Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the 115th Founding Anniversary of Bureau of Customs
Bureau of Customs Gymnasium, South Harbor, Port Area, Manila
08 February 2017
Kindly sit down. Thank you.

You know, Sonny Dominguez is my childhood friend, we were neighbors and we grew up together and he was the consistent valedictorian from kindergarten to above. He has always been fond of money, he had plenty to spend. I remember, we could only afford the banana que, but he used—at that time, already in the primary school, he was eating ham and egg, (laughter) chicken sandwich and his pocket was always full of money. Now that we are about to retire from public life, he still got of money and more than that billions. Ganyan naman nga talaga ang buhay. So, that is how it is.

Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corp; Secretary Dominguez III and members of the Cabinet present here; Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon; mga kasama ko sa gobyerno; mga kababayan.

You know, my office prepares a speech, every event, there’s always one. But they limit it to about—the longest is about 3 minutes.

Even when I was Mayor, for the last 23 years and a Congressman, I limited myself to about 5 minutes.

Even my inaugural speech was just 4 and a half.

I do not read speeches because it does not reflect what is in my heart. And so, I have always been—well, kung ano lang ang nandiyan, iyon na lang ang sasabihin ko.

But because there are visitors here who might not really be—well, you know, sometimes, nagmumura ako. I would rather to be prim and proper this afternoon. But after that, I may just opt to say some more.

Revenues give us the means to run government and provide crucial services to our people. The money collected by the Bureau of Customs counts for a significant chunk of government earnings. We have to be relentless in our drive to maintain credible, efficient and effective Customs Bureau.

Your theme, “United towards the Transformational Change” is therefore truly on point. It runs parallel with government’s program to institute real and a lasting change in our bureaucracy and society. It also is reflective of the many changes taking place in the Bureau of Customs today.

The modest collection performance posted last November, 2016 was an eye opener; it was the first time that government was truly able to exceed collection targets since December of 2014.

Truly as long as we put our minds to our tasks and remain committed to serve the Filipino people, we can achieve our goals.

Thus, I urge the agency to continue to find ways to improve its operations, continue to simplify procedures and centralize operations particularly in the areas of trade facilitation and border control so that we can keep hitting and exceeding targets in the coming years.

May the BOC also keep in collaboration in its foreign counterparts by exchanging information and finding more avenues of cooperation.

As the BOC is at the frontline of our campaign against smuggling and illegal drugs, I encourage you to beef up your Customs enforcement operations. You have my full support in developing the BOC’s law enforcement capabilities, and so, you can conduct these operations more effectively and efficiently.

As part of the efforts to continue to improve and monitor Customs’ operations, as well as the criminal and illegal activities, we now have the CCTV cameras in strategic locations around the port area of Manila and the BOC building. The footages are also live streamed online so our people can see the Bureau of Customs’ operations in real time.

Thru the combined efforts of its leadership, its employees, the private sector and the Filipino people, I am hopeful that the Bureau of Customs will no longer be tagged as among the most corrupt agencies in the coming years.

As we set out to implement reforms, improve operations and crackdown against graft and corruption, you will see that some of your colleagues and friends will be affected by our efforts. It is my hope that you’ll lend me your support in bringing them into the light or in bringing them down, if they choose so.

This is the only way to revitalize the Bureau of Customs and, therefore, our people’s trust in government.

And may I say something about just what I— you know, I would not attribute it to any particular period of our history of recent and past, but alam mo, lahat naman tayo, I do not claim to be the cleanest guy in town. But I’ve always been passionate about my country.

I’m not a real big time politician. I just live in a small town in Mindanao. And whatever it is, I really do not know until now, what brought me to the presidency. I did not even have one single leader in Metro Manila. And the ratings up to the election, on the eve was still— I’m about four, three; four, three; four, three. It never went up the ladder of two and one. But when the votes came in, I was really surprised by the gift that the Filipino bestowed upon me. And that is why, I had to do some soul searching, an introspection of the soul because I am not really also—we all love, sabi ko, fit to play. Lahat naman tayo eh. But itong— my cardinal rule in life has always been, “Kapag nakataya na ang bayan ko, there shall be no compromise.” That has always been my philosophy even when I was mayor, a congressman and—

You know, I won the mayorship of Davao in 1988. And I served throughout these years until the presidency. I never lost an election. This is not to pull my own chair but to illustrate to you what my election to the presidency is all about. And it’s all about God and destiny.

Alam naman ninyo, I mean, you know me, maybe, from afar. But when I won and I said, “God, what does this mean, the staggering votes that I got and as the—huwag na muna kasi sabihin nila, kausap ko na naman ang Diyos. And said, that—you know, Duterte is a little bit off his rockers because he claims to have talked to God. But that is not really a problem. The problem would be, if God starts to talk to me. Diyan ang problema natin, kung saan natin hanapin iyan.

But when you talk to God, you can always communicate verbally even verbose, there’s nothing wrong with it. And if you say that God said that—well, nagloloko lang talaga ako; but you know, these media people, they are not really attuned to my character. Eh sa limang salita, dalawa lang iyong tama niyan; iyong tatlo, puro kalokohan iyan. And so, I’m just fond of doing it. Gusto ko lang tumawa, well, at the expense also of myself sometimes, people.

But, I said, I made three fundamental promises. And you are all there, maybe, you’re on radio and—kung nakinig kayo, I said, that I will stop corruption. And if for the so many years that the people were in agony and suffering, I committed myself to give the nation a respite of wrongdoings. So pasensiya na po kayo, iyon ang tinamaan.

For those na talagang— who have the heart into it, wala tayong problema. Iyong iba naman na, you know, the frills aside from the salary, you’re bound to lose some. Hindi naman ako talagang gusto ko ng santo, but always, promote government interest first! Iyan talaga, first government interest, protect government interest.

Pag iyan ang nagawa ninyo, wala tayong problema. Wala kang problema sa akin. Then, I promised that I will try to suppress drugs. I have been receiving so many lectures and communications, and criticism. But you know, if we do not control drugs, and it has reached the 5— 4 million/5, iyong original, kay Santiago, general sa PDEA. Iyong akin was almost 1 million plus. I have breached that number. And we have created, or the drug industry has created or reduced some Filipinos to slavery. Iyan ang masakit sa akin, because once you are afflicted or contaminated with drugs. And shabu is a very virulent chemical, one year use-plus, you lose your sanity.

Ibig sabihin, talagang—that is why, to tell you frankly, ang sabi nila, yung Columbia has been lecturing about my—that idiot.

You know doon, cocaine. Cocaine pati heroine is not really— but cocaine is more or less marijuana, medyo okay iyan, you can still communicate. But with the shabu, alam ba ninyo iyang shabu, ang mini-mix diyan, tubig ng baterya? The fact alone that it is mixed using battery water will give you an indication of what’s going to happen inside your brain.

We have created about 5, 4 million addicts. They are slaves. You’re better off with buying a slave in the markets of Africa and the slave markets of the Middle East, okay pa iyan because you can buy a slave and work, let the guy work for you. Ito, with the 4 million, almost confirmed, how many of them will go crazy, I really do not know. But there are now millions addicted to a chemical at the expense of our nation and fattened the pockets of the drug lords.

So, itong extrajudicial killing and issues, just put it aside. For those really done in the performance of duty, huwag yung iba, I take full legal responsibility. And if there’s somebody who should go to prison, it is not the policemen, it is not the military, it is not the Customs, the PDEA. Ako, me. Ako, I will answer for everything that I ordered and I am obeyed following the law.

For those na—those extrajudicial killings, I’ll give you an insight: I do not know about the rest. You know, sabi ng police, they are awarded with five, ten thousand. Why should I give you five or ten thousand? It’s your duty to kill. Idiot! That’s why you are there. But you know, what we are trying to control trafficking. And trafficking means that there is a seller and a buyer. If you do not have that kind of transaction, there is no trafficking. And that is why they are given five, ten thousand, to buy so that there can be a seller and a buyer. And that is trafficking. Because if you just catch him with the possession, the penalty is light, he can post a bail. Ang ginawa nitong mga— sandali lang, ke magmura tayo. Dahan-dahan lang. Ang ginawa nitong mga— o sige, (expletive) na lang, wag na yung (expletive).

Ang ginawa nitong mga (expletive) na ito, makipag-transaction, barilin yung tao, wala namang transaction, kunin pa yung pera pati shabu at ipagbili uli. Yan ang gusto kung patayin kahapon; kaya lang, maraming media; palinisin ko na sana sa Pasig, kamalas-malas naman, wala namang water lily. Malinis eh. Sabi ko, O sige, diyan kayo. Do not change your position. I have a Cabinet meeting. Pagbaba ko, if there is another position that you have adopted, I’ll kick you.

Eh sabi ko—then, Bato said that he’s going to retrain them. No, I will not go into that kind of rigmarole. Training-training, tapos na iyan. Hindi mo na ma—you cannot train a criminal mind. It always works along evil ways.

Sabi ko, prepare to be dispatched to Basilan and Jolo. Kasi naubos na ang mga pulis ko doon, kakapatay, ambush. So, I need more policemen there. You will go there and fight the bandits and the extremist. If you come out alive after my six years term, you can come back here in Manila. Or better still, to spare the family of expenses, you better buy some place there in the memorial parks. It’s still very cheap.

Ganun talaga. There’s no other way. They will go to the war zone, I need to place there law enforcers na— Alam mo sabi ko, pag bayan na nga, hindi talaga tayo magka— If it is the interest and the welfare of my country, and to preserve the Filipino, we have nothing to talk about. I don’t give a (expletive) about— because if there are drugs and nobody selling it, there’s no harm actually. Just leave there at the warehouse on a ship load, do not try to bring it down. But if you start to sell it, then there’s trouble for the country. And I will not just—not, not in my time— not in my time.

In the fullness of God’s time, maybe. As long as there is a pusher, there’s always a contention that— you know, Duterte is killing the poor and the rich —Noon, they were always asking, “So, where’s the big fish?

Then, I started with the mayors. They were killed along the way, ambushed and everything. So there’s the big fish. So where’s the small fish, they are poor. The problem is they are part of the apparatus. As long— you might be poor or rich, as long as you peddle drugs, the problem will always remain because it is an apparatus. You have to destroy— I’m not saying killing. My orders to the military and the police is, destroy the apparatus of the drug industry. If you have to kill, go ahead. That is what it is.

Then, we have the coming— like to warn you also, over there, guys. We’re about to open the barter trade. It’s the only way that we can— Alam mo noon, yung may barter trade, when there was this barter trade. There were no Abu Sayyaf, there were no extremists, because everybody was making a living. Everybody, gainfully employed. I really do not know why, they cut it and that was the time, when they had a very serious problem about law and order in that place.

Now, we have the ISIS coming in and they baptized Hapsilon who is now in Mindanao, sowing terror. So, have so many fronts to face. Government you know, Commissioner Faeldon, you will have your hands full, because you are the—

You will have the communist front, confronting us. I terminated the ceasefire talks, because they went overboard. Eh naano, then, you have the drug front and the coming of the ISIS. They will come, I am sure. They have already anointed a leader from Sulu, who is now in Central Mindanao. And the war there is going on until now. There’s a war going on in the Central Mindanao anyway. So, that’s the bigger problem. I would need money to buy the equipments and the things that they would need to keep this country in order.

So, I’d like to thank the Bureau of Customs for raising the revenue, at least, a big chunk of the money, galing sa— comes from your toil and sweat. (applause)

So salamat, talagang salamat at maybe, I will raise your salary (applause) to maybe, 1 million per month, okay na iyon. (laughter/applause) One million each? Okay na iyan, but that would be for the— I am the 16th President, that will be the duty now of the 25th President to implement my promise. (laughter)

In the meantime, live simply. Ako, I have been a prosecutor almost about— I was doing trial work for almost nine years. Secret really there is: do not crave for things which you cannot afford. Do not dream of things which beyond your reach. You’ll be tempted to… I cannot make myself an example because that would—corny pakinggan.

But you know, our Defense Secretary was once upon a time assigned in my area. He brought in the Scout Rangers of the Armed Forces about 15 years ago, magkakilala na kami ni Secretary Lorenzana. But little did I know that when I appointed him, it was Pastor Quiboloy who told me, “You know, your Defense Secretary was our valedictorian in Cotabato City,” sa Notre Dame and he was the valedictorian of his class, PMA. He used to look handsome, but now, no more hair. So he used to be a very imposing figure when he was a military man. But what I got from him now, is wisdom. We try to— we do not go out and quarrel with everybody, we just would like to make friends with anybody.

Ganoon na, that’s the policy. We are not trying to veer away. We will not renege on our treaty obligations, but as far as it can really be maintained, we want peace with all nations.

Maraming salamat po. (applause)