In quotes: President Duterte’s 2018 State of the Nation Address

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State of the Nation Address

President Duterte stuck closely to script today, delivering a calm, measured State of the Nation Address.

In contrast to his his usual bombastic rhetorical style, the wide-ranging speech was entirely free of curses and death threats. 

Here, in quotes, are some of the key points covered:

WAR ON DRUGS

Let me begin by putting it bluntly: The war against illegal drugs is far from over. 

The illegal drugs war will not be sidelined, instead it will be as relentless and chilling — if you will — as the day it began.

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Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. 

You worry about the present, I am concerned both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country if not stopped. Crimes can makes human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen — not during my term.

CORRUPTION

Time and again I have stressed that corruption must stop. Corruption is like a leech… It sucks the morale of the educated and honest government workers and corruption destroys those who succumb to its temptation, and eventually it is the innocent who will suffer and bear its horrible consequences.

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Stolen wealth does not make the thief respectable neither will the trappings of wealth mask the stink that thievery exudes. One day justice will catch up with those who steal government funds.

BANGSAMORO

For as long as I can remember, the bulk of the income generated in Mindanao used to be remitted to what we in Mindanao refer to as the imperial Manila to fund national projects primarily in the Metro Manila area, leaving a pittance to Mindanao as a share thereof.

Mindanao was dubbed as “The Land of Promise,” and Mindanaoans say in derision that this is so because what it got from the government through the years were promises, promises and more promises.

Mindanao stands at the crossroads of history. One road leads to harmony and peace, the other to war and human suffering.

We will need loads of understanding and patience to endure and overcome the birth pangs or pains of the new beginning. To me, war is not an option. We have been through the catastrophe in Marawi. We have seen the horror, the devastation, and the human toll and the displacement of both Christians and Muslims alike.

I have made a pledge that ISIS terrorists or groups or its allies will never gain foothold in our country.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

On international relations, we shall continue to assert and pursue an independent foreign policy. Our long-term national development and national security goals come first.

We shall continue to reach out to all nations regardless of their prevailing political persuasions or proximity to or distance from our shores so long as these nations wish us well.

Our stronger bonds with our ASEAN friends have made possible our trilateral border patrols with Indonesia and Malaysia, which has since then put out of business sea pirates, piracy and other terrorists who used to infest our shared seas.

Our re-energized relations with China has also led to an unprecedented level of cooperation between our nations on the war against transnational crimes. Our shared intelligence led to the discovery and dismantling of the clandestine shabu laboratories and the arrest of Chinese chemists [connected] with the Dragon organization called Wu Syndicate.

Our improved relationship with China, however, does not mean that we will waver in our commitment to defend our interests in the West Philippine Sea. [applause] This is why we engage China through bilateral and multilateral platforms such as the ASEAN-China and the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultation Mechanism.

Opening lines of communication and amicably managing differences have led to positive developments that include renewed access of Filipino fishermen in the areas in dispute in the Philippines – West Philippine Sea.

OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS

We admire our Filipino migrant workers for their selflessness and courage in enduring the hardships of living away from home to provide for their families. You epitomize the innate resilience of the nation. You have shown your willingness to toil and sacrifice day-in and day-out, for the long-term good of your family and loved ones. You have also contributed greatly to the national economy, even as you help in small and big ways to the economies of our international partners.

This is why we strongly condemn the deaths and abuses experienced by Filipino migrant workers in the hands of their foreign employers. I have said this before and I say it again: I am a worker of government, and it is my vow to make sure that your well-being remains our foremost foreign policy concern.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

My administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunications services are reliable, inexpensive and secure. A draft Terms of Reference for the entry of a new, major industry player is at hand.

Our efforts to usher in a new major player shall be rendered futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry that has long been dominated by a well-entrenched duopoly.

BORACAY ISLAND

Widely regarded as one of our country’s treasures and admired worldwide for its natural beauty has sadly become the representation of governance and government’s negligence — including mine. I could not allow this decay to continue. Decisive action has long been overdue, recognising that we are mere stewards of our natural resources, and I said ‘enough is enough’.

This is just [the beginning]. For the other tourist destinations needing urgent rehabilitation and enforcement of environmental and other laws shall soon follow. I urge our local government units to proactively enforce our laws and not wait for us to swoop down on your areas just to do your duty and work.

NATURAL DISASTERS

To help safeguard the present and future generations we have to earnestly undertake initiatives to reduce our vulnerabilities to natural hazards and bolster our resilience to the impact of national disasters and climate change. 

Hence, we in the cabinet have approved for immediate endorsement to congress the passage of a law creating The Department of Disaster Management.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Ours is a rich and beautiful country, indeed, add to that a great number of people equipped with technical expertise and professionalism and you have a country poised to soar and take its place among the world’s economic and financial eagles — God willing, inshallah.

The protection of the environment must be top priority.

Extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, not just a select few. Do not just give me taxes, I can get it from other sources. Give me what needs to be given to my countrymen.

To the mining industry, I say this once again, and maybe for the last time: Do not destroy environment or compromise our resources. Repair what you have mismanaged. 

Again, I warn irresponsible miners, along with their patrons, to stop destroying our watersheds, recharge areas, forests, and aquatic resources.

TAX REFORM

I applaud Congress for the timely passage of the TRAIN law. You have made funds available to build better roads and bridges, and improve health and education, and strengthen our safety and security. Some have incorrectly blamed our efforts toward a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop TRAIN’s implementation. We cannot and should not. We need this for sustainable growth that leaves no Filipino left behind.

RICE PRICES

To help stabilize rice prices, we also need to address the issue of artificial rice shortage. I now ask all the rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors, you know that I know who you are: stop messing with the people. I hate to… Power sometimes is not a good thing. But I hope I will not have to use it against you.

Consider yourselves warned; mend your ways now or the full force of the State shall be brought to bear upon you. I am directing all intelligence agencies to unmask the perpetrators of this economic sabotage and our law enforcement agencies to bring them to justice.

HEALTH

Much needs to be done to improve our healthcare system, which remains highly fragmented, resulting in disparity in health outcomes between the rich and the poor in the urban areas and rural. While investments in health have increased over the years, several policy and operational bottlenecks have constrained universal health care for this country.

CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

I have no illusions of occupying this office one day longer than what the constitution under which I was elected permits or under whatever constitution there might be. 

… a federal constitution will truly embody the ideals, aspirations of all the Filipino people.

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