Departure Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte before his visit to Brunei and China
Davao International Airport, Davao City
16 October 2016
Members of the cabinet who are here, Secretary Lopez; and si ating Brigadier General Casiano Monilla, my favorite general, sir—yes, sir, he used to be the Task Force Davao; and before that, the—I don’t know kung—; si Melyn nandito, Garcia? Is she coming with me to—sa China? There are a lot of—punta ka ng China? Ah, okay. Si Ms. Odang; my fellow workers; my countrymen.

I will depart today for Brunei, Darussalam to meet His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. We will discuss of further enhancing the special ties and reaffirm the enduring relation between our two countries and peoples.

I will seek to foster closer cooperation especially within the context of ASEAN. Among the priorities will be intensifying two-way trade and investments; developing our halal sector and MSMEs are points of discussion. Along with the growth and development, I shall seek to further strengthen joint resolve of securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

Brunei has always been a steadfast partner for peace. As the Philippines enters its important phases in our peace talks, Brunei will continue to play an important role. In the area of defense and security cooperation, I will seek collaborative undertakings in the sharing an expertise on maritime security, as well as capacity building. I will seek closer collaboration and mutual support in our campaign against illegal drugs and importance towards attaining our common goal of realizing an ASEAN drug-free community.

I am also to meet with the Filipino community. It will be an opportunity to thank them for their contributions to socio-economic development and to apprise them of developments here at home.

After Brunei, I will proceed to the People’s Republic of China where I will meet Xi Jinping, the President, and Premier Li Keqiang. I shall also meet National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang.

This is the first state visit of the Philippine President to Beijing since 2011, and signals a key turning point in both our histories. We’ll look forward to renewing the ties of friendship between the Philippines and China, and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples.

As we mark this year of the 41st anniversary of the establishment relations between China and the Philippines, we will look at the sum total of our relationships. We shall seek ways to strengthen cooperation, particularly to intensify two-way trade and investments. I look forward to exchanging views with the leaders of China on how we can further improve our bilateral relations. We can identify emerging areas of partnership and various fields of cooperation.

Upon my return, I will report on the gains that the Philippines achieved during the visits. In both these state visits, we will continue to espouse cooperation and collaboration with friendly nations on the basis of sovereign equality, non-interference and mutual respect.

In all my dealings, I will remain true to the constitutional mandate reposed on me to pursue an independent foreign policy and to uphold the national interest of the Philippines.

Daghang salamat. (applause)

I can take a few questions before I go.

Media is always entitled to the day …. Mahirap iyang—I do not want to leave issues hanging, tapos, better if I can answer it right now. There are areas of special concern and many are wondering how I would deal with China on the matter of the China Sea or West Philippine Sea. We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there. We continue to insist that that’s ours, and that the tribunal, international decision will be taken up and—but there will be no hard impositions. We will talk and we will, maybe, paraphrase everything in the judgment and set the limits of our territories, the special economic zones.

It will be no bargaining there. It is ours. And many of you are just wanting to ask the question. That is it. No bargaining of our territories whether within the 12 or the 200, it will remain special concern. And I will be very careful not to bargain anything for after all, I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any stretch of imagination.

There will be no—I said, hard impositions because this is a matter of international committee when you go there. You only want to talk. And remember there are only two options: We go to trouble or we talk. We cannot choose the path there in between.

Mayroong question ho?

SEC. ANDANAR : Mr. President, our first question is from Vina Araneta of ABS-CBN.
VINA ARANETA/ : Mr. President, good afternoon. We received po information
ABS-CBN that the Supreme Court might decide on Tuesday about the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. What can you say about that, Mr. President? Thank you very much.

PRRD : We will follow what the Supreme Court says, for after all, it is the Supreme Court who interprets the law and decide which of the public interests is served among the contending parties. My position is that, there is a law which grants Marcos a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. My position that as long as there is that law, it shall be followed. In the matter of the medals and heroism of the late Marcos, that is not the issue and that is to be resolved, maybe, in the generations to come.

It could not be decided on the group now which were actively and physically and emotionally involved in the issues that went past. We can never have a good reading of that. But what I must say now is that we have alienated the entire, almost entire, Ilocano people. We cannot just do that because we are all Filipino. And I hope that the Supreme Court will decide not on the emotion but, of course, we know that it will be all legal at the end of the day. What the Supreme Court will rule must be followed.

SEC. ANDANAR : The second, Mr. President, is from Ian Cruz of GMA 7.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7 : Good afternoon, Mr. President.

PRRD : Yes, sir.

CRUZ : Sir, according to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, if you concede a sovereign claims over Scarborough shoal, you could be impeached. What’s your reaction, sir?

PRRD : He is correct. I would be impeached. It’s an impeachable offense. I do not fight with that statement. It’s all correct, it’s all legal and so, I agree with him. I said, we cannot barter which is not ours, belongs to the Filipino people. I cannot be the sole authorized agent for that is not allowed under the Constitution. Tama siya.

SEC. ANDANAR : Our third and last question, Mr. President, is from Gem Avanceña of TV5.

GEM AVANCENA : Sir, iyong Executive Order daw po sa nationwide smoking
TV 5 ban, for signature ninyo na po?

PRRD : Yes, it will be followed and the implementation will follow the Davao experience. If you want to smoke, find a place where it is allowed. Now, I’ve always been against even building a structure inside just to accommodate smoker. That ain’t the way. It must be out. It must not be in an enclosed cubicle inside the building. That is not good enough, the statistics would show that. There’s no debate on that, they will die of cancer if you continue to mess up with nicotine.

AVANCENA : Sir, how about po iyong firecracker ban naman po, do you have any plans about it?

PRRD : I am going to—next month, I’m going to have the Cabinet meeting next. I will allow a full economic—economic—kasi mawalaan ng negosyo, economic whatever, social, lahat na. So I would need the Cabinet to decide. It will be a Cabinet decision.