MANILA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte renewed his commitment to fight poverty, illegal drugs, and corruption as he graced the book launch of former President Fidel V. Ramos on Sunday, October 14, at the Manila Hotel.
“It is my pleasure to have been invited by President Ramos to give this keynote message on the launching of his book “Prosper Thy Neighbor.” Indeed, we all want not only the Filipinos but our countrymen to be in a comfortable place,” President Duterte told former President Ramos.
“This is, indeed, another milestone in his brilliant and [prolific] writing career and one that is surely to inspire all of us for a long time. Please stay around for another 100 years. We need you,” he added.
“Prosper Thy Neighbor” is a compilation of speeches, essays, anecdotes, and editorials written by the former leader underscoring the role of a president as the “skipper” or “captain” of the country—the one person who can unite the nation in resolving pressing issues that confront the Filipinos.
The book also offers valuable insight into the role of the Philippines in achieving the objectives set for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which are centered on eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development worldwide.
“Mr. President, I assure you that this administration is exerting its efforts — ultimate efforts — even utmost in making more progress to achieve these development goals not just because it is mandated by the UN, but more importantly, because it is for the good of the nation, the Republic of the Philippines,” President Duterte said.
“This is why we have made great strides — and we remain unrelenting — in our efforts to address the root causes of poverty and hunger, unemployment, corruption, criminality, dangerous drugs, endemic disease, environmental degradation, and climate change,” he added.
At the same time, the President said the Philippines remains firm in preserving its diplomatic relations with its traditional allies and the international community as long as it is consistent with its national interest.
“It is under this paradigm that the Philippines continues to do its part in global cooperation against the universal problems that plague the world today,” he noted.
Toward the end of his remarks, President Duterte congratulated his “idol” for the successful book launch, and he also wished the former President good health and greater success.
“We will be forever grateful for your uplifting leadership and for your selfless service to the nation. Sir, my salute,” President Duterte told FVR.
President Duterte Intends To Distribute Lands to Indigenous Peoples of Boracay
Meanwhile, President Duterte signified his intention to go to Boracay Island, though not to attend the most anticipated reopening of the famous tourist destination, but to distribute lands to the indigenous peoples there.
“Eh sabi nila bukas mag-inaugurate. Sabi ko, I will go to Boracay but I will go to distribute the lands given to the Atis. I’m not into sumptuous celebration,” he said.
“But I will go to Boracay to personally distribute the land reform program certificates to the Lumads there, the natives,” he added.
“Maganda na kasi daw ang Boracay eh. And I saw the footages sa TV. And I hope, now that it’s clean, it has been eradicated of the bacteria, the huge bacteria there,” he continued.
Boracay Island will reopen on October 26, after a six-month clean-up and rehabilitation ordered by President Duterte.
The Chief Executive, however, was firm that he wouldn’t be present during the reopening of the island.
“So hindi ako pupunta doon but I’ll go there someday. I’m waiting for the Department of Agrarian Reform. Para sa akin, mas importante ‘yan. I am through with the dramas and show-offs. I’m stuck with my term, and I do not have to go politicking,” he noted.###PND