by Hannah Dalogdog

Now, before you start plotting my slow and painful demise, hear me out…

Even from way over here, I can’t help but notice how we idolize this man. Statements like, “Du30 is our only hope!”, “NO ONE else can help the Philippines but Duterte!”,

“If Duterte doesn’t win, our country will surely fall to pieces!” scatter all over Facebook and Twitter.

Please stop.

It’s quite alarming.

Have we not learned anything from our history?

The downfall of Pinoys is in the dramatics.

We thrust an inexperienced widow into Malacanang because we were convinced she was our freedom from an oppressive dictator.

We overthrew an action star and replaced him with a shrewd economist, again convinced that she would bring us forward.

We made the widow’s son president because, um…his mother died? (Still not sure what happened there).

All of these took place with so much pomp and emotion and widespread media coverage. It was inspiring and made us all feel patriotic the first time, not so much the second time, and definitely just downright embarrassing if there ever will be another one.

History repeats itself, especially if we haven’t learned the lesson. So can we please stop looking at Duterte like he is the messiah?

I agree, he will be a GREAT LEADER. He might be exactly what we need as a people. But he’s not going to change everything overnight.

I guarantee that if we continue on the same mindset we’ve always had, there will be at a least a handful of times in his term that we will hate him so much, we’ll wish we never voted for him.

Pedestrians will loathe him for making them walk all the way to the eskinita in the baking heat where the crosswalks are instead of traipsing the busy highways, buwis-buhay style.

Motorists will hate him for making them follow traffic rules we’ve grown to assume were merely suggestions.

Sidewalk vendors will curse him for making them move to appropriate market areas less convenient for their sukis.

Businessmen will damn him to the fiery pits of hell for making them pay the right amount of taxes.

Trapos will try to get rid of him for taking away their kickbacks and companyero culture.

Stop thinking that he can singlehandedly overhaul our struggling economy, or revamp the sluggish educational system, or build a world-class healthcare system. We have to brace ourselves that he might not even be able to do everything he promised.

Duterte looks like a man who is determined enough to try or die trying. He proved that with Davao City. But six years simply isn’t enough to clean up this house long overrun by cobwebs and other horrors.

Certainly not with 90 million people decrying his every move to impose discipline. (That’s what we lack, by the way. Discipline.)

So how about thinking what we’re willing to sacrifice to help him realize his vision?

Are we ready to close down bars promptly at 2am and “cut the fun” to reduce crimes and road accidents?

Are we okay with giving up a bigger chunk of our income to augment the national coffers?

Are we willing to see friends and loved ones go to prison because they broke the law?

Are we willing to trust him and keep our mouths shut even if we can’t see yet where he’s taking us?

It’s a long and painful process, this change we want.

Are we ready to work for it with the man we want to be president?

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Because no, Duterte cannot save us. Only we can save ourselves.

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