The President’s health

A man should always hope that the other should live longer and well. In the case of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s, the more it is hoped for. Aside from being the first president to have hailed from Mindanao and with a Moro blood running in his veins, he is the father of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), a landmark piece of legislation that can spur the real start of healing process in Mindanao, especially in Moro-dominated areas.

This law ushers in the prospect of real peace, justice, development, and progress in this region.

Yes, other presidents before him have their respective outstanding merits (few with serious if not bloody policies), but only President Duterte has the most correct reading of Moro narrative that set the motion to pass the BOL, despite the opposition and concerted spoiling efforts of many well-entrenched interests’ groups, biases, prejudices, stereotyping, and hatred. Former President Benigno Aquino III had invested so much for the success of the GPH-MILF peace process that led to the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2012 and 2014, respectively, but due to many reasons, one of which was the shortness of material time and the tragic Mamasapano incident in 2015, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), now BOL, did not make it to the 16th Congress.

President Duterte, according to report, had raised the possibility of having “stage 3” cancer. Knowing his leadership style, we can only hope further that it is not very accurate. Even in boxing, one has to fake some weaknesses in order to lure the other to take that as real, but once the gambit is set, the next is a foregone conclusion.

Granting, however, that there is truth to the report, but “Stage 3” is not a lost case. With the latest stage of the art medical technology and expert practitioners, this can still be treated by chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.  But it seems, the President is not inclined to undergo further medications.

The report added that the president did not know the state of his health, but would not seek treatment anymore if diagnosed by doctors with stage 3 cancer.

President Duterte is quoted as saying: “I did not look after myself, I did not stop drinking [alcohol]. That is why, I am regretting it. It always comes late. So, it got worse, I do not know where I am now physically, but I have to wait.”

“But, I’ll tell you this. If it’s cancer, it’s cancer. It it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will no longer prolong my agony in the office.”

One rare quality of leaders is their bravery to face the truth even it causes them pain. President Duterte has this.