Heavy rains did not dampen the spirits of thousands of supporters and fans of President Rodrigo Duterte who attended the “Salamat PRRD” thanksgiving concert at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila Sunday.
The police said around 3,500 people flocked to the place that also served as venue for Duterte’s miting de avance in the 2016 elections.
Ahead of the thanksgiving concert, President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured Duterte he would continue his programs as he expressed his sincere thanks to the outgoing leader for supporting him and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“I assured him that I would continue his projects that were beneficial to the country,” Marcos said.
In an interview during the concert, event director Njel De Mesa said it was not only held to thank Duterte for serving the country for the past six years, but also to express gratitude to his supporters who stood by the president.
Among the attendees was 18-year-old Agatha Tolentino, who described herself as a “solid Duterte supporter.”
“I wanted to see the President before he steps down because I never got the chance to see him in person…I was really amazed by his accomplishments, for example, the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program which will be a great help to our country,” she said in Filipino.
William Arevalo, 63, said the administration’s crackdown against crime and illegal drugs helped make the country and his city—Caloocan—a safer place to live in.
Pampanga-based Rachel Quesada said she did not think twice about attending the thanksgiving event even if it meant traveling to Manila from Pampanga.
Quesada admitted she initially had reservations because of Duterte’s manner of speaking, which was sometimes considered “offensive” or “unpresidential.”
She, however, said she realized the tough-guy image was Duterte’s way of making people listen to what he had to say.
Duterte arrived at the Quirino Grandstand a few minutes before 7 p.m.
Various artists—Andrew E. Chad Borja, Dulce, Freddie Aguilar, Ice Seguerra, Isay Alvarez, Jed Madela, Jimmy Bondoc, Martin Nievera, Moymoy Palaboy, Robert Seña, and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra—performed during the concert.
For her part, incoming Communications Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, herself a Duterte supporter, said the outgoing President’s sincerity and passion to serve endeared him to the nation.
“He always had the welfare of the general public in mind,” Angeles said during the thanksgiving event.
“We really felt that we, the public, has always been top priority, that we are worthy of service. We felt there is indeed a government,” she added.
Duterte earned consistent high approval ratings throughout his six-year term, the latest of which was OCTA Research’s survey conducted March 5 to 10.
He had the highest performance and trust scores among government officials, at 67 percent and 69 percent, respectively.