‘THESE THINGS I DO BECAUSE
I WANT TO PROTECT THE YOUTH’
By Manny Piñol
The Philippine scouting movement, badly hurting from accusations of corruption against its top leaders, found a new hero in Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte who has vowed to protect the youth from drugs, crime and bad influence.
Duterte, who is widely believed to stand against Vice President Jejomar Binay, also head of the Scouting organization in the country, in the Presidential contest next year, told leaders of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines during a national encampment in Davao City last week that the youth must be shielded from vices because they will be the leaders of the future.
The GSP’s choice of Duterte as their guest of honour and speaker during its 38th National Encampment in Camp Alano Davao City came as a surprise to many scouting followers.
Traditionally, it is the Scouting Movement’s national head, Vice President Binay, who is invited as Guest of Honor.
The Vice President, who has been criticized for overstaying as Boys Scouts of the Philippines head, was lately accused of selling off and disposing the BSP’s valuable properties in several areas all over the country in arrangements and prices which many said were grossly disadvantageous to the organization.
In his message to the Girl Scouts from all over the country, Duterte explained that the tough measures he implemented in the City, including the tough anti-smoking ordinance, the 1 a.m. curfew for drinking alcohol and his brutal campaign against drug dealers and criminals, are aimed at protecting the youth.
He cited the scouting movement’s contributions in moulding the youth into becoming better citizens and leaders of the future but said the country’s leaders must serve as the role models and must exert extra efforts to safeguard the children.
Duterte shared with the Girl Scouts his own failings as a young kid growing up where he was expelled from the Ateneo de Davao and finished his high school after seven years.
With the guidance of a very strict Mother Scout, his late mother Soledad Roa Duterte, a retired public school teacher, Duterte said he became a lawyer and a City Mayor.
Duterte, who obviously relished the moments he had with the young girl scouts and their leaders, is known to have a soft spot for children, especially the poor.
As Mayor of Davao City, he has initiated the establishment of a halfway house for Mindanao children suffering from cancer at the Southern Philippines Medical Centre.
He spends his birthdays and special occasions with the cancer-stricken children, even personally buying toys for them.
Recently, an incensed Duterte ordered the arrest of the parents of three boys he found sleeping by the side streets in the wee hours of the morning.
“Anak kayo ng anak tapos hindi nyo maalagaan,” Duterte chastised the parents of the boys who were all charged with child abuse.
(Photo captions: Girl Scouts eagerly welcome the white helicopter carrying Mayor Duterte and jostled with one another to have a selfie with the Mayor; Duterte meets the national leaders of the Girl Scouts. Kiwi Bulaclac)