Speech: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte During The Commemoration Of The National Heroes Day

[Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City | 29 August 2016]


Thank you. Kindly sit down.

Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo; Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other members of the Cabinet; Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps; members of the Senate of the Philippines; members of the House of Representatives; Chair Maria Serena

Diokno, National Historical Commission of the Philippines; Mayor Lani Cayetano, ma’am good morning; General Ricardo Visaya and other members of the [inaudible], major service of commanders; General Ronald dela Rosa and other officers of the Philippine National Police; officers and members of various veteran organizations; officers and men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; fellow workers in government; my beloved countrymen.

It’s quite vague to me now but we had a full discussion of our national heroes. But one I consider among the top was the late Justice Jose Abad Santos. He was taken prisoner by a war then in our country and it was in Malabang, where he was made to swear to the allegiance of the flag of the opposite forces, the enemy, and he refused and his son began to cry and said,

“Father, why don’t you just make a salute? It doesn’t make any difference. There are no people here, we are in a prisoner’s camp. You can do it without losing honor for you are under threat and under duress.”

You know, from the books that we were lectured on, his answer to his son was, “Son, do not do that to me because not everyone is given a chance to die for his country.”

I may be insignificant in this country. I am not a splendid politician but how I wish I could hear from my son the same pleading and how I would I have responded the way the Chief Justice said before he died.

One of the heroes that I really and really, nobody or not everybody is given a chance to die for his country. I had been your President for just a few months and I will try my best to restore order in the country.

It was really the order that was besetting us day-in, day-out and because we have so many fronts to face. I was, before my inauguration, a man in a hurry and wanted the peace talks to start at the very first year of my term and I’m just a bit happy but not so that we have been able to establish a working relationship about peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

I was informed by our representatives Dureza and Bello, and here with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jun Yasay, that everything is going smoothly and we might hear some definite results in the coming months before December. I pray to God that it would continue as peacefully as we have hoped for and I hope that I would also have the same success.

We have established the modality of the talks and I would like to salute Murad of the MILF and Nur Misuari for expressing his intention to join us, maybe in one place or different settings, whatever it is, it is good for me as long as we talk.

So now, we have a lull in the three fronts that we really have been fighting ever since. We’re talking with the Communists now, maybe establish a modus vivendi somewhere with the MI and MN and let’s begin to talk about peace.

I really appreciate all the men and women connected with this enterprise and I hope someday, the Philippines would realize a nation really in peace and everything in order.

But there are many things also that places us at a disadvantage now. Things that would create disorder and disturb the peace. We have a drug crisis that some of our fellow citizens consider just a police problem. It even went to the extent that it is an ailment and that because it’s an ailment, the punitive action of the police should not take place. I am sorry for my country for there are citizens really that fall short of grasping a situation here.

Two years ago, PDEA, which was then under General Santiago, came up with a horrifying statistics that there are 3 million Filipinos addicted to shabu, the meth. And in the ensuing months when I took over, we had a very good and accurate count, some of them undergoing the urine test to test positive and they numbered 600,000.

Now, if you add that to the earlier prediction of PDEA, add it a little bit of growth, at a very liberal and conservative increase, incremental increase of something like 700,000 so you have 3.7 million Filipinos who are addicted to meth. The problem is the eternal fight between the rich and the poor and this, you know, strife was injected almost into the level of a contentious issue about drugs. They would want to make it appear that just because this guy is poor and therefore, he should not be made accountable to law but placed in a hospital.

And even if we wanted to, we do not have the hospital beds of that number. It simply cannot be done. I said, what, he is poor and you know, whether he has been selling and destroying the lives of people, just so but you know, he is poor so it is in the poor now that want respect and privilege because they have been attacking, “So where are the big fish?”

You know, time and again, I told you. I hope this matter can enter the gray matter between your ears. Kung may utak ka. They are no longer here. They are no longer here but they continue to play the game. What we have on the level of this stage are the lieutenants at saka yung mga basurero. The only problem now is that, a few months before I started, the players involved the law enforcement agencies of our country and that makes us very very sad. And that is why there is the ready explanation of why so many. You can just imagine a country with 3.7 million addicts and they say they are just users. My God! If you are a user, you are a pusher.

You have to connect somebody to finance because you have to fix every— that is why they go around killing people and when they go skunk in their brain, they rape children, they kill them, rob, and these statistics were never brought up to these people crying about justice. My God! If you want justice to be done, it has to be against everybody.

You know, do not give me that— that just because he is poor, he has to earn, he has to sell shabu. That act does not really matter to some because they should be protected. I do not simply disagree with you. I consider the fight against drugs a war. There’s a crisis in this country. These drugs. We might still end up like the South American countries and their fractured governments.

I am declaring war, I am not ordering the police to just a few punitive action that’s why it was not me or I that declared the drug problem and placed it at a level as a national security threat. It was President Arroyo then who was so worried about the problem that she raised it to the level of, as a national security threat and therefore, calling the Armed Forces to do something about it also. But it was not just being brought that, well, usually the Army does not… You know, if the military will not do its part and leave it to the police alone, we cannot ever ever suppress drug problem.

It has infected every nook and corner of this country involving generals, mayors, governors, barangay captains and so many of the ninjas, they call them. These are the police who are into it.

So today, I might be inclined to place a reward on their head, the members of the ninja or members of the police who are there protecting the drug syndicates in this country. I am placing per head P2-million. And if you are there, you might want to — ipagbili mo na yung mga kaibigan na ‘yan. I want them— I want the police and the Armed Forces to destroy the drug apparatus in this country.

We are a transshipment of so many countries. I just, for a matter of courtesy, in front of the Diplomatic Corps, I might just do it some other time. But we all know that the Philippines is also a transshipment. If I could just have the matrix here in front of you, then maybe you’ll start to believe in me. I have this sworn duty. I am no big politician. I am just a mayor of a far-away city in the south just facing Australia and on a clear day, you can see the Australians swimming there in their beach.

I came from that place and I was not even a national figure, but what brought me to the presidency, I really do not know. What gave me, what is really the— with the huge 15 million, six million of which was really the margin above my closest opponent.

So what is the message of the Filipino? Well, I conducted a very simple campaign. When I said, “My countrymen, if given a chance by God and the Filipino people, I would destroy corruption in government and it will be done whether they like it or not, it will be a clean government at the end of the day.”

I said I will fight criminality and drugs. Most of the criminal acts are really on the account of the drug menace. So I will not relent, the campaign will be continuous and I will be, as I have said in the campaign rallies all over the country, I will be harsh as I can ever be.

When you fight a war, do not give me— I will finish this problem of corruption, drugs and crime and I hope at the end of my term and even— I’ve been telling Congress, “Hurry up the Federal system” because I said, you follow the country with the presidential office because that would hold together the country. For example, like France, the only elected leader is the, aside from nationally, it’s the President. He has a very limited power but powerful ones.

Powerful statements but very limited. Do not ever commit the mistake, Filipinos, of going into a pure Parliament. It would be disaster for this country. Somebody should hold the Armed Forces and the Police to control the country. In the meantime that we march forward to the progress to the next century and after this, children and— our children will improve on it but at this time, it would be good to have a federal system because the present unitary type has done us no good.

It is an unfair thing, it’s the same office, Malacañan, that’s why I kind of, I do not say “Malacañan,” I just say, “The People’s Palace.” Sometimes, they call it “Malacañan.” The word “Malacañan” is one of the vestiges of imperialism. I’m not confortable with it, actually and they should understand when I say I do not ever mention “Malacañan,”I just say it’s the “People’s Palace.” It is the People’s Palace, actually.

Ayokong gamitin ‘yang ano, so I do not want to take much of your time. I dedicate again in front of the brave Filipino soldiers who died for us and we continue to honor them and this message I have imparted to the military and the police very clearly: You will have my support. You will have all the things that you need to fight criminals. Do not worry. In the pursuit of law and order, pursuant to my directions, you do not have to worry about criminal liability. I will go to the prison for you, I take full, legal responsibility.

You just do it according to the books, there will always be witnesses and if you have the witnesses on your side at that time, it might be okay. If there is none and you are already pressed down, then do not worry. Just call my name and I will be there to protect you.

But for those in government, the police, the corrupt police and the corrupt judges and the corrupt prosecutors: there will be a day of comeuppance. There will always be a day of reckoning. I hope. I said, we do not want violence, nobody does. We cannot build a country over the bones of our own citizens. But, my God, maybe far and wide in the history of this country, you might not really be meeting someone next time or at all. The kind of mindset that I have. My country first. Do not destroy the Filipinos. As it is, you had drug and criminality has destroyed a part of this generation, our children. You do not hit them hard because the corrosive money is— effect of money corrupts everybody there. You’d be surprised the generals and all, bantay kayo diyan talagang matindi ito. But as far as I’m concerned, if you are with the government, if you are with the law enforcement and you start to— then — I will not allow you to buried here, no such thing, I’ll burn you at the cremation.

Strong words, there’s no bravado in it except the sincerity. You know, I do not want to repeat this kind of a… But when I was mayor of Davao City, and I was for 23 years, four years as the vice mayor of my daughter and four years— three years as a congressman, three years as… When I became mayor in 1988, it was at the cross roads of, the lifting of Martial Law. For I won and there was so much disorder in my city, and I just simply said, “To the hold-uppers, to the drug syndicates, to the criminals, please leave my city. If you do not leave my city, I will kill you. And for those who who did not bother to move, they die. That’s an open confession.

I have not reached that point but maybe if you are the persistent, you still find drug a viable economic livelihood, then there’s always something to—- there will always be a drawback in this planet. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I said that, “If the guys are there already in their graves, so be it.”  I will be happy to join them, no problem about that.

Prison? No problem. I will go to prison. And I would not even ask for special room, just give me a bed with a foam, give me something to read. There are so many books, it’s piling up and I have not really had a chance to read them all. So do not scare me about human rights. Those guys… Genocide, ba’t sino ba ang pinatay ko? Wala naman akong pinatay na bata, I did not drum—drop barrel–just like al-Assad and the idiots there in… I do not burn women because they refuse to have sex. I simply want the law-abiding and God-fearing citizens of this country comfortable, period. No, they are not molested, they can go about anywhere in town; the streets are for their children, they should come home safe and sound; that they are not held up, no hold up, no nothing. We will reach that point. You have to remove me as President, or pray that I will die in the meantime, with no resurrection [laughter].

Huwag niyo na akong takutin niyang UN crimes and … you must be crazy. Genocide, I’m fighting against criminals. From here, I will fly to Samar. Why? Because I have to commiserate with the family of Gary– forgot his name. He’s a policeman and he was also killed. There a lot… It’s two soldiers or police a day for me. Pagkatapos lilipad naman ako, we’re doing alright with the Abu Sayyaf. So that we will go back to my premise of the speech.

The problem is terrorism and drugs. It’s confronting America— terrorism and drugs. Here, it could China, there an insurrection there; Thailand and they’re blowing up; Turkey is on the state of, on the edge right now. So, if you’ll just think of just, you know, arresting them and— hindi uubra ‘yan.

Kaya ‘yung mga sundalo pati pulis, remember this, mahal ko kayo. Lahat ng binigay ninyong, ‘yung I’m not that so, mabuti nga, copying. I was, this lost my… practice even when I was in grade one. So I always pass but only the 75 level. Because I usually copy. All study, no play: very bad.

This was handed to me by Secretary Diokno. He’s a very, I think he’s the best there ever was in his, in the, as Budget Secretary. And so, publicly, I would like to thank you sir for accepting my offer to join the Cabinet, I really appreciate it very much. And also I might announce that I’m appointing, most of my appointees are really military men but not because of anything.

I do not pay for loyalty or somebody to nurture personal loyalties to me. This is not a dictatorship. I’m going, and I said they can have the, if you can perfect the federal system three years from now. I have six years. I will retire. And I’ll give way because I cannot be a candidate of an office that was created during my term.

So I would be totally out of the picture and I would gladly step down, no problem about that. And if there’s the liability of so many military men, just point it out. But it was Duterte who gave the order.  That we had to defend ourselves because we have the widows and children to worry kung ang kalaban mauna. Go ahead, just do your work, but do not, please do not, do not join the other side, because you’ll be the first in the list, kayo ang mauuna.

Now for those who were not paid by the previous administrations, actually all of them, for release is P4.7—P4.7 billion for the payment of the total administrative liability TAD arrears of widows and deceased World War II veterans. And AFP retirees who are 80 years old and above, the amount is appropriated in 2016 budget but not released by Aquino. Well nalagay ‘yung pangalan niya, never mind him. Eh dumaan na siya eh, it’s no longer his problem.

The joint IRR to implement the release has been signed by Secretary Diokno and Secretary Lorenzana. P3.5 billion for the widows [applause]. Be careful if you are not loyal, if you’re not loyal to your wives, she might be joining the P3.5 billion for the widows. And If I were the wife I will think again now, there’s P3.5 billion waiting for me. And P1.2 billion for the AFP retirees [applause], so okay na ba yan? Kulang pa daw, sir. So it will be released as soon as possible, ‘yung for the, God forbid that you are the recipient, God forbid.

But automatic from my social fund, it’s automatic P250,000. Hindi ‘yan kasali sa mga ano-ano ninyo. That ‘s purely from me, sa Office of the President. So, and the P20,000 to immediately get hold of the money.

You know, Filipinos, we have this habit, just to share with you the idiosyncrasies of the Filipino. I do not know where they got it but nine, I said maybe, I’m not trying to offend anybody. But the practice is for nine days, if you die here, the practice is nine days before you can be buried so on the ninth day.

So first, you are poor. In the rural areas, you have to sponsor a dinner, lunch for the nine days of wailing. They seem to cannot part with their loved ones. But that is a culture which has to be corrected, you know little by little yan. It’s deeply rooted in the, you know, religion and, though it’s not a good one. I mean, and also with the birth of family planning, I will push it hard, really hard. We need family planning and we need to rationalize everything there. So I’d like to thank all of you, especially the Diplomatic Corps for sharing this moment with us and we are all very happy.

We have this problem now. China, it’s not worthy, I don’t go to war. So if I do not, there’s always war and peace. If I am not ready for war then peace is the only means. I’ll keep silent now, and the Ambassador is there. But I will state my case before your… I will never bring the matter because it might lead only to the suspension of the talks with China and that is not good, Mr. Ambassador.

So I propose that we just have a soft landing everywhere. I will not use the judgment arbitral now, but I would one day sit in front of your representative or you and then I will lay bare my position and I would say that this paper I cannot get out of the four corners of this document and that’s just the arbitral judgment.

But for now, Mr. Ambassador, I want to just talk to you for the moment. Maybe give us time to build our forces also [laughter]. You have so much superiority but if it comes to a parity between, as many ships as you have, maybe just maybe, but if we continue and treat each other with brothers and understand, especially the plight of the fishermen and they’re almost really, that’s why they are there because they are poor. And I know the dynamics inside China, it has been explained to me very well. But if we’ll not be, the Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos. After all, I come from— there’s a Chinese blood in me, so I hope that you treat us your brothers, not your enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens.

Maraming Salamat po.