MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that his strenuous job as the country’s highest elected official is making him tired “a bit.”
In an exclusive interview with Russia Today aired on Friday, the 74-year-old President said there are times when he gets exhausted due to “tremendous” stress, driven by his heavy workload.
“Yes, a bit,” Duterte said when quizzed if he is getting tired of his job as the Philippine president.
“When you say bone-weary, when you are really weary of doing things, and I said because aside from the fact that you have to stay late and you have to travel, and then there’s the tremendous stress of flying where the bullets were whizzing around, and I got a hole in one of the helicopters that I was,” he added.
In November last year, the President said that while his age and health problems are taking a toll on his health, he is still fit to work.
Duterte, in his latest remarks, said it was merely challenging to visit some areas where there are pressing issues that need to be addressed, such as Marawi, which was attacked by the Maute terror group in May 2017.
“I would say, physically there’s always a diminution in the many hours you can stay awake and the number of days you’re out in the field, inspecting public works and visiting military camps and all, and going to the fronts especially during the Marawi siege,” he recalled.
“I was there almost 10 times. I flew in there, stayed until midnight and flew out, so that’s where the things that I said, maybe the stress added to me,” the President added.
The December 13 to 16 survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 72 percent of adult Filipinos are “worried” about Duterte’s health.
Duterte is suffering from muscle spasms, chronic back pains, and migraines.
He also has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that weakens skeletal muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body.
The President also admitted earlier that he has Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
Duterte, despite his age and health problems, can still “effectively” fulfill his mandate as the country’s president, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday.
Fight vs. drugs, communism continue
In his remaining years in office, the President sought to continue the fight against illegal drugs and communism to protect the next generation.
“I fight the wars, and I want to end it now. And I want to end communism and I want to end drug problems, or at least reduce them to the barest minimum so that the next generation will not have so many problems to solve,” Duterte said.
“People should realize that it is in my generation, it is during my time that I should be doing things to protect (them), to make them easy,” Duterte added.
He also warned the public against “garbage that is being dished out” against him by some media outfits, like Rappler.
Duterte made the statement, in reaction to Rappler’s recent article that focuses on his joke to “eat” the ashfall and “pee” on Taal Volcano.
“I was there before they made the announcement that I did not go out. I was there two days earlier and then I went home to Davao to rest. When I came back last night, I went directly again to the evacuation areas,” he said.
“So do not believe that kind of garbage that’s being dished out by Rappler, which is an American CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)-funded news agency and which has been, well, they have not paid their taxes and we are questioning them because media must be 100 percent owned by the country, the Philippines,” Duterte added. (PNA)
By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA