An unusually short prepared speech on Friday, Oct. 29 during the simultaneous inauguration of seven port development projects in Bohol caused President Duterte to reveal a little known fact about himself–he actually traces his roots to the province.
“It is my honor to join you today as we inaugurate the newly improved Port of Tagbilaran and the six other newly improved seaports in Bohol,” Duterte said at the port in Tagbilaran City.
“The constructions and repairs done in these ports will allow Bohol to accommodate more people and goods from neighboring provinces and contribute much to the province’s recovery from the pandemic. I am also confident that these ports will strengthen the capacity of Bohol as a catalyst of economic growth in the Central Visayas,” he said, while collectively referring to the finished projects as “another milestone under our Build, Build, Build program”.
A few more paragraphs after that, Chief Executive noticed that he was fast approaching the end of his speech already.
“The devil, this is just one — two pages only. Is this all? The second page is so bare. I feel embarrassed in front of you. Who made this?” Duterte said in Bisaya.
“Again, congratulations to everyone on this achievement! Mabuhay tayong lahat! (Long live to all of us!) Kutob ra ko ngari kay mao ra ma’y gisuwat. Bitaw, congratulations. (My prepared speech ends here. But really, congratulations),” he added.
Wanting to speak more with the people in attendance, Duterte reached into his bag of ad-libs and imparted a crowd-pleasing trivia about himself.
“What else can I add? I feel so inadequate with my short message. Actually, I have a lot ot say about Bohol, the resilience of their people, and the many events that happened here. And yet just like any other Filipino, we kept our pain and struggles to ourselves,” he said in Bisaya.
“I’m a descendant of Boholanos. I won’t expound on it any further but I’m a descendant of Boholanos in Maribojoc. So I’m not only Bol-anon, but also a Leyteño. I was there during the evacuation. All the families of soldiers were… And my father was the first military mayor in Danao City. It’s on the internet,” he added.
Duterte, 76, was born in Maasin, Leyte, thus his reference to himself as Leyteño. But he is more widely known as hailing from Mindanao, thanks to his 23-year tenure as former Davao City Mayor.
“So my grandmother is from Bohol, and I would just like to say to my brothers and sisters from Bohol that I hope you are happy with your new seaport. There’s one wherever you look. You can pinpoint a seaport anywhere here and that’s what makes it very nice,” he said.
“That really improves the mobility of people, faster, and easier and convenient. I’m very grateful to [Department of Transportation Secretary (DOTr)] Art [Tugade] for putting this up in the hometown of my ancestors,” added Duterte.
The DOTr and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) completed the expansion, rehabilitation, and modernization projects of the seven Bohol ports, namely: Maribojoc, Tagbilaran, Jagna, Ubay, Tapal, Loon, and Talibon to prepare the province for future mobility and connectivity demands not only in the Visayas region but also from Mindanao and Luzon.
The Bohol port projects form part of the 472 commercial and social-tourism port projects that have been completed by the DOTr and PPA under the Build, Build, Build program, since Duterte took over Malacañang in 2016.