Duterte's birthday wish: For PH not to get involved in 'mess' of other countries
MANILA, Philippines – Prosperity for his government and a future free of troubles for his country are what President Rodrigo Duterte wished for as he blew out the candle on his Philippine flag-themed birthday cake.
His staff in Davao City surprised him with a birthday song and a specially-designed cake on Wednesday night, March 27, the eve of the President's 74th birthday.
A video taken by Matina Enclaves project manager Wena Valenzona shows Duterte as he emerged from a room at Matina Enclaves as his staff sang, "Happy birthday to you, may the Lord God bless you!"
Duterte then approached a round cake with the features of a Philippine flag. The staff asked for his birthday wish.
"My wish, uh, well that this government will prosper and huwag sana tayo masali sa – it's a very topsy[-turvy] world kaya pati 'yung mga Chinese eh medyo (inaudible).... My wish is that we will just continue to progress, hindi tayo kasali diyan sa mga gulo-gulo diyan sa ibang bayan," he told the room.
(My wish, well, that this government will prosper and that we don't get involved in the – it's a very topsy[-turvy] world so even the Chinese are kind of [inaudible].... My wish is that we will just continue to progress, we won't be part of that mess with other countries.)
Duterte's reference to the Chinese may likely be because that night, he had met with Song Tao, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of China's Communist Party, also at Matina Enclaves.
The President then took a closer look at the "Happy Birthday Mayor" lettering on the cake, which was made up of various photos of him. For a few seconds, he recalled when the photos were taken.
At that moment, Duterte probably looked forward to the next day, his birthday, which he said he would spend at home.
"When I go in my house, I'll be sleeping all day," he said.
Duterte typically spends his birthdays at his Davao home where he is visited by his grandchildren. Malacañang staff clear his schedule of any public events.
Duterte wished his greeters "happiness" before blowing out the candle on his birthday cake.
Beside him for the entire duration of the video, and present for all cameras to see, was his former aide Bong Go, a senatorial candidate in the May elections. Go had been called the "national photobomber" because of the constant presence of his face in official photos of the President.
That night, Duterte had a Japanese-style dinner with his staff.
Starting on Wednesday, Cabinet members had spread their birthday greetings for the President to media.
They all involved wishing Duterte a long and prosperous life.
"Dalangin namin na biyayaan kayo ng malakas na pangangatawan para sa bayan (We hope you will be blessed with a strong body for the good of our nation). Happy birthday, Mayor," said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar tried to wax poetic with his greeting. "Destiny designed your name: Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 74 years ago on this day, to lead that we may follow, and to follow that we may live, your noble cause within our lives," he said in a message.
Other Cabinet members praised Duterte's resolve as President.
"His passion and dedication to solve all problems besetting our country is truly an inspiration for all of us to give our best," said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra hoped for understanding from the President's critics.
"On the President's birthday, I wish that the people will understand better that everythng he does as father of the nation, while not to the liking of some people, is motivated only by love of country and genuine concern for the welfare of future generations of Filipinos," Guevarra said.
Eldest presidential son and former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte greeted his father in a message posted on Facebook on Thursday, March 28. – Rappler.com