By Noel Y. Punzalan and Edwin O. Fernandez
COTABATO CITY (PNA) – Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said incoming President Duterte’s assumption as the country’s 16th President will usher genuine reforms both in governance and anti-corruption.
“We, the provincial officials of Maguindanao, are giving our all out support to President Duterte,” Mangudadatu told a news conference after he took his oath of office in Buluan, Maguindanao.
He said he is fully supporting the Duterte administration’s desire to rid the country of illegal drugs “before the country is engulfed by narco-politics.”
“We set aside political affiliations because we have the same objective of serving our people,” Mangudadatu, who belonged to Liberal Party (LP), added.
Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani, who was re-elected to his third and last term, said the President-elect’s assumption to office will change the country’s political landscape and the people, especially the hopeless, defenseless and oppressed, have found an ally in Duterte.
Guiani, who had a brief talk with Duterte in Davao City last week, said the incoming President vowed to help the city become investors’ destination after the problems of illegal drugs and petty crimes shall have been addressed.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes has said the provincial officialdom of the province will give its all out support to Duterte’s campaign against prohibited substance.
She lauded the President for recognizing capabilities of leaders in Region 12 to form part of his official family.
Incoming Interior and Local Governments Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno is from South Cotabato while incoming Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol is from North Cotabato.
Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial of Mlang, North Cotabato will replace Health Sec. Janette Garin.
A native of South Cotabato, retired Gen. Miguel Delfin Lorenzana is the next defense chief while and Ricardo Jalad from Parang, Maguindanao was named chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Retired Police Chief Supt. Jaime Morente from Midsayap, North Cotabato is the incoming immigration chief.
For ordinary folks, the ushering of new leaders also give them hope of genuine reforms.
“Can you imagine the number of illegal drug dependents who voluntarily surrendered and vowed to do away with illegal drugs?” a Julius Barrientos, resident of Tacurong City, said.
“Duterte is not yet in power and these people have vowed to reform, a good indication we are in good hands in Duterte,” he added in Filipino.
About 5,000 individuals believed to be directly or indirectly involved in illegal drugs have voluntarily “surrendered.”
“Truly, Duterte’s campaign slogan that ‘Change is coming’ is being felt right now,” Elsie Pendar, a very optimistic barangay health worker in South Cotabato, said.
A mall sales lady in Koronadal City, who requested she will not be named, said she is pinning his hope on Duterte’s pronouncement that “contractualization” of workers will stop in his administration.
“I hope it will happen because I have been changing employment every five months,” the sales lady said.
A farmer in Mlang, North Cotabato said Duterte’s programs for farmers as announced by incoming Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol give hope to the country’s agriculture sector.
“These programs on agriculture will free us from the bondage of poverty and unscrupulous traders,” the optimistic Ontoy Dela Vega said. (PNA)