa de-chopper ka, de-guwardiya, tapos uwi ka doon sa bahay mo, tapos hindi ka na makalabas. Preso ka talaga (You ride in a helicopter, well-guarded, and then go straight home. You cannot go out anymore. You’re really a prisoner),” said Duterte who rode a helicopter to Batasang Pambansa for his final SONA.
Even he asserts his intention to travel outside the Palace, Duterte said the PSG would inform him about its duty to ensure his safety. He said his security team would tell him that the PSG authority “does not come from you, it comes from a law so kami ang masunod (so we must be followed).”
The presidency also involves heavy workload despite low pay, according to Duterte.
“Sige ka pirma a bunch of papers. If you read it hanggang umaga trabaho ka. Suweldo mo ganoon lang. Just give me 219,000 tapos ganoon ang trabaho mag-isa ka (You sign a bunch of papers. If you read it, you’ll work until the next morning. Your salary is low. Just give me 219,000 and you work alone),” he said.
“Buti’t ngayon kay nandito ‘yung asawa ko, nandito ‘yung anak ko. Nabubuhay ‘yung loob ko mag-uwi ako sa bahay ngayon (It’s good that my wife and child are here. I’m eager to go home now),” he added.