(Note from MindaNews: This is the official transcript of President Rodrigo Duterte’s media interview, released by the Presidential News Desk of the Presidential Communications Office)
Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk
PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE
FOLLOWING HIS VISIT TO THE 403RD INFANTRY BRIGADE
[Delivered at Camp Bahian, Barangay Impalambong, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon | 06 July 2017]
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I can maybe spare you something like… Wala na ang relo ko, ibinigay ko sa sundalo. So I can… Mga five hours.
Q: Magandang hapon po, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes?
Q: Ang tanong ko, maraming mga proyekto na papasok sa mga barangay lalung-lalo na dito sa probinsya ng Bukidnon. Pero merong 10 percent na tinatawag na “revolutionary tax” na kinukuha ‘yung mga New People’s Army or NPA. ‘Pag hindi magbigay ‘yung contractor at tsaka barangay officials, sinusunog ‘yung proyekto na sa barangay. Meron bang — Ano bang solusyon ng pamahalaan dito?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ang solusyon nasa Pilipino, kayo. Kayo ang… You know ang gustong magdala ng gobyerno, that is really extortion.
That is just a matter of semantics. They call it “revolutionary tax,” actually it’s extortion. Kaya nga may away tayo eh.
And kaya nga hindi kami papayag… I refuse now to resume the talks with them until they stop itong extortion. Kasi sasabihin ng tao, magbabayad sila ng buwis, wala namang protection kasi hinihingian sila ng NPA.
So the only way is to — I do not want to continue the fight, it has been there for 50 years and I suppose that everybody’s tired killing people for 50 years. But if they want it another 50 years, wala kaming, wala — ang gobyerno walang magawa.
It’s plain extortion. And if they want to continue, to resume the talks, one of the things that I would demand would really be that they stop the extortion activities.
Q: Mr. President, are we pushing through with the extension po of martial law? Malapit na po kasing matapos ‘yung 60 days.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ganito ‘yan eh. Martial law was declared for the Mindanao island because that is an anticipation of a spillover.
I said I have nothing against — I am a — I have a Maranao blood. But ‘yung in Central Mindanao, nandiyan ‘yung Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, then you get left that you have the Zambopanga Peninsula na marami pati you go right, nandito ‘yung Maguindanao, nandiyan ‘yung Buldon, nandiyan sila.
And so the spillover could create more trouble for us. That’s why in anticipation or to prevent or to prepare for a spillover or a simultaneous uprising, it has to be Mindanao.
Q: As we know, Metro Manila and even Cebu have gone too far in as far the economic growth. [speaks Bisaya] Mr. President in as far as ato sa Mindanao?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: You know, Mindanao relatively is just a new country. Bago lang itong Mindanao eh. Cebu has been there — ang architect gani nila diha sa ilang City Hall base pag si Magellan.
Matagal na ‘yang Cebu eh, that’s an old city. You can’t compare it to Mindanao.
Mindanao is the frontier. Kaya nga ito may giyera because ang Moro feels displaced, na sila ‘yung nauna dito, which is really correct.
Historically they were ahead — ang by Islam almost 60 to 70 years, Islam was already in Mindanao.
Kaya ‘yung pumasok dito na mga Cebuano are just — but hindi naman natin alam na ganon ang sitwasyon. And we do not have to die for that.
That is not anybody’s fault. That was the creation of imperialism which had — had we had been here at that time, have not have happened because we would never agree to it.
But you know, Islam ang Mindanao tapos the rest of the country was converted to Christianity. It was also bludgeoned into submission.
Q: Pahabol lang po, Mr. President. May quake daw po earlier sa Visayas. What are we doing… What is the government doing about that, sir? May help na po ba para sa mga residente? May quake po earlier sa Visayas, earthquake po — 6.5, yes po. Bago lang po, very recent lang.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala namang nasira. Mahina ‘yun. Well, by this time, it could have caused massive destruction but there’s none.
And actually, to be really very, very frank with you, nobody but nobody can foretell a disaster. That’s why in the insurance business, disasters are called or categorized an “act of God.”
Just for want of any other term to use it, a massive destruction. Typhoons and earthquakes, ang category niyan sa — Kaming mga abogado, we call it an “act of God.”
So ang God, ganito ang ating habulin. Kaya mo? Ha? Isama natin ‘yung mga pari.
Q: May mensahe na po ba kayo sa mga nanunuod ngayon from Leyte affected by the quake? ‘Yun lang po last question.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Again, ma’am?
Q: May message po ba kayo ngayon sa mga affected po ng quake doon sa Visayas? Maybe they’re watching po live right now.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, we are doing everything we can. The military is doing its utmost.
I am here for the time being that there’s a ruckus in Central Mindanao. I’d be spending most of my time here.
I’ll just fly to Manila once in a while to fulfill with the protocol duties but I have to be back again until such time that peace is restored. But, we are already almost more than halfway. Matatapos na ‘to.
Q: Sir, good afternoon. Victoria Tulad of GMA po sa Manila. Sir, there’s an article po sa Reuters na sinabi na you pushed for talks with the Maute group?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, I did not. That’s a… He’s a pretender.
I’d never talk to terrorists, that’s one. I will never talk to criminals and to terrorists. But I would talk to revolutionaries who are imbued with a principle of their — kagaya nitong MI, MN.
I talk to them because ang — what drove them to fight government is the rising nationalism.
Kasi nauna nga sila dito. Dumating ‘yung Amerikano, naunahan pa ng Español, then we were colonized.
Kaya nga nagkawatak-watak tayo na ganito. Islam na nga ang Mindanao. At ano ba naman kasalanan natin pumasok itong mga Español, pati Amerikano?
So that is how… It’s how it began. But we are here to preserve and ask… And I plead to the Moro people who are my brothers, who are our brothers: We do not want to fight, we do not want to kill. And if we can just stop fighting, okay ako. But for those criminals, mga terorista, wala.
Q: Sir, pero ‘yung Maute group, did they come to you? Nag-initiate po ba sila ng deal para matapos na po ‘yung gulo sa Marawi? Thank you.
PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, the MI and MN probably have started initiatives there.
But kung manggaling sa akin, ako maghingi sa mga criminal pati terorista, imposible.
At tsaka marami na akong patay na sundalo pati pulis. Huwag nila akong biruin ng mag-istorya-istorya lang tayo.
If there has to be peace, it would really be peace. Huwag mo akong laruin ‘yang away ngayon tapos bukas… Let us finish this once and for all.
Adto na kami kay… ‘Yung wala pa, magsakay ka na lang sa chopper. Doon ka na lang magtanong. [laughter]
— END —