PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday opened up for the first time about his new life as the country’s chief executive, suggesting that it was lonely to be on the top.
Speaking to the Philippine delegation to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Duterte said if he were given another chance, he would rather not be the country’s President.
“After all the mesmerizing activity, after the clapping of the hands, you find yourself and you go out after a Cabinet meeting at around three or four in the morning, I tend to ask, ‘Why did I come here?’ But if I’m a mayor, I can do whatever I want,” Duterte said.
The President, 71, said he was having trouble supporting two families with a salary of P160,924 a month.
“If I were to go back in time, I won’t get into this,” Duterte said, saying he had costs associated with old age.
“You have to work everyday and the salary is too low. I have two families in Davao. How will they share that? I don’t even get an allowance. No more happiness,” Duterte said in Filipino.
But Duterte reminded the athletes that serving the country was a rare opportunity that they should cherish.
“Not everybody is given the honor to serve this country. You are given the opportunity to be part of the team, or to be working for the government and that honor is very distinct,” he said.
Before running for the presidency, Duterte served as the long-time mayor of Davao City, first becoming officer-in-charge vice mayor after the People Power Revolution. He then won the mayoral seat from 1988, serving until 1998. In 2001, he ran again for mayor in Davao and was again elected for his fourth term. He was reelected in 2004 and in 2007.