PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte, who has a habit of chewing gum in public, even while meeting world leaders, has revealed he did it to ease pain from a spinal condition.
The fiery 72-year-old has upset traditional decorum by lacing his speeches with curses, chewing gum in public, and wearing casual clothes, sometimes dispensing with socks.
Duterte affirmed his gum habit during a speech to a private audience on Thursday, when he suggested how people should repay him for his public service.
“Just pay me chewing gum because it eases up the pain when I’m chewing,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech released by his office Friday.
He suggested it had something to do with a “spinal” condition but did not elaborate.
“It eases a bit,” he added.