DAVAO CITY—It was one of the rare occasions when he accepts an award for public service.
President Rodrigo Duterte even admitted this during Friday’s The Manila Times 5th Business Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel here, where he accepted a caricature symbolizing the Man of the Year Award. The forum outlined the administration’s economic prospects and policy changes, such as the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.
“All the Davaoeños know I do not accept awards except this one ngayon (now),” he said, recounting that on one occasion, he turned down an award from an organization that wanted to recognize him for something he has done when he was still mayor of Davao City.
He recalled the incident when he was asked by the late president Corazon Aquino to resolve a hostage situation involving prisoners of the Davao penal colony. President Duterte was then the chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC).
At one time, he also turned down an award as one of the best mayors of the world.
“I would respectfully decline it and I would always say, you do not give me an award or reward for the things that I have to do because I am paid to do that exactly,” he stressed.
“But ngayon, kasi (now it’s) maybe because it is high time, at least before I go beyond, I should have one award,” the President said in jest, drawing laughter from the participants.
According to Dante Ang, Chair Emeritus of Times, the award was given to the leader of the masses who broke the mold of traditional politics and rose to power to set a new direction for the country.
He said the award was also given to President Duterte as the leader to set a new direction on the path of graft-free governance and new foreign policy partnerships toward real peace, free of illegal drugs, and sustainable prosperity.