Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during 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 the Representatives; Chair Maria Serena Diokno, National Historical Commission of the Philippines; Mayor Laarni Cayetano, ma’am, good morning; General Ricardo Visaya and other members of the 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 full discussion of our national heroes. But one I consider myself among the top was the late Justice Jose Abad Santos. He was taken prisoner by 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 does not make any difference. There are no people here. We are in a prisoner’s camp, and 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 could—how would I have desponded 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 have been your President for just a few months, and I have tried 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. Before my inauguration, a man in a hurry and wanted 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 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. They’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 disadvantage now; things that would create disorder and disturb the peace. We have a drug crises that some of our fellow citizens consider just a police problem, and 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 three million Filipinos addicted to shabu – the meth. And in the ensuing months, when I took over, we had a fairly 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 or something like 700,000. So you have 3,700,000 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 hospitable beds of that number. Simply cannot be done.

I said, well, he is poor and you know, whether he’s been selling and destroying the lives of people just so but, you know, he is a poor so it is the poor now that want special privilege because they have been attacking worst. So where are the big fish? You know, time and again I told you, I hope this matter can enter the grey matter between your ears — kung may utak ka — they are now no longer here. They are no longer here, but they continue to play the game.

What we have on the level of the streets are the lieutenants at saka iyong 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 three million seven hundred thousand addicts, and 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 have a fix every—that is why they go around killing people. And when they go skunked in their brain, they rape children, they kill them, rob. And these statistics, were they ever 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 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. You know, I do not simply disagree with you. I consider the fight against drugs a war. There’s a crisis in this country – it’s 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 bruted 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 then protecting the drug syndicates in this country. I’m placing per head, two million. And if you there you might want to (applause) ipagbili mo na iyong mga kaibigan na iyon. I want them; I want the police and the Armed Forces to destroy the drug apparatus in this country. We are a transhipment 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 transhipment. If I could just have the matrix there in front of you, then maybe you’d start to believe in me.

I have the 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 is really the—with a 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. (applause) 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 if—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, France, the only elected leader is the — aside from nationally — is 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 in to 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 these children and our children would all prove on it. But at this time, it would be good to have a federal system, because it — the present unitary type — has done us no good. It is an unfair thing; it’s the same office, Malacañan. That is why I kind of—I do not say Malacañan. I just say the People’s Palace. Sometimes they call it Malacañang.

The word Malacañan is one of the vestiges of imperialism. I am not comfortable with it actually. And they should understand when I say I never… I do not ever mention Malacañan. I just say it’s a People’s Palace. It is the People’s Palace actually. Ayaw kong gamitin iyan—

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 witnesses and if you have the witnesses on your side at the time, it might be okay. And 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 be day—there 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 Philippines, 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 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 am concerned, if you are with the government, if you are with the law enforcement and you start to… then I will not allow you be buried here, no such thing. I’ll burn you at the cremation. Strong words, there is no bravado in it except the sincerity. You know, I do not want to repeat this kind of —

But when I was Mayor of Davao City, and I was for 23 years, four years as the Vice Mayor of my daughter and three years as Congressman, three years as a—- when I became Mayor in 1988, it was at the crossroads of the lifting of martial law. Cory 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 did not bother to move, they die.” That is 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 is always something to pay. There’s always a drawback in this planet. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. And I said pity the guys are there already in the graves, so be it. I will be happy to join them, no problem about that. Prison? No problem, I will go to prison. I would not even ask for a special room, just give a bed with a foam, and give me something to read. There’s so many book, its piling up and I have not really had the chance to read them all.

So do not scare me about human rights… those guys are there— genocide? Ba’t sino ba ang pinatay ko? Wala naman akong pinatay na bata. I did not drop barrel—just like—name them, asan? And ther’s idiots there in— I do not burn women because they refused to have sex. I simply want the law abiding and God-fearing citizens of this country, comfortable, period. 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 nor 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. Wag n’yo akong takutin iyong mga UN… crimes against…you must be crazy. Genocide? I am fighting against criminal.

From here, I will fly to Samar. Why? Because I have to commiserate with the family of Gary… I forgot his name, he is a policeman and he was also killed. It’s two soldiers or police a day for me, pagkatapos lilipad naman ako. We are doing all right with the Abu Sayyaf.

So that we go back to my premise of the speech. The problem is: terrorism and drugs. What’s onfronting America? Terrorism and drugs. Here, it could be China, there is an insurrection there. Thailand, and they are blowing up. Turkey is on the state of… on the edge right now. So if you just think of just, you know, arresting them and—hindi uubra iyan. Kaya iyong mga sundalo, pati pulis, remember this: mahal ko kayo.

Kaya lahat ng binigay ninyo—mabuti na—copying. I was just lost my—practice even when I was in grade one, that is why I always passed but only the 75 level, because I usually copy. All study, no play, very bad.

This was handed to me by Secretary Diokno. He was a very—I think, he’s the best there ever was—he is the—as Budget Secretary. And so in public I’d 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 crave for loyalty or somebody to nurture personal loyalties to me, this is not a dictatorship. I’m going. And I said you can have the—if you can perfect the federal system three years from now — I have six years — I will retire and I will 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, that it was Duterte who gave the order. But we have 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 join the other side, because you will be the first in the list. Kayo ang mauna.

Now, for those who were not paid by the previous administrations, actually all of them, for release is P4.7 billion for the payment of the total administrative liability/arrears of widows and deceased of World War II veterans (applause) and AFP retirees who are 80 years old and above, the amount is appropriated in 2016 budget but not released by Aquino, talagang iyong pangalan niya—never mind him, eh dumaan na siya eh, he is longer — 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. Be careful if you are not loyal to your wives, she might be joining the P3.5 billion for the widows. And if I were the wife, I’d think again now there is P3.5 billion waiting for me. And P1.2 billion for the AFP retirees. So okay na ba iyan? Kulang pa daw, sir. So it will be released as soon as possible.

For the—God forbid that you are the recipient, God forbid. But automatic from my social fund, it’s automatic P250,000. Hindi iyan kasali sa mga ano-ano ninyo, that is purely from me, sa Office of the President. And the 20,000 to immediately get hold of the money and … you know, Filipinos, they have this habit. I’ll just share with you the idiosyncrasies of the Filipino. I do not know where they got it but—maybe, I am 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 the buried. So on the 9th day. So first, you are poor — in the rural areas, you have to sponsor a dinner/lunch for the nine days of wake. They seem cannot part with their loved ones, but that is a culture which has to be corrected. You know little by little iyan.

It’s deeply rooted and you know, in our religion and… though it is not a good one. And also with the birth or family planning. I will push it hard, really hard, we need the family planning and we need to rationalize everything there.

So, I would like to thank all of you, specially the Diplomatic Corps for sharing this moment with us and we are all very happy. We have this problem now. China it’s not worth the—I don’t go to war. So if I do not—there is always war and peace. If I am not ready for war, then peace is the only thing. I will keep silent now — and the Ambassador is there — but I would state my case before you men. 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 proposed 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 is 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 too much superiority, but 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 are almost really… that is why they are there because they are poor. And I know the dynamics inside China — it has been explained to me very well but the Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos.

For, after all, I come from… there is a Chinese blood in me. So I hope that you treat us as your brother not your enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens.

Maraming salamat po.