PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE’S FIRST STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS (SONA)
BATASANG PAMBANSA COMPLEX, QUEZON CITY
JULY 25, 2016
[Partial transcript only]
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Kindly sit down. Thank you.
Allow me a little bit of informality at the outset. You would realize that the three guys in the elevated portion of Congress are from Mindanao. So, wala talaga kaming masabi.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III; members of the Senate; Speaker Pantaleon Alvares and members of House of Representatives; Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo; President Fidel V. Ramos; President Joseph Estrada; President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the justices of the Supreme Court; His Excellency Papal Nuncio and members of the diplomatic corps.
Of course, I also have to greet Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, members of the Cabinet; fellow workers in government; my countrymen:
We cannot move forward if we allow the past to pull us back. Finger-pointing is not the way. That is why I will not waste precious time dwelling on the sins of the past or blaming those who are perceived to be responsible for the mess that we are in and suffering from.
Except maybe to extract a lesson or two from its errors, we will not tarry because it is the present that we are concerned with and the future that we should be prepared for.
Lest I be misunderstood, let me say clearly, that those who betrayed the people’s trust shall not go unpunished and they will have their day in court. And if the evidence warrants, they will have their day of reckoning, too.
When I decided to seek the presidency of this Republic, I knew what the ills of our country were; I knew their causes; and I was briefed on who caused the causes.
I heard the people on the streets complain that justice had become illusory; that equity and fairness and speedy disposition of cases had deteriorated into hollow concepts fit only for masteral dissertations. It was, and still is, very sad indeed.
As a former prosecutor, I know that there are always ways of knowing how fast or how slow cases go. What I did was to look into the number of postponements and the time difference between each postponement and the next setting. It was as simple as that. I will appreciate deeply if all in government attend to this urgent need.
I was determined then as I am now determined and better positioned to wage war against those who make a mockery of our laws, including those who make life for us all miserable.
I wish to assure everyone though that vindictiveness is not in my system. Just like you and I, all, equal treatment and equal protection are what I ask for our people.
But we must have the courage to fight for what we believe in, undeterred by the fear of failing or losing. Indeed, courage knows no limits, cowardice does.
At this point, there are a few concerns I wish to convey to all to the end that as I perorate on facts, figures, plans, programs and solutions, these concerns do not dissipate or get lost along our way.
Thus to our religious bishops, leaders, priests, pastors, preachers, imams, let me assure you that while I am a stickler for the principle of separation between Church and State, I believe quite strongly that there should never be a separation between God and State.
During my inauguration last June 30, 2016, I said that the fight against criminality and illegal drugs and corruption will be relentless and sustained. I reiterate that commitment today, and that is why I call on the Philippine National Police, the barangay chairmen, the Mayors, the Governors and all those occupying seats of power and authority, not to lower their guard. There will be no let-up in this campaign. Double your efforts. Triple them, if need be. We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or are put, either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.
To our police officers and other officials, do your job and you will have the unwavering support of the Office of the President. I will be with you all the way. Abuse your authority, and there will be hell to pay, for you will have become worse than criminality itself.
I order the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) to hasten the conduct of investigation and adjudication of administrative cases against police officers involved in criminal activities and illegal activities and prescribe policies on lifestyle checks for PNP members.
In this quest, I would put at stake my honor, my life and the presidency itself.
The DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) is also directed to strictly monitor how LGUs (local government units) perform their supervision functions over the police and those found not performing will be sanctioned, including the loss of police deputation from the NAPOLCOM.
Let me repeat my warning to all. I repeat my repeat. My repeat to all: Do not do drugs because you will be the solution to the drug crisis that has engulfed–malawak–the nation.
We will create an Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs that will integrate efforts and strengthen the partnerships of all stakeholders.
The reservists will be mobilized for information campaign against drug use and the dissemination of information regarding drug rehabilitation programs being offered by the government. Let us also strengthen our ROTC Program to instill love of country and good citizenship.
We will also prioritize the rehabilitation of drug users. We will increase the number of residential treatment and rehabilitation facilities in all regions of the country. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will facilitate the preparations for the use of military camps and facilities for drug rehabilitation.
There can never be real, tangible and felt development without making our people feel secure. And it is our duty to uplift our people’s welfare.
With this, my administration shall be sensitive to the State’s obligations to promote, protect, fulfill the rights of our citizens, especially the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable, and social justice shall be pursued, even as the rule of law shall prevail at all times.
My administration shall implement a human approach to development and governance, as we improve our people’s welfare in the areas of health, education, adequate food and water, housing, environmental preservation, and respect for culture.
Human rights must work to uplift human dignity. But human rights cannot be used a shield or an excuse to destroy the country–your country and my country.
Meantime, since our country continues to be confronted with internal security threats aggravated by the existence and activities of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, the full force of the AFP will be applied to crush these criminals who operate under the guise of religious fervor. The AFP shall enhance its capability to search and engage these rogue and lawless elements.
We have to strengthen our coordination with Indonesia and Malaysia to suppress the kidnappings in the waters of our neighboring countries. We will strengthen our counter-terrorism programs by amending various laws on human terrorism, terrorism financing and cybercrime.
This is our answer to the challenges of the global developments, of the nontraditional threats of transnational crimes and fanatical terrorism. Addressing global warming shall also be our top priority, but upon a fair and acceptable equation. It must not stifle our industrialization.
We must also endeavor to develop and cultivate partnerships with nations sharing common interests and concerns with the Philippines; maintain and sustain bilateral and multilateral consultations and dialogues.
We will continue to expand cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime security and counter-terrorism. We shall deepen security dialogues with other nations to build greater understanding and cooperation.
With regard to the West Philippine Sea, otherwise known as (South) China Sea, we strongly affirms and respect the outcome of the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration as an important contribution to the ongoing efforts to pursue a peaceful resolution and management of our disputes.
On the aspect of our peace processes relating to our engagement with the international community, the Philippines shall remain committed to working with our international partners in achieving lasting peace and progress in the country.
We will vigorously address the grievances that have been time and again expressed not only by the Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and other groups for security, development, fair access to decision-making and acceptance of identities.
Enduring peace can only be attained only if we meet these fundamental human needs of every man, woman and child.
To our Muslim brothers, the Moro country and the members of the CPP/NPA/NDF, let me say this:
All of us want peace, not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living. We express our willingness and readiness to go to the negotiating table, and yet we load our guns, fix our sights, pull the trigger. It is both ironic and tragic–and it is endless. Well, we extol the bravery and heroism of our soldiers. Kayo, the rebels, do the same for the rebels and fighters. What I see instead are the widows and the orphans and I feel their pain and grief. And no amount of cash assistance or the number of medals can compensate the loss of a human life. Sorrow cuts across every stratum of society. It cuts deeply and the pain lasts forever.
That is why, I reach out to you, to all of you today. To our Muslim brothers, let us find, let us end the centuries of this mistrust and warfare. To the CPP/NPA/NDF, let us end these decades of ambuscades and skirmishes. We are going nowhere. And it is getting bloodier by the day.
To immediately stop violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities and provide an enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace talks, I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF effective immediately and call on our fellow Filipinos in the National Democratic Front and its forces to respond accordingly.
Let me make this appeal to you. “If we cannot, as yet, love one another, then in God’s name, let us not hate each other too much,” so it was said. I say the same to you today.
We will strive to have a permanent and lasting peace before my term ends. That is my goal, that is my dream.
On the macroeconomic management, my administration will continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, and even do better.
I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF effective immediately and call on our fellow Filipinos in the National Democratic Front and its forces to respond accordingly.We will achieve this through prudent fiscal and monetary policies that can help translate high growth into more and better job creation and poverty reduction. By the end of my term, I hope–I hope and pray–to handover an economy that is much stronger, characterized by solid growth, low and stable inflation, (strong) dollar reserves and robust fiscal position.
On taxation, my administration will pursue tax reforms towards a simpler, more equitable and more efficient tax system that can foster investment and job creation. We will lower personal and corporate income tax rates and relax the bank secrecy law.
Eh na-Presidente ako eh. Ayoko sana makielam dito sa mga ito, pero hayaan mo na. Anyway, may I continue.
At the household level, there must be sufficient income for all Filipinos to meet the basic food and non-food needs for their families. We shall continue to attract investments that will generate thousands of jobs each year—jobs that are suitable for the poor and less skilled members of the workforce.
Reforms to ensure competitiveness and promote ease of doing business will be mandatory. Reacting to these needs, the restrictions to the economy will be needed to make more investments to come and to develop labor-intensive industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and tourism shall be pursued.
We must also invest in human capital and ensure equal access to economic opportunities.
The implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law must be put into full force and effect so that couples, especially the poor, will have freedom of informed choice on the number and spacing of children they can adequately care and provide for, eventually making them more productive members of the labor force.
And if employment is not an option, for instance in extremely rural neighborhoods, entrepreneurship would be advocated.
We shall also enhance local business environment by addressing bottlenecks in business registration and processing, in streamlining investment applications processes and in integrating the services of various government offices.
Government Financing Institutions (GFIs) shall come up with out-of-the box financing packages to capacitate our small and medium entrepreneurs.
In the field of tourism, we shall construct more access roads and tourism gateways to service centers and tourist sites.
Road development projects shall complement with our thrust to provide modern agriculture infrastructure by expanding and improving the construction and rehabilitation of roads and irrigation, and establishing modern harvest and post-harvest facilities to minimize losses.
We shall also conduct a nationwide soil analysis to determine areas most suitable for rice farming to optimize production with the use of effective soil rehabilitation and fertilization.
We shall strictly enforce fisheries laws, particularly on illegal fishing and promote aquaculture along river banks and in backyards.
On the other hand, we will accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national roads and bridges and implementing the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network and other road network master plans. We shall pursue inter-island linkage projects.
We shall be implementing structural mitigation measures to address the perennial flooding In Metro Manila and neighboring areas. We shall put up new pumping stations in strategic places.
The revival of the operation of the Pasig River Ferry Service System is a viable solution for the severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila.
This serves as an alternative mode of transportation for passengers particularly those coming from the east side of Metro to reach specific destinations within the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Marikina and Quezon City.
Our anti-colorum campaign and out-of-line apprehension, including the removal of (illegal) terminals, shall also be intensified, and my God it will be done immediately. Immediately.
To address lack of road infrastructure in Metro Manila, usage of existing roads should be maximized. Thus, there is a need to cooperate and coordinate with LGUs to map out secondary routes and to consult various stakeholders, including the public transport operators.
Many in government opine realistically–and I would have to agree–that the worsening traffic situation could be logistically addressed if Congress would also accord emergency powers to the agencies concerned.
Ayaw mo? Okay lang rin. Para makita namin kung gusto ninyong madalian. Alam naman talaga ninyo sagad na lahat, sagad na. Nasa inyo ‘yan. If you give it, fine. If you don’t, we take the longer route, slowly. And tanggapin ko ‘yung pag-mumura ninyo. ‘Wag lang sa malapit. [laughter] Eh ganun talaga eh. You’ve done it. It’s an urgent and immediate situation, solution. Gusto ninyo madali lang, okay. Kapag ayaw naman ninyo, because baka sabihin niyo graft and corruption eh ‘di okay.
But I assure you —wala ito sa script —I assure you, this will be a clean government.
If that is the only worry that you have and I can understand your misgiving. Wala na ito sa… ang haba. Wala na ito sa script. You know, ako maka-garantiya, 101 percent it will be clean. The problem is I can only act through agencies and departments. That’s why I urge you na maski konting mali lang, wala akong ano sa inyo, wala na akong politika, wala na. I’m through after this. I just pass on to you the information that, you know… I act through secretaries and… I cannot guarantee their honesty and competence at all times. Cabinet members, yes. Pero yung sa baba—yung procurement, yung magbi-bidding diyan. But as far as I can really–malinis talaga ‘to. At napag-usapan namin sa likod about the federal system.
You know my advice to you is maintain a federal system, a parliament, but be sure to have a president. Huwag… Hindi na ako niyan. I’m disqualified and by that time I would longer be here. But, I can commit today to the Republic of the Philippines and its people: If you hurry up the federal system of government and you can submit it to the Filipino people by the fourth, fifth year, proseso ‘yan e. You call for a referendum and after that call for a presidential election, I will go. Sibat na ako. But you just have a president.
You copy the France system. Huwag mo hayaan yung puro na parliament. Delikado iyon. It takes time even for the… Iyong kagaya ng England noon. There was this bomb, double deck. It took them time really. There’s no one apparatus for a commander-in-chief down.
You can have a president you can elect. Maybe Tito Sotto would be the lucky guy at that time. O, ‘di, limitahan mo lang. Ceremonial powers. Power to dissolve, power to accept the resolution or whatever, mandating you this, do that, or ceremonial powers except yung in times of need, if there’s a demand for action. You must have a president. Wala na ako niyan. I said if you can give me that document, I will urge you to conduct a–to order–to order, call for an election the following day, following week.
And even if there is still two years, three years I will go. Okay na ako. Do not worry about me. I don’t aim to that much ambition. Eh nanalo ka eh. Hindi ko nga alam bakit nandito ako ngayon. Noon nandoon lang ako o. [applause] Totoo man. Sino man nagsuporta sa inyo sa akin dito? Wala man? [laughter] Not a single congressman. Except for two provinces, governor. ‘Yun lang. Wala akong barangay captain. Wala akong… wala lahat. Pero ngayon …
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office