Veteran photographer who covered Duterte since 1986: “He has soft heart despite rough image”

Veteran photojournalist Rene Lumawag wasone of the people who can state that he saw the ascent of President Rodrigo Duterte. A report by Steve Dailisan on GMA-7’s “24 Oras” on Thursday said that Lumawag has been following Duterte since he filled in as Davao City Vice Mayor in 1986, winning him years and boxes of photographs of the following most influential man in the Philippines.

Having pursued Duterte for three decades, Lumawag has been acquainted with Duterte’s idiosyncrasies and decision of closet and partners, and love for weapons.He said that Duterte has never been fond of wearing Barong Tagalog. He has always been a polo shirt kind of guy.

The photojournalist said that Duterte spent his time as Mayor going within and with lumads.

“Mapapansin mo agad sa kanya, umiikot siya eh. Umiikot siya. Sosyalan, sa mga slums, ganoon. Kung may problema, nandoon siya, kung may sunog,” Lumawag said. Of all the activities of the Davao City Mayor that he covered, he can never forget the time when Duterte offered himself to hostage-takers for the release of the victims. The incident happened in Compostela Valley.

“Siya ang nagpa-hostage na isama iyong mga hostages sa siyudad, dito sa downton, sa [Davao] City Hall,” Lumawag recalled.

Lumawag also said that Duterte has a soft spot, despite his rough ways and foul mouth.

“Alam ko ang pagkatao niya eh. Ayaw niya ng bad guys. Mahal niya ang mga good guys. At binibigyan niya ng konsuelo iyong mga magagaling, mababait,” he said. With only a few days left before Duterte’s inauguration on June 30, looks like Lumawag is no longer covering a local chief executive. He is following Duterte to the Malacañan Palace.

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