In a fiery State of the Nation Address today (Monday, July 24), President Duterte often veered off script, and as always laced his rhetoric with some colourful language. Here are some of the key points of the two-hour speech:
The war on drugs will be “unrelenting”.
“The fight will be unrelenting. The fight will not stop until those who deal with it [drugs] understand that they have to stop because the alternative is either jail or hell.”
“I do not intend to loosen the leash in the campaign or lose the fight against illegal drugs. I will hound you to the very gates of hell.”
To drug war critics: I value human life “the way I value mine”.
“To the critics against this fight, your efforts will be better spent if you use the influence, moral authority and ascendancy of your organisations over your respective sectors to educate the people on the evils of illegal drugs instead of condemning the authorities and unjustly blaming for every killing that bloodies this country.
“But don’t get me wrong. I value human life the way I value mine. Each life that is snuffed out translates into future generations lost. It is like cracking the acorn from which oak tree grow, which in turn produce the seeds to complete the cycle of life in perpetuity.”
Warning to mining companies that they will be “taxed to death” if they do not spend enough on environmental rehabilitation.
Going off-script, he said: “You are already rich, mining companies.
“Either I will raise the taxes, what I get there I will reserve to compensate for those who are suffering. You have to come up with a substitute; either spend to restore the virginity of their source or I will tax you to death.
“You see the rice fields, the rice fields went dry, the soil cracked, so the farmers cannot eat anymore, they are reduced to the garbage of what you can get there, salvage anything, and sell it.
“So I will increase the taxes, then I will think of something that will compensate or make up for the damage, or at least the income restored. Otherwise, I’ll have to stop mining.
“I mean it. Do not try to test my resolve. Absolutely I have nothing to lose except my life.”
Calls on the USA to return the historic Balangiga Bells, taken in 1901 following a massacre of 48 American troops.
“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage. Please return it. That is painful for us.”
To the military: Be “unforgiving” to the communist rebels..
“I’m ordering the military and the police to be unforgiving to the communist rebels as they are very unforgiving to us.
“No more talks [with the communists]. From now on, do not question me about the Reds.”
The pursuit of peace will continue until the last day of his administration.
“The pursuit of peace continues. Peace eludes us still. Sometimes I am almost tempted that peace may not come during our lifetime.
“It is not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living that we seek.”
Wants Congress to pass a law creating an agency to focus on disaster response.
“I am calling on both houses of Congress to draft a law establishing a new authority or department that is responsive to the prevailing 21st century conditions.”
Will continue following an “independent foreign policy” with strong links to China.
“We have cultivated warmer relations with China, bilateral dialogues and other mechanisms leading to easing of tension between the two countries and improve the negotiating environment on the West Philippine Seas.
“We will engage the nations with full respect of the rule of law, sovereign, equality, and again, non-interference.”
Despite his personal views, he wants families to have access to birth control.
“I am not for abortion, I am not for birth control, but certainly I am for giving freedom to Filipinos to decide how many children will they be able to support and send to school.”
To police and army: “I have your backs”.
“For soldiers and policemen risking their lives for our country and democracy, I have your backs. I hold myself, me and me alone should be responsible.
“For the family of those who are rendered totally disabled in the line of duty, we shall provide shelter health care assistance, education.”
On soldiers fighting in Marawi: “They are the silent heroes who risk their lives everyday for our country’s security.”
Accepts 25 billion tax settlement from Mighty tobacco corporation.
“I have directed DOF and BIR to accept Mighty’s offer of 25 billion pesos to pay its tax liabilities.
“This will be the biggest tax settlement on record. It will produce a windfall for government, which is significant, since we face the unexpected costs of rebuilding Marawi and Ormoc.
“Let this be a lesson to others—this administration will spare no one found cheating the government of its due.”
Calls for an end to corruption in government.
“Whether or not my first year of administration is a year of gains or a year for setbacks is not for me to say, but for the people to judge.
“My fellow citizens, much remains to be done. Corruption persists like a teaspoon stuck in the throat. It pains and it is disconcerting. We need to put an end to corruption which is deeply embedded.
“Nevertheless let us work together and lay a new foundation upon which a better Philippines can be reconstructed. Help me build a better tomorrow”