MRRD NECC (Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee) is a volunteer organization that aims to help Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte get elected as the next president of the Philippines. Just like Mayor Duterte, MRRD NECC is galing sa masa, para sa masa (from the masses, for the masses). It welcomes every Juan who fervently believes in Mayor Duterte and his vision: a crime-free, drug-free, corruption-free, insurgency-free and poverty-free Philippines. (To read about MRRD NECC PENAMFED federalism primer, please proceed here).
Without the presence of a well-oiled political machinery and the millions of pesos that are normally associated with any presidential campaign, MRRD NECC fosters the bayanihan spirit of the Filipinos and harnesses it into something that can possibly bring about real and positive changes in the country.
As one of the volunteers of MRRD NECC, I have seen this bayanihan spirit at work in more ways than one. In the early days of the MRRD NECC Quezon City headquarters, my fellow volunteers and I brought our own gadgets like laptops and printer for the organization’s purposes. We shared 711’s P29.00 (US $0.61) meals and used the paper cover of said meals as plates. I once bought P500.00 (US $10.48) worth of food for 25 people, at the nearby karinderia (street food stalls) on Christmas Eve. I had to use my haggling skills to persuade the karinderia owner to give extra servings of rice and vegetables for free. At night, some slept on bare plywood (I slept on three adjacent chairs once). Nobody complained because we have hope in our hearts, and we know that we are doing it for a higher purpose.
The aching bones and watery eyes (from looking at the laptop monitors for hours) fade like distant memories every time I interact with Mayor Duterte’s supporters and see the same hope I have reflected on their faces.
On my first day as a volunteer at the national headquarters, I met Miss Virgie. She was one of the people who patiently waited for their MRRD NECC ID cards. At one point, there were more people than pens in the room. Miss Virgie immediately volunteered to procure several pens. She came back with eight blue pens, which she donated right away. I thanked her profusely so much so that she blushed. Eight pens might be insignificant to a lot of people, but Miss Virgie’s willingness to shell out portion of her income as a street vendor is touching. It was my privilege to make her MRRD NECC ID card.
Miss Virgie is just one of the many Filipinos here and abroad who has shown support for Mayor Duterte. Their support has come in the form of simple things like pan de sal and coffee to offers of their houses as satellite headquarters. Some make 1 ft by 2 ft tarpaulins with Mayor Duterte’s fighting words on them. Others proudly wear shirts emblazoned with Mayor Duterte’s images when they arrive at the headquarters. All of them always say, “para kay Mayor” (for Mayor Duterte) with smiles on their faces.
Many of these smiling faces belong to the seafarers. Their devotion for Mayor Duterte’s candidacy is unequalled. They have been present at several important events that have impacted the good mayor’s journey as a presidentiable. Also, they are proactive members of MRRD NECC and have been responsible for completing many labor-intensive tasks like putting up expansive tarpaulins and fixing and painting the headquarters.
On Christmas Eve (after our karinderia feast), while waiting for the giant tarpaulin with Mayor Duterte’s image to arrive at the headquarters, I had a meaningful conversation with Francisco, a seafarer from Mindanao. I asked him why they give their loyalty to Mayor Duterte. He said that they are considered as modern heroes of the Philippines, but the reality cannot be farther from the truth. Many of them have experienced horrific inhumane treatment at the hands of their employers, yet the government has not deemed it necessary to stop it. Worse, there are Philippine institutions that require them to secure documents that are not needed by international organizations. “Pera pera lang”, (it is all about money) he said. He added that only Mayor Duterte has shown concern for their welfare. He believes that Mayor Duterte will address not only their problems but also those afflicting the country.
Francisco’s belief is mirrored by X, our designated driver to and from Baguio City. During our car discussion, he explained why he supports Mayor Duterte. From what I surmised from his two 15-minute long speeches, the depth and breadth of his knowledge of political issues are unparalleled. He did not give a safe answer full of facts and figures or one that is governed by emotions. Rather, he gave one borne out of first-hand experience that marries facts and emotions in a harmonious relationship. I will not write what he said during his speech, but I was completely awed by it. I thought that every voter should have a thoughtful mind like his.
I did not know at that time that the car discussion was just a prelude to something enlightening. The highlight of the trip to Baguio City was Atty. Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong’s speech. Atty. Mamondiong is an unassuming man who wore a simple white cotton shirt, blue jeans and rubber slippers when I first saw him at the Quezon City headquarters. To read more about Atty. Guiling Mamondiong (TESDA Director – General, please this).
That day in Baguio City, in front of the MRRD NECC – CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) leaders, the soft-spoken prime mover of our group transformed into a man on fire. His words reflect unwavering conviction without any trace of exaggeration, yet they were more than enough to light the passion in the hearts of the attendees. They raised their fists in agreement with Atty. Mamondiong. They believe in Mayor Duterte. They believe in his vision of a crime-free, drug-free, corruption-free, insurgency-free and poverty-free Philippines.
My MRRD NECC experience has taught me two things. First, politics is founded on treacherously unforgiving shifting sands, and only a chosen few can navigate it with grace. Second, there are a lot of hardworking and passionate Filipinos who can set aside personal welfare for someone or something they believe in. Luckily, that someone is Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and that something is a better Philippines.
MRRD NECC has made great strides in helping Mayor Duterte’s campaign, but we are aware of the uphill battle we face. Mayor Duterte does not have millions of pesos for advertisement and campaign materials, but he has the steadfast support of millions of Filipinos clearly shouting his name to be the next president of the Philippines. The clamor is real.
To read about MRRD NECC PENAMFED federalism primer, please proceed here.
To know more about Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, please visit isupportduterte.com.
Thank you, John, Patrick, Reggie, and Earl for helping me on my first day at MRRD NECC. To the rest of the volunteers, tiwala lang.