DEPUTY Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano has called on her fellow lawmakers from other nations to take a more informed look at President Rodrigo Duterte.
Cayetano also urged them to support the efforts of the Philippine government to bring peace and progress which have long eluded her country, particularly in Mindanao.
The Taguig City lawmaker on Monday defended President Duterte from critics, and enumerated some of the achievements during his first 120 days in office at an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) forum, which tackled the role of parliaments in preventing outside interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.
Cayetano is an official delegate of the House of Representatives to the ongoing 135th assembly of the IPU in Geneva, Switzerland.
“He (President Duterte) has told world leaders who have been quick to criticize that he takes full responsibility for the well-being of the Filipinos,” Cayetano told her counterparts at the forum organized by the IPU standing committee on peace and international security.
“We (Filipinos) have lived with unrest, (but now) it is a time for peace. I invite you, my fellow parliamentarians, to look at my country and my President from this perspective and join us in our quest for peace and prosperity,” she stressed.
Cayetano opened her speech with a personal story from the eighties about how she, then a young volleyball athlete, was prohibited by her father (the late Senator Rene “Compañero” Cayetano) from joining the Palarong Pambansa, which was to be staged in Southern Philippines, for fear of her safety.
“I missed the national competition which was held in the southern part of the country, in Mindanao, because my father did not let me go for security reasons. For decades, peace eluded different parts of our country, including the South. Cost of war: Hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of lives lost, over one million displaced,” she recounted.
“Today, we have a President from the South, in Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte. Mayor from Davao City, a city much like the ‘Wild West’ thirty years ago, until he transformed it into the progressive city that it is today. Coming from the South, he understands the cultural differences and historical background that may finally give us a chance for peace,” she said.