Duterte: ‘First family’ tag is passé
President Duterte does not want his immediate family to be referred to as the “first family” because, according to him, such a lofty honorific has no place in a democratic society.
In a speech during the inauguration of the improved Davao River Bridge on Thursday, the President said the term “first family” was already outdated.
“The term ‘first family’ is already passé, stale. You don’t use it in a democratic country. Don’t use that term ‘first family, first family.’ There’s no such thing as a first family,” the President said in Filipino.
The President’s remarks came after he fired Assistant Transportation Secretary Mark Tolentino, who allegedly talked to one of the President’s sisters about a railroad project in Mindanao.
Tolentino publicly apologized to the President after mentioning the his family in a press briefing earlier this month.
In his speech in Davao City on Thursday, the President stressed his dislike of the term “first family,” saying it tended to make other families less important.
“All Filipinos are considered the first family. And it is in utter bad taste to use [‘first family’],” he said.
The President said he was not being a killjoy by shunning honorifics, pointing out that the Philippines has a democratic, republican type of government.
“It’s not that I am trying to be corny about it. But I think that at this time, we’re in a democracy, it’s a republican form of government. Everybody is important here,” he said.
During his first month in office, the President issued a directive for him not to be addressed as “his excellency” and the members of his Cabinet as “honorable” in official communication.
In a memorandum he issued in July 2016, the President said he should be addressed only as “President” and Cabinet members, “Secretary.”
But government agencies and offices, at their discretion, may use the term “honorable” in addressing top officials in internal communication and documents.
Previously, the President said he preferred to be called “Mayor” rather than “President” by the members of his Cabinet and other government officials because he had served longest as mayor of Davao City.
On Thursday, the President noted that he never referred to his official residence and principal workplace as “Malacañang Palace” or the “Palace.”
“I just say, ‘my office.’ See me at my office. Go to my office,” he said.
Neither does he refer to government officials as “officials,” preferring to call them his “colleagues in government” or “government workers.”
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