PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wished peace and prosperity for the nation as he turned 74 yesterday.
Duterte revealed his wish during an advance birthday celebration held at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City last Wednesday.
“It’s a very topsy (turvy) world...My wish is that we will just continue to progress and prosper. Hindi tayo kasali diyan sa mga gulo-gulo sa ibang bayan. I wish you all happiness,” he said during his birthday event with the Presidential Security Group and aides.
Duterte also reiterated he will be spending his birthday at home sleeping.
Some members of the Cabinet, meanwhile, extended their birthday greetings to the President.
“I wish that each and every Filipino will see how hard you work for them and that they will understand how much you really love our country and our people,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol wished good health for the President.
“Destiny designed your name: Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 74 years ago on this day, to lead that we may follow, and to follow that we may live your noble cause within our lives. Happy birthday, President Duterte!” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the country was “truly blessed” to have Duterte as president.
He said he has known Duterte to be one of the “most intense and focused persons in government; his passion tempered by a soft heart for the ordinary Filipino.”
“His style of leadership is very much defined by his own strong personality, which we have witnessed countless times in Davao City and beyond. This is the type of leadership we need as a country now,” Nograles said.
“The entire Cabinet in one voice reaffirm our commitment to deliver our President’s wishes. We won’t let you down, sir!”
Año said Duterte’s “passion and dedication to solve all problems besetting our country” was “truly an inspiration for all of us to give our best.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra wished for the people to understand better that everything the President does as the “father of the nation” is “motivated only by love of country and genuine concern for the welfare of future generations of Filipinos.”
Panelo said Duterte has remained a simple man even though he is the country’s most powerful person.
“The presidency has not changed his simple lifestyle, no frills but certainly plenty of thrills,” he said.
“As we approach the midpoint of his term, we have witnessed the daily toil of this tough but compassionate man in making good his campaign promises, and now as Chief Executive, relentlessly and tirelessly performing his constitutional duty to serve and protect the people.”
Panelo then enumerated Duterte’s efforts in combating illegal drugs and corruption, as well as the measures signed by the President to promote public welfare.
These include the free public college education, free universal healthcare and medicine, free irrigation to farmers, free feeding program for undernourished school children, salary increase of soldiers, policemen, firemen and government workers, higher SSS pension of senior citizens and old-age pension of veterans.
“His sense of duty and fidelity to the country not only inspires and motivates workers in the government to serve the people well but moves the rest of society to march in cadence with him as he breathes life to the winds of change he has spurred,” Panelo said.
Panelo hoped that Duterte will continue to have a “sound mind and a healthy body” so that he “may finish the goals he had set for the betterment of the country and people that he loved so well towards a future of progress and prosperity.”