The photos streaming into our newsfeeds tell it all. Coverage of Rodrigo Duterte’s miting de avance at the Luneta Park in Manila consisted of a lot of wide-angle, even aerial, photos of massive crowds. In contrast, photo coverage of Mar Roxas’s rally at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City consisted of underwhelming shots of the stage and a few odd people clad in yellow shirts.
The crowds in Duterte’s rally were impressive indeed. Most credible estimates ranged between 500,000 and 750,000, dwarfing the ten-odd thousand estimates issued with regard to the crowds that gathered in Roxas’s and the other candidates’ rallies combined. But the important thing to note about Duterte’s rally is the set of colours being flown by the crowd. The biggest feature of Duterte’s crowd was the lack of the now-disturbing chromatic homogeneity of rallies surrounding any movement associated with the Aquino-Cojuangco clan. The crowds that came to the “Duterte Grand Rally” had no standout colour other than the red-white-and-blue of the Philippine flag.
No yellow banners: Only the national colours dominate Duterte’s rally.
(Photo source: Pia Ranada)
It’s been a long time since the national colours dominated a crowd this huge. For many, it was a sight to behold. No longer need you worry about the colour shirt you are wearing before showing up at a rally. Duterte’s rally was, in that sense, truly inclusive. The dominance of the Philippine flag at Luneta was remarkable considering that the candidate of the hour there is from Davao City — long considered to be a far-off colonial outpost amongst many others orbiting Imperial Manila where the Philippines’ only “real” national politics happen. In this successful staging of his miting de avance Duterte may have proven that it would take a Mindanaoan to truly unite Filipinos under a single flag.
Turning their backs to the incumbent camp’s pitch of maintaining the status quo, Duterte’s supporters look forward to change. Change is coming has become the catchphrase they use for their stoic rubbing in of Duterte’s almost-certain win at the polls. The show of power in Luneta today proves that Duterte possesses the political capital to make those changes.
This is, indeed, an end of an era and the start of a new one. It cannot be stopped by President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s quaint threat to invoke “people power” to stop a Duterte presidency. People power had deserted the Yellow camp of the Aquinos a long time ago. Duterte’s new era opens doors to many possibilities for the Filipino. All Duterte needs to do is lead his people wisely and for his people to apply an intelligent mind over the next six years to holding him accountable to his duty to serve.
[Aerial photo of Duterte rally courtesy Kim A. Tanalas.]