(Note from MindaNews: This is the official transcript of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech, released by the Presidential News Desk of the Presidential Communications Office)
Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk
DEPARTURE STATEMENT AND MEDIA INTERVIEW OF
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
BEFORE HIS STATE VISITS TO THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA, KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN AND STATE OF QATAR
[Delivered at Davao International Airport, Davao City | 10 April 2017]
Kindly sit down.
It’s hot. Tumatalab sa sapatos. Hindi kaya matunaw ‘yang eroplano?
Secretary of Labor and Employment Silvestre Bello III; Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo; and the other members of the Cabinet present; Congressman Aniceto Bertiz, the representative ACTS OFW party list; Ambassador Alan Timbayan [baka nandoon na]; Mayor Inday Sara Duterte- Carpio… Is my daughter here? I’d be most surprise if she’s here [laughter]; fellow workers in government; my beloved countrymen.
I’ll just read my speech. We are running out of time.
I leave today to embark on a mission to forge deeper and more meaningful and more positive engagements with the Middle East.
There is much at stake in the Philippines’ relations with the Middle East: It is the global center of traditional energy resources. It is a source of investments with potential [for] much growth. It is an expanding market for Philippine key political products and services. And, it is home to the largest group of Filipinos working overseas.
With shared strategic interests and deep and abiding ties that go above and beyond the formal relationships between States, the importance of reinforcing our country’s ties with the Middle East cannot be overstated.
The first leg of my trip will take me to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where I will have the honor of meeting His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
It is and will be an important and valuable opportunity to reaffirm a lasting friendship and seek ways [of] further broadening cooperation, particularly in politico-security and defense, trade and investments, anti-narcotics, labor, energy, education and culture.
From Riyadh, I will proceed to the Kingdom of Bahrain where I will have the opportunity to meet King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama.
With the special ties between our two countries, I shall seek to expand the frontiers of friendship and tap into the converging interests in order to intensify two-way trade and investments, seek greater politico-security cooperation and exchange to increase trade and commerce.
Following Bahrain, I shall proceed to Doha where I will meet Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha of the State of Qatar.
The third leg of my trip will be no less engaging. There is always much to explore to make the bilateral relations even more vibrant as they are. We will seek greater politico-security cooperation, collaboration in the field of health and culture. It is on top of this agenda of spurring two-way trade and investments.
This will be my first meeting with esteemed leaders of the States of the Gulf. I will seek their support for our efforts to bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao. I also look forward to exchanging views with them on regional security issues, promoting intercultural dialogue and the Philippines’ efforts at community building in ASEAN.
While in the Middle East, I will meet the Filipino communities. I am excited to see them and thank them for their support for our efforts to bring reform and change in our country.
As I have done in past visits, I will report the progress immediately upon my return to the Philippines.
Itong… Our people in Batangas is still reeling from the damage brought by the recent earthquake and reported incidents of collapsed walls of residential houses and buildings and landslide.
We are however relieved that no deaths have been reported despite the reported number of aftershocks.
The concerned citizens of government have immediately responded to give relief and ease the suffering of the affected residents by conducting evacuation, clearing of landslides along roads, and dispatching of ready-to-eat foods.
We are thankful to the national and local agencies for ensuring that the effects of disaster are mitigated.
While the assessment of damages by the provincial government still continues, I have directed the national agencies to accelerate the delivery of services and hasten the rehabilitation of the affected public infrastructures and utilities.
Rest assured, our government is on top of the situation. I have personally ordered that relief operations be undertaken immediately, to restore normalcy in the affected areas as soon as possible.
With what has transpired, I enjoin all Filipinos, let us always be prepared for disasters.
And now, I can maybe entertain 100 questions so that we will arrive on time in Riyadh.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Gusto ko Inquirer pati ABS-CBN.
Q: Mr. President, good afternoon. Sir, recently US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed on a 100-day plan that they’re going to tackle US-China trade relations as well as enhancing the military ties between the two countries. Would it affect your foreign policy towards the two countries or — ? And the next question, i-ano ko na lang, sir, ha para dire-diretso. Next is, US attacked Syria and Putin warned of a perhaps a renewed war because of the US attack against Syria. So what’s your take on this? And the third question is…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ano ba ‘to? Hindi pala question ‘yan?
Q: O sige, sir. Ano na lang, sir…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Your predicate is your question and the question is your predicate. So what is it?
Q: Tek, sir. Iyong sa ano, sir, ‘yung sa kay Trump at kay Xi, paano…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, that would be a welcome development. As a matter of fact, I’ve been praying that the two would get together and talk about really what’s — what ails this planet and talk about peace only and stop violence all over the world.
Dito sa ating… On the east side, there’s still a ruckus there and the parties in contention are China, Vietnam, it could be later on Indonesia, Taiwan. Now, they are trying to position themselves strategically and I’d like to address myself to the Chinese government and the… Kaibigan natin si Ambassador.
I ordered the occupation of the ten or nine islands that are just near our shores because there’s a heightening of the geopolitical issues and eventually maybe a violent low-intensity war over here.
Eh kung sa Africa ‘yun, wala akong problema. Eh kung sa Europe. But the problem is it in the China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.
At kung mag-upakan sila diyan, tayong walang — walang kamuwang-muwang, talagang matatamaan tayo kasi everybody knows that the United States have been stockpiling their weapons there.
And hindi ‘yan… Sabi nila, hindi raw. Pasalamat ako kung hindi because I do not want to get involved in a war between nations.
I have extended my hand and friendship to the Chinese government. Kindly, kindly take a deep look at the situation. Everybody’s grabbing every land, every islet and every whether man-made. And nearest to us are the ten islands and I have it on good authority. They are going to place there shoulder to — surface-to-surface and shoulder to air. ‘Pag ginawa ‘yan, either, either of this, including America, mapapasubo tayo ng mapalapit tayo nang palapit.
So for the information of China, we will not place there any offensive weapons not even one gun. We are just there to claim the island for us because that is really ours. And I have ordered the Armed Forces to build structures there to signify to all na atin ito at lagyan ng flag and structures.
We do not [mean harm] to China. We are friends, as a matter of fact. And maybe when we get rich, very rich, I can sell the land to you for — inyo na. When the spectacle of a war is gone nothing is dangerous to the Philippines.
But for as long as the ruckus continues and I said I have heard and believe me that may maglagay diyan ng mga battery of missiles, shoulder-fired to surface- to-surface. Hindi ako papayag niyan. Kaya sabi ko, occupy and claim it as ours.
China can relax. We are friends. We will not go to war with you. We’re just trying to maintain the balance of the geopolitical situation there.
Eh lahat kumukuha eh. Tapos those islands are vacant and with the developments of the fast rate of arms being placed there baka maunahan pa ako at mapapasubo ako.
But to all and sundry, ‘yang diyan na inoccupy natin atin na ‘yan, that’s ours and we’ll hang on to it. The Benham park, ‘yung — Benham Rise — on the other side facing Tuguegarao, that’s also ours.
And I will be signing an executive order maybe when I come back renaming it “The Philippine Ridge” or “The Philippine Rise”. Ridge mas maganda because it connects one to another at a certain — the claims sa loob ang ating continental ridge.
So ‘yan ang ano ko. I’m claiming both the ten or nine at saka ‘yung Benham Rise. I will rename it Philippine Ridge as our exclusive property.
Q: Sir, another question po. Sir, tanong lang po. Is the Duterte house or the Duterte Cabinet in shambles given that there is a perception of infighting among your closest of men?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, there is no… I’m sorry you have been informed like the fired… There is no infighting, there’s no ruckus there, there’s no trouble there.
I just don’t like people who are corrupt. Iyong babae, dadaldal. May nag-apply ng importation ‘no, ang balita with tara. Jason Aquino, he is a military man, actually he was the very first to come to Davao three years ago to urge me to run, inilagay ko siya diyan. Idineny (deny) niya. Of course, there was this loose talk about the offer per cavan. It was appealed to the… The higher office is really the Office of the President. Okay? It never reached my desk. I was not put on notice but I — I let the Cabinet decide it kung nasa cluster nila.
They overruled Jason, allowed the importation, and ito ‘yung babaeng si Valdez signed, approved the importation.
Alam mo hindi ‘yan inyo. When it is Office of the President, you meet there and make the recommendation, I will decide to grant or disapprove it, the appeal. Kasi ginanon. And the protocol, the procedure, the official procedure should be isauli mo sa akin ‘yan with the recommendation then I will sign it.
Q: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTRE: [inaudible] Sinabi ko sa iyo eh. You are not the Office of the President, why should you be… [Mayor magandang hapon po. Dumating rin. Muuban ka?]
When it is appealed to the Office of the President, from the departments, doon ‘yan sa agencies. If it is… You know ang intents sa ‘yung rice, NFA, is not under any department now, it was removed from the Department of Agriculture. Inilagay ‘yan sa Office of the President. So you do not have any authority signing lalo na with the…
And besides harvest time ngayon. Galing akong Nueva Ecija, the harvest is good, per hectare it’s three times the original output. Bakit ka mag-import ngayon ng bigas, i-compete mo ‘yung hindi… Patay ang farmers who would buy their — ?
So I am ordering the — si Jason Aquino sa NFA, kung may pera ka, you start buying. You buy the rice of the local producers if you really want a buffer. Unahin mo muna ‘yang atin, pabawiin mo ang mga farmers, then if there is a shortfall, you might decide to import.
In the meantime, when there is — may surplus, huwag ninyong kumpentisayahan ang mga farmers natin. Is that not crazy? Patayin mo ‘yung farmers dito?
You approved an importation. Eh ‘di bakit sabihin ko sa kanya, bilihin mo na lang ‘yang rice. Eh kung may pera si Jason Aquino, you buy the rice of the local planters. That is the proper way of governing a nation.
Q: Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Lage.
Isa pa ‘to. Maganda.
Q: Sir, my question is on terrorism. The US Embassy has just issued a travel advisory for its citizens saying and I quote, they received “unsubstantiated yet credible information that terror groups may be operating in Central Visayas” and may special mention po ang Cebu and Bohol. Do you have the same information and would you say that the people — ?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I have read it, not from the military but from the newspaper. And besides kaya natin. Kaya natin.
I remember I was talking to — before a crowd sa La Salle during the debates but nobody showed up and I was the only one. And I was asked this question: “How will I treat terrorism?”
And I said, “harshly”. I said, “harshly”. So sa kanila na ‘yan.
Q: Sir, nabanggit ninyo you read it? I mean what information do you have, sir? And would you say that people should refrain from travelling to Central Visayas?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Eh ang problema kasi nito is marami naman tayong mga kapatid na Moro na wala namang kakoneksyon-koneksyon diyan sa ano itong terrorism. But just because they are dressed in their native attire and they go about touring the Philippines, sometimes they are mistakenly identified.
I want to be sure. But if you remember of the Maute connected with the terrorist group of Abu Sayyaf, under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda or itong ISIS, ah ibang istorya ‘yan.
Pero I would like to advice my countrymen that the Moro people are our brothers and sisters.
And we should not be eternally forever be na parang matakot kayo. Mababait ‘yan, hindi lang ninyo kinakausap. Parang ano ‘yan sila eh ganon kasi akala nila galit tayo sa kanila. But you know they are all Filipinos like us. And we treat it as is.
But let me say it again harshly. At saka hindi ako magpalugi. I can do ten times better than you.
O the next question, Inquirer?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ang Inquirer may uta… No, no… ABS-CBN, inestafa ako niyan. ABS-CBN accepted my money kasi noong — the latter part of the campaign, doon pa ako nagkaroon ng pera ‘yung nag-hit ako ng… Wala mang nagbibigay sa akin, ‘di wala akong pambayad.
So when I got the money sa mga well- meaning supporters, nagbili ako ng airtime para naman masali ‘yung pangalan ko sa… Hindi lumabas. I paid. There’s not even an offer of you ABS to return my money.
Do you know what is the crime? I’ll tell you, it’s very simple, estafa. Tinanggap mo ‘yung pera ko, hindi ninyo in-air. It’s estafa.
And I remember one time, may noon show na bata pinasayaw ng nanay ‘yung bata hirap na hirap. He was perspiring and was about to cry or crying. Then you put to task the incident.
Sino ang pinagbintagangan ninyo? Ang idemanda ninyo? Iyong nanay. P******* i**** ABS-CBN, nagpalabas ng objectionable na child abuse. Nonchalant. Balewala.
Like Inquirer, ‘yung anak niyang si Briccio. [Bong, pahingi ng kopya.] He was receiving more than the President of salary of everybody DAP or UP. Two million eight… Anak ito, asawa…. Ang asawa nito anak ni Prieto. Ni wala akong narinig sa Inquirer na hindi maganda ‘yung nangyari. Tapos ‘yung taxes ninyo, nilakad ni Henares, it ended up wala kayong ibinayad.
Tapos sabihin ninyo, nasaan ang pera ng Pilipino? Bakit ‘to nagpapatayan na ang mga… Nagpapatayan ang mga Kadamay pati sundalo kasi nag-aagawan ng ano… Tama ang left. Somehow itong left nakakatama minsan.
There’s no need to increase the tax laws. All we have to do is to collect. Meron pa akong sabihin, pero huwag muna ngayon.
Ang salary ko as President 130,000 lang ako. Hindi ako nagpipirma ng — wala akong pinirmahang allowance or nothing, ‘yon lang.
Ito sa kanila, basic salary. Kayo na lang magbasa mapaiyak kayo — 2.4 million in compensation. According to the Commission on Audit, the Film Council chairman Briccio Santos, the son-in-law of Inquirer, in 2013 received 2.4 million in compensation, while it’s Executive Director Teodoro Granados and Jose Miguel Dela Rosa were paid 1.8 and 1.7, respectively.
The three film officers enjoyed higher salary grades than the leading educators like the President of the University of the Philippines Alfredo Pascual and also the President of the Development Academy of the Philippines Antonio Kalaw. Inyo ito… Ibigay niyo sa Inquirer. With all the journalistic hypocrisy all of you.
Sinong taga-Inquirer dito? O sa Inquirer ka man o, ibigay mo ito. Sino bang Inquirer ‘non? So, ikaw anong question mo?
Q: Going back po. I’m gonna just press on my topic earlier, sir. So contrary to what the US Embassy are saying, sir, for you, you’re saying that there is nothing to worry about for travelers?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes.
Q: Okay. In relations still, last ko na ‘to, sir, on terrorism.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Why should I worry about the Embassy? I should be worrying about my country, not the Embassy.
Q: Sir, last week, a Syrian couple was arrested in Taguig. I don’t know if you’ve been briefed about it. The female person arrested former husband — ex-husband po niya is reportedly an ISIS leader. I don’t know if you’ve been briefed about it, but have we already extracted maybe information from them on how maybe ISIS or any terror group is operating in the country?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I don’t know what you mean by extracted. Ang alam kong ini-extract ang tooth. May nakuha na ba kami ang tawag siguro information sa kanila kung merong totoo talaga o hindi.
Well, you know, if the — kung may mga abugadong napunta doon, I’m sure until now, they’re still trying to figure out how to investigate.
Especially kung magsabi sila that I need a lawyer. And they will not talk, so we will just have to respect that. Just like any other Filipino citizen in this country, he or she a Maranao, Maguindanao or Tausug, they enjoy the same rights.
Q: Very last. This is a follow up to your pronouncement earlier doon sa occupy po ng Pag-asa. Sir, can you clarify a bit on what you really mean by occupy the islands? Because as it sir, the AFP is already occupying those islands.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Not yet.
Q: What exactly do you want? What do you want to happen in those islands?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Structure and flag. The flag means it is already occupied. For all you know they are just fisherfolk there nagpa-parking. That’s why I’m now pronouncing the ownership of the islands. The Philippine Ridge, that is ours.
So it cannot be open to any further exploration. They’ll just have to get permission from us.
Q: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Iyon ‘yung isa o. Padaplin-daplin. Iyan ang Inquirer, ibigay mo. Inquirer ‘yan si Carol. Una ka. Sige, tingnan natin kung madepensahan mo ‘yan.
Q: I’m not connected with the Inquirer, Mr. President
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, I know.
Q: But the Constitution also guarantees freedom of the press. Anyway, may I ask my question now? Okay. MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari’s six-month provisional liberty is supposed to end by April 27. But his implementing panel has not met with the government panel formally. May I know what you and Chair Misuari talked about in your March 27 meeting? And are you going to call for a meeting of all the leaders of the Moro revolutionary fronts?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, of course.
Q: So that there will be only one Bangsamoro draft law to be certified?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That is what we want. Misuari has talked to me and he asked me to give him time to craft an agreement within the MN pareho rin sa MI so they can firm up their minimum barest demands within the infrastructure of federalism.
So wala ako. I know that he’s supposed to be in prison but you know at some point in time, Carol, we cannot be forever quarreling with our enemies.
These all… These things are almost 50 years ago — the communist front, the MI, MN.
So ang sinasabi ko sa kanila, ano ba mag-usap tayo? It’s been 50 years. Or we prepare for another 50 years of fighting. Ako I get sick in the stomach just thinking of it really. Makes me giddy.
Gusto ko makipag-usap para to end — to everybody’s satisfaction.
Q: So are you going to meet with all the Moro revolutionary leaders?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes.
Q: When will this be?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: The ideal is that meron si Misuari dito, meron ang MI, sila Murad. Then we meet government panel and we come up with one—
Q: One law?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: One consensus.
Q: So you will certify as urgent only one draft Bangsamoro law?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. Yes. You are correct there. Yes.
Q: So together na sila MN and the — ?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. I want the wars between the Filipinos ended. And you know besides, Carol, I cannot wage a war against my own people.
Q: Okay. Sir, ‘yung sa back to the BTC lang. You gave them a deadline of May 18 for submission to the Office of the President so you will be able to study before you submit to Congress.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes. Hindi akin ‘yan. It was not an imposition by me.
Q: That’s only about one month po from now…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: They were shooting the breeze at one time.
Q: And the Department of Budget has not released its budget po?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Baka mag-iba na naman ‘yung mukha ni Diokno. Kausapin muna natin kung may pera ba.
Q: Anyway. So may I go to my second and last question po. You signed on December 7, EO 10 on the Consultative Committee that will study the Constitution, made recommendations to Congress. But you have not named the 25 members. You were quoted in some speeches —
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I will not name them until I get the hard copy of the agreements between the… Lahat.
Q: So you said in your previous speeches na you will wait for the BBL, but you will also wait for the GRP-NDF peace agreement?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I have to look at the composition. You know the nuances, the bigotry, the penchant to — you know… So I have to select the men who will craft the Constitution vis-à-vis with the crowd here.
Because apparently, Visayas and Mindanao are not yet ready to understand fully or if at all, para mas marami, ‘di ‘yung mga lugar na walang alam, karamihan galing doon.
Tutal dito sa Mindanao area, we’re all agreed that we need a law.
Q: Sir, will you also be waiting for the substantial progress in the–?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Dalawang so-so na iyan. So kanina, ngayon so na naman.
Q: GRP-NDF po.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: What?
Q: Are you going to wait also for substantive progress in the GRP-NDF talks…
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes.
Q: Particularly on the Constitutional — political and Constitutional reforms agreement so that these can be incorporated in the consultative committee?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Look, ‘yung aspirations ng mga komunista and even if you look at it now, it’s really the same aspiration of all Filipinos, halos pareho.
We have to build our own industry. Sabihin nila, maraming mura ngayon. Mura ngayon kung magkagulo ang mundo saan tayo magkuha ng steel natin? We steal? Mangawat ta or we make our own? So those are the things that they are asking to which I fully agree.
Q: So more or less when would the 25 members be named?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: O kayo man ang komunista, ‘di magrekomenda kayo ng inyo.
Q: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Totoo man.
Q: Hi sir, good afternoon. I only have two questions po regarding your visit sa Middle East. Sir, kasama po ba sa mga posibleng mapag-usapan ‘yung mga kababayan natin na nasa death row doon? Mabibigyan po sila ng pardon or commutation of sentence?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, they’ve been given the clearance. I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito dala ko na ‘yung iba.
Q: Lahat po sila, sir?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Diyan sa Jeddah ‘yan. Those who are given the permission of clemency to whatever it was may clearance na about 5,000 of them, we’ll start bringing them back. The first batch pagdating ko pagbalik, Inshallah, nandito na ‘yung iba.
Q: Sir, posible rin po bang magkaroon ng memorandum of agreement sa pagitan ng Middle East at saka ng Pilipinas regarding sa mga OFW natin na naaabuso doon po sa parteng Middle East?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Those were the things that we discussed the other day and no, I cannot make it public, I’m sorry.
Q: Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Siguro maka-take-off kami mga alas-sais. Okay na.
Q: Hi sir, good afternoon po. Sir, over the weekend ni-reveal po ni Vice President Robredo that you will be having dinner with her and her family after Holy Week when you get back. Can we get more details from your end, sir?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I have not talked to her actually. I have not talked to her. Sinabi ko lang doon sa… “Ma’am…” I forgot pero sa Aguinaldo ba ‘yun? Sabi kasi niya, “Mayor…” Siya ‘yung nag-una. “Hindi ako kasali diyan destab-destab.”
Sabi ko, “Mayor…” “Madam, pagka… tingnan mo kung ganoon, let’s have a talk, maybe over dinner time. So as walang ano, walang intri-intriga, you can bring your family and I can bring mine.”
Q: So, sir, wala pa po talagang schedule?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala pa. Iharap ko siya kay Inday tingnan natin.
Q: Sir, on another topic. Medyo related po sa Cabinet natin. Are we going to see po other people leave in the next few weeks?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala, wala. Except ‘yung ano, not my — our making. Ang hindi pa na-confirm sa Commission on Appointments.
You can ask anybody, any congressman, any Cabinet member now any military man now here ni minsan hindi ako tumatawag.
There was only one time tumawag ako kay General Año ‘yung Chief of Staff when the communists started to break the ceasefire. So sabi niya February 10, inunahan ko na. Sabi ko ngayon na, we resume the offensive.
Q: Sir, last na, are we going to see new faces soon in your Cabinet?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Sino ba talaga gusto mong palitan mo kay palitan ko na ngayon? Interesado talaga. Sinabi ng wala eh except those who…
Because if they acted on time or if they are… If they are refused, hindi mo na talaga ma-reappointment ‘yun. The law does not allow it if you are rejected.
Q: Thank you, sir.