No birthday celebration for Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, March 26, said he would rather sleep than hold a party for his birthday,  The Philippine leader celebrated his 74th birthday last Thursday, March 28.

During the campaign rally of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Koronadal, South Cotabato, he said, “Historically, ayaw ko talagang mag-celebrate ng birthday. Gusto ko sa bahay lang matulog ako (I don’t really want to celebrate my birthday. I just want to stay home and sleep). And if there’s somebody that is really welcome to me, ‘yung mga anak ko, pati ‘yung apo ko (that will be my children and my grandchildren).”

According to The Philippine Star, Duterte has never thrown lavish parties to celebrate his birthday, even when he was Davao City’s mayor. Usually, he makes himself unavailable every March 28 — which is why he has shunned any activity at Malacañang or anywhere in Luzon and the Visayas for his birthday this year.

Aside from his children and grandchildren, the only people Duterte spends his natal day with are the cancer-stricken children at the House of Hope. He said he doesn’t mind if he gets ignored by his former wife Elizabeth Zimmerman and his long-time partner Cielito Avanceña on his birthday.

“Iyong mga asawa ko maski hindi nila ako pansinin OK lang. May galit man sila sa akin, so mag-inom na lang ako ng tubig pakalma (It would be OK if my wives will snub or get angry with me. I’ll just drink water to calm myself),” he said.

Because of how financially constrained Duterte’s family was during his childhood, he grew up not doing anything extravagant for his birthday.

“Parang nagtampo ako sa kahirapan namin na I took it against the time na hindi ako maka-celebrate ng birthday ko (It was like I was moping about our financial situation that I took it against the time that I could not celebrate my birthday),” he said.

But even now, when life has started to become nicer to their family, the President still refuses to celebrate lavishly.

“Corny nga but it’s a little bit weird na hindi talaga ako nag-party (that I don’t like parties). I do not like it. And the better that it’s just left unsaid … ’yan ang nakaugalian ko eh (that’s what I’ve been used to),” Duterte said.

“It’s no longer the appropriate time for me. I’m 74…” he added.

Duterte also shared there is nothing more he could ask for from God, given his age and status in life.

‘Take a break’

Paolo Duterte, presidential son and former Davao City vice mayor, told Duterte to “take a break. We’ll take care of your detractors.”

On a Facebook post that served as a birthday greeting, he said, “Happy birthday, Pa! Kahit gaano ka pa ka-busy sa trabaho, minsan wala ka ng tulog, pero naghahanap ka pa rin ng oras para sa amin. Maraming salamat, Pa! Nandito lang kami para sumuporta sa iyo (Despite how busy you are with work, and sometimes don’t even sleep, you still manage to find the time for us. Thank you so much, Dad! We’re here to support you).

“Pahinga ka rin paminsan minsan, hayaan mo muna ang mga taong nagkukunwaring bright-bright dyan, si Inday na ang bahala sa kanila! Hehehe at yung mga baliw/buang dyan ako na ang bahala sa kanila! (Get some rest once in a while, let the people who pretend they are bright be, [Inday] will take care of it! And I’ll take care of the crazy ones),” he continued.

Paolo also wished him good health so he can better serve the country and its countrymen.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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