Duterte ends break amid transition

"We were asked by (Christopher Lawrence) Bong (T.) Go (the mayor's executive assistant and also part of the Transition Team) to prepare in the afternoon," said Peter T. LaviAa, Mr. Duterte's spokesperson.

After casting his vote in the afternoon of May 9 and talking to the media in the evening, Mr. Duterte, the outgoing mayor of this city, has largely stayed away from the public eye to rest from the hectic campaign period.

Critics have questioned Mr. Duterte's absence last week while the formation of his Transition Team was announced and its members laid out the economic policies under his administration.

Mr. LaviAa said the mayor will accept well-wishers and meet personalities who supported his candidacy at the Matina Enclaves near his home.

TASTER

Tighter security measures have been in place, which can be likened to protocol followed by members of the Presidential Security Group, to ensure Mr. Duterte's safety, Mr. LaviAa said.

His security team is composed of retired officials from the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. An aide has also been assigned to sample Mr. Duterte's meals before he eats, according to Mr. LaviAa.

Among the initial preparations by the team, which includes Mr. LaviAa, is the formation of sub-committees, namely: a policy review committee, which will take charge of identifying existing key policies and its bottlenecks; a selection and advisory committee that will look into possible candidates for the Cabinet; and an inaugural committee for the official turnover to the presidency.

President Benigno S.C. Aquino III has ordered Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr. to lead the MalacaAang transition committee that will coordinate with Mr. Duterte's team.

Mr. LaviAa also said Mr. Duterte is expected to receive books from his former professor Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The spokesman was uncertain if these books were authored by Mr. Sison, who has been on exile in The Netherlands, or gathered from countries around Europe.

"They are talking regularly on Skype," Mr. LaviAa added.

CONGRATULATIONS FROM MILF

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has congratulated presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for his "historic victory" in the May 9 presidential election and vowed to "partner with you and your administration."

Addressing his May 10 letter to "His Excellency... President-elect Duterte," MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said Mr. Duterte's winning the electoral contest is "indeed a historic victory because for the first time in the history of this country, a true son of Mindanao in whose veins Moro blood runs is now the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines."

In his campaign sorties, Mr. Duterte, the lone Mindanawon presidential candidate, would tell the crowd his grandmother was a Maranao and he has grandchildren who are Tausug.

Mr. Duterte visited the MILF's Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, on Feb. 27. In his rally in Cotabato City that afternoon, Duterte declared that if he wins, "yung isang paa ng Moro ay nasa MalacaAang na (one foot of the Moro is already in MalacaAang)."

Mr. Murad's eight-paragraph letter, e-mailed on May 11 to Mr. Duterte's executive assistant, Mr. Go, noted that Mr. Duterte's "defense of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before and during the election campaign has in fact infused (this) optimism and confidence among our people, which should explain why they overwhelmingly supported your candidacy."

Source: Bworld Online