MAGANES: Duterte bars use of ‘honorables.’ display of government portraits

July 23, 2017 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

 vir maganes

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government officials to stop calling themselves “honorables” and the hanging of their photos in government offices.

 These two orders, if we take them seriously, will give more respect to our officials. They are supposed to serve the public and not to be looked up to as special persons in our communities.

 In his speech during the oath-taking of new government officials last July 17 in Malacañang, Duterte opined that politicians and government officials should be addressed simply as “mister” or “miss”. He said, ” Sa aking panahon, wala yong honorable, honorable. Hindi ka naman nanalo ng eleksyon  kung hindi kita kinarga. Napaka-corny ninyo.”

President Duterte when he was a mayor of Davao City never allowed himself to be addressed as “honorable.” Now that he’s President, he also requested that he will not be addressed as ” His Excellency.”

I am amused by these orders of President Duterte. This is the first time that a sitting President in our country has thought of this. To some, it maybe considered as mundane, not important and silly notions.

However, on second thought, the orders are relevant these days where politicians and other government officials think of themselves as “gods” because of their positions. They think more of themselves as peoples to be adored and respected.

 The word “honorable” has been misplaced according to Duterte. How can these officials be “honorables” when their public lives are into corruption? Their political positions have either been bought or were products of intimidation.

 There are many politicians who are fond of placing the word “honorable” before their names. I know some politicians who would not sign any public document if they see that their names are not preceded with that word.

 With that order, perhaps many politicians and government officials are now in deep thinking if they will heed President Duterte. Even barangay (village) officials are banned from using “honorables” before their names or addressed as such. It’s a pride for them to be addressed as such but we have to look also on their performance as public officials.

This reminded me of Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio “Bobom” Perez IV who is a low profile public official. His humility can be traced on his “name rack” placed on his table where simply “public servant” is written below his name.

I have seen also many chiefs of police who use “public servant” written below their names on their “name racks” without their positions. Isn’t it wonderful if we consider our public officials and politicians as public servants? After all, they are there to lead, inspire and serve the people.

 How about the displaying of portraits of politicians and government officials in their offices? President Duterte is keen on releasing an order to ” bar government offices from displaying portraits of himself and other government officials.

He wanted portraits of heroes to be displayed instead. Duterte said  children should emulate the lives of national heroes and not the lives of politicians who are indicted with graft and corruption cases.

If we visit government offices these days, portrait of President Duterte is prominently displayed on the walls behind the tables of government officials and politicians. In municipalities, his portrait is followed by the portraits of the governors and the municipal mayors.

  On this, President Duterte urged the officials to remove these portraits which he said should be displayed at the salas of their homes. When he was still the mayor of Davao City, he also barred displaying his portrait in his office and ordered his staff to display the portraits of national heroes.

The orders of President Duterte might not be acceptable to many government officials and politicians. But this man knows the importance of public service more than personal aggrandizement.

 President Duterte’s message is clear. Government officials and politicians should perpetuate themselves in history by serving the people well. Public service is a legacy that could be remembered well by the people and not by the address “honorables” and the the portraits that are displayed in offices.

 Why not bar also the printing of calendars with photos of politicians and government officials? We know that these printed calendars are funded by government funds.

 If how and when these orders of President Duterte will be fully implemented, it will be worth waiting for. How many government officials and politicians will heed to these orders? We have to watch.

 (For comments and suggestions, email me at or at virgilmaganes42@gmail,com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at Read the online edition of Northern Watch at

Entry filed under: News.

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