Showbiz and public service do mix: The rise of the Republic Defenders

Do you ever wonder why Boracay got cleaned in three-month’s time? And Manila bay in a week’s time? Credit goes to the Republic Defenders – self-confessed supporters of the president of the land — who come from all walks of life. They come in groves and support/defend the president – people from all walks of life such as showbiz personalities, military men, businessmen, young professionals, millennials, students and ordinary citizens.

Some people call it a cult – DDS, Duterte fanatics, or die-hard supporters. The group admitted they once called Rodrigo Duterte for President. These people were responsible for the rise of Duterte as president. Today, they are still very much present to support him even in the performance of his duty. Now they call themselves the Republic Defenders.

One of them is businessman, movie producer Anthony Gedang. Tonet to most of his friends, Gedang was there, together with the Republic Defenders, in the midst of Boracay and Manila Bay clean ups.

What is a movie producer doing there? You may ask. Gedang owns a couple of business in the water and waste water industry and he served as consultant to the cleanup projects. In his personal capacity, he donated 2 million worth of communal septic tanks for the impoverished families living in the coastal area so as not to make the sea a huge, public cesspool.

With his companies, namely, Waterkonsult Equipment and Services, Inc., Envirokonsult Equipment and G-Konsult Water Inc., collecting and storing human waste and dirty water were made easier in both Boracay and the bay area.

Gedang is an environmentalist, artist and hobbyist as well. He adopted a 10-hectare watershed area at Ipo Dam, Norzagaray, and he established the AVGedang Foundation in 2016 in pursuit of his environmental concerns. A bonsai collector, he bagged various awards in the recent  Philippine Bonsai Society, Inc. (PBSI)  Exhibition recently held at SM North Edsa. He is also president of  Natural Stone Society of the Philippines. He sources his stone collection from his local and international travels. He has turned his home into a gigantic museum for his various collectionsof bonsai, stones, cactus, ikebana, koi, films, and from mountaineering activities.

Another Republic Defender is actor and Taekwando expert turned Makati congressman Monsour del Rosario. He was supposed to run as senator in the 2019 mid-term election but decided to go back to Makati instead as vice mayor. Taking cue from the president himself, his programs have always been focused to educational, medical, livelihood and sports for the citizens of Makati. For a first-termer public servant, Monsour has passed 51 bills for the first district of Makati which he served regardless of the constituents’ color and political affiliations. “I would always want to be the public servant for all just like we have Mr. Duterte as the president for all Filipino people,” said the Ilonggo actor. He added that he fully supports the war on drugs by the president saying “the Philippine cannot afford to be like a Latin American country where drugs is prevalent and almost legal. Drugs kill and we do not like it.”

Another Republican Defender is Mark Anthony (not his real name), a military man who works as taxi driver during his day off. Mark related to this writer that his group, mostly young militiamen, have been brain storming together with the government agencies concern to solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila. Among the remedies that have tried were the prohibition of cars with lone rider or driver only in EDSA, the ban on UV express, and the eventual phase out of jeepneys. “We will do a lot of experiments until such time we can solve the problem. Filipinos need just to cooperate,” he said.

Another popular Republican Defender is comedian Arnel Ignacio, actively campaigned for Duterte during the 2016 Presidential polls. He recently resigned from his post at theOverseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as deputy administrator to pursue other endeavors which could still help the president. He is currently filming movie for the OFW.

Of course, the most popular Republican Defender is no other than entertainers turned assistant secretary Mocha Uson. Who doesn’t know Uson by now who is seeking a partylist seat in the congress. The feisty woman for sure has caused headaches to many political protagonists of the president.





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