Press Conference by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza
Malacañan Palace
28 February 2017
SEC. DUREZA: Naka-raise nga ng konting pera akala nila ma-release ang dalawa, ang ni-release ang tatay lang, naiwanan ang bata.

So it’s only now that we are able to recover the eight-year-old boy. Maging nine years old ito March 30 eh.

So when we learned about it, the President was informed about it. Iyon talaga ang directive ng Presidente to really find ways and means to recover the boy.

So, today we have him. Ipiniresent (present) namin sa parents in the presence of the President.

Q: Sir, may sinabi ba ‘yung bata kay Presidente?

SEC. DUREZA: Ano ‘yung gipakita mo kay Presidente pagdating mo? Ipakita mo sa kanila. Anong ginawa mo?

Q: Secretary, any assistance sa bata?

SEC. DUREZA: Say again.

Q: Assistance sa bata?

SEC. DUREZA: What do you mean assistance?

Q: I mean bibigyan ba siya ng government?

SEC. DUREZA: That will be…We’ll get the President to…

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Where is Governor Sakur?

SEC. DUREZA: Governor Sakur Tan is here.


SEC. DUREZA: Governor Sakur at si anak niya the present — former governor ‘yan, ang present governor itong anak niya si Toto.

They were very instrumental together with [Edmund Kombahali?]…Where is Edmund? My emissary.

Ito ‘yung prized possession ng bata. Ito na lang naiwanan noong na-release siya.

Q: Sir, bakit seven months na, anong ginawa ng Abu sa kanya, seven months?

SEC. DUREZA: Seven months since August.

Q: Ba’t ang tagal hawak? Anong ginawa sa kanya? Seven months na.

SEC. DUREZA: Pinapaluto daw siya tapos inuutos-utusan.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Wala na masyadong alam na Bisaya. Tausug na.

Q: Ngayon Tausug na. [laughs]

SEC. DUREZA: Ngayon Tausug na ang salita na eh. He was Cebuano ‘di ba? Cebuano?

Q: Sir, how’s the treatment doon sa bata?
No abuse?


Q: Was there any abuse done?

SEC. DUREZA: Hindi ko na… Dahil he will have to go through psychiatric trauma treatment muna to be able to — for him to be exercise of the trauma.

Dahil sabi niya, ‘pag may military operations, takbo sila. Paminsan may helicopter na hovering above, gustong-gusto niya ‘yung helicopter kasi parang deliverance na sa kanya, maka-eskapo na siya.

So now you know what he asked me kanina? Binigyan kasi siya ng toy car doon sa National Kidney Transplant Institute for medical niya.

Binigyan ng toy car, Mr. President, tinanggap niya from Dra. [?], pero ang sinabi niya, gusto daw niya helicopter.

Dahil natuwa siya every time may military helicopter, nagho-hover, akala niya ‘yun ang freedom niya makauwi na.

So I will give him a toy helicopter. I will not give him a real helicopter. Although if the President may wish to give him one Huey, to bring home.

Q: [overlapping voices] Sir, how exactly was the rescuing?

SEC. DUREZA: Say again?

Q: How exactly did the rescue go?

SEC. DUREZA: Well, that was done with the help of Governor Sakur, the son, and then, of course, our contact.

Remember, with President Duterte, this is not the first one. We have recovered several already. There is the goodwill established and, of course, the pressing military operations that also compel them to also give to us.

Q: Sir, when was this effected? Kailan po na-rescue ‘yung bata?

SEC. DUREZA: Kahapon.

Q: Kahapon? What time, sir, at saka saan?

SEC. DUREZA: Kahapon, because dinaan pa namin sa bahay ni Sakur Tan and the wife there took care of the boy. And we flew him last night to Manila.

Q: Sa Jolo, sir, nanggaling?

SEC. DUREZA: From Jolo.

Q: Sir, ano ito may military operation, tapos nakawala? Papaano ‘yung scenario, sir, na ma-rescue siya?

SEC. DUREZA: Hindi. There was some negotiations done and some contacts by…May mga armed groups din kasi tayo doon na friendly forces eh.

And they have recognized the leadership of the President kaya they have been very helpful.

Kaya ilan na tayo, naka-recover na tayo nang marami.

Q: Sir, may ibinayad po ba na ransom?

SEC. DUREZA:  Well, as far as government, we never give any ransom at all.

Q: Nagdagdag ba ‘yung family?

SEC. DUREZA: Say again?

Q: Nagdagdag ba ‘yung family?

SEC. DUREZA: Wala eh. Wala na nga, wala ng pandagdag, nabigay na — nabenta na nila ‘yung sari-sari store on the first occasion.

Q: Pero ‘yung MNLF, sir, ano ‘yung naging tulong ng MNLF?

SEC. DUREZA: May mga MNLF elements ho tayo na tumulong in the actual recovery as a matter of fact.

Q: Sir, papano po ‘yung seguridad ng family at hindi ba sila babalikan dahil — ?

SEC. DUREZA: Well, they have… After they sold everything there and the family was in shambles, they decided to leave already Payao, Sibugay.

They have relocated themselves with their relatives outside Metro Manila. So I think they will start life anew kaya kailangan nila ng tulong din and I think the President will provide the support.

Q: Sir, ngayon lang po ba sila nag-meet ng family niya?

SEC. DUREZA: Say again?

Q: Ngayon lang sila nag-meet ng family?

SEC. DUREZA: Ngayon lang, dito. Dito.

Q: Sir, bakit parang isang buong pamilya naman ‘yung tinira ng Abu?

SEC. DUREZA: Hindi namin malaman. Father, mother at anak na 8 years old.

Q:  Sir, you went to Sulu also on Feb. 11 to do the same thing but it was unsuccessful. What is the difference now? Bakit siya ni-release (release) compared to before?

SEC. DUREZA: Well, when we went there three weeks ago and it’s still upon the direction of the President to follow up. Eh we were not able to get it and it’s something that only those operatives have been helping us, should already know ‘no. We don’t… We are not really at liberty to disclose.

Pero we were frustrated. We went home. I brought the mother and the father there eh — in the trip to Jolo. We stayed in the house of Governor Sakur Tan waiting for the release pero hindi nangyari kaya umuwi kami.

But as the President directed us, “No let-up, get the boy.” So today we succeeded.

Q: Sir, ilan na lang po ang bihag ng Abu Sayyaf?

SEC. DUREZA: The latest count we have from unofficial sources is about 27 pa. May mga Vietnamese bagong nakuha, anim.

Q: Sir, Filipinos, foreigners or — ?

SEC. DUREZA: Halu-halo na po.

Q: Mr. President, anong message mo sa Abu Sayyaf ngayon kasi — ?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Kayo na lang ang kulang nila. [laughter]

Q: Bagong members. [laughs]

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Hindi, first I’d like to thank Governor Sakur.

Q: Sir, magseselos kami niyan.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Peke pala ‘yung. I’d like to thank Secretary Dureza, Governor Sakur, the son who is also the Governor for a humanitarian job.

Iyon namang mga Ulama who adopted the boy and, of course, the armed men there, thank you this time for treating a human being just like a human being.

But for the rest of the — ‘yung hostages doon, medyo they still have a lot of work to do. It’s all money and convincing.

We have Nur on our side, maybe that’s why Secretary Dureza was a bit successful this time. But I hope this would continue and there’s no other way to do it except there’s a military operation going on.

And I would like to assure everybody that for as long as there is the violence being perpetrated, the Republic of the Philippines will continue with its military operations.

Pero lahat ho and anytime that they would declare maybe reintegration or ceasefire or if they would want a realization of their dreams for the Moro Mindanao, I have, time and again, reiterated and also my desire to adopt a federal system in obedience to their prayers for a long time.

Historically, even before the arrival of the Christians, Mindanao was already Islam. And maybe that started really because — it started with a religious issue way back during the Spanish regime and the American occupation with so much brutality at that time that you can see how it drove people to desperation; and just like in the Middle East, extremism.

So these are — these issues are not easy to solve. It needs a lot of convincing, good faith, and just to deliver what you promise.

Kaya ako naman, I’ve been pleading with the nation to try to consider federalism because, time and again, sinasabi ko sa inyo, ‘pag ka hinid ninyo ibigay ang federalism, Governor Sakur Tan is here and the son, ‘pag hindi ninyo nabigay ang —  natin — nabigay ‘yung sa gobyerno ang federalism, it will tear Mindanao apart.

And I do not think peace would be coming soon in this country.

Q: Mr. President, given you had the command conference yesterday, did you have any new directive to the military on the crackdown against Abu Sayyaf?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I gave the orders to the military. Since you are not a military, I will not give you the order.

Q: Pero, sir, earlier kanina you said na federalism might be the — parang the solution to addressing terrorism in Mindanao…


Q: Is federalism something that the Abu Sayyaf group is demanding?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Maybe, maybe, because ang gripe kasi nila it started with a nationalism. Territorial.

Eh alam mo, pumasok ang Spaniards, pumasok ang Amerikano. Tayo, kami naman noon sa Visayas, excluding my mother was from my Mindanao, sila Islam na, but tayo noon was scattered. Maybe some were, some were not.

But the sheer strength of imperialism brought down to our knees and that is why most of us in the Visayas and Mindanao are Christians. But these religions which we did not embrace with joy and happiness, it was imposed on us.

Dapat malaman rin ng ano ‘yan, mga Abu Sayyaf, mga kayong taga-Moro sa Mindanao that ‘yung religion na ibinigay dito sa mga Kristiyano sa Pilipinas, it was not… I think was kinupkop ng mga tao. It was brought to bear, marami rin ang namatay na ayaw.

So, keep that in mind because itong religion na ito…Well, I don’t know about really the history of the entry of Islam into Mindanao. It took over about sabi nila 100 years.

But itong Christianity na dinala dito ng mga Español, certainly was imposed on us and with much bloody cycle.

Hindi ito basta na lang kinupkop ng mga natives na ginusto natin because it is a religion, but it has nothing to do with God. It has nothing to do with Allah. They’re about the same. Same God.

But ‘yung paano na-embrace ng half of or maybe a fourth of the Philippines at that time, ganun ang history. There’s nothing wrong with truth and history. It is there for all to see.

Q: Sir, how are we going to treat the Abu Sayyaf? Kasi kahapon nagpugot ng German, ‘di ba? Mukhang medyo, as far as bravura is concerned, medyo parang hindi nahihirapan yata sa military operation natin because they can do those stuff?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, it’s a big place. It’s not a one-hectare island that you can really overrun. There are many places to hide.

And for the first time, we are even using air assets, which we did not… We were hesitant to use because, you know, sometimes, about the problem of collateral damage.

But because of the increasing hostages and the rising piracy… As a matter of fact, I’d like to tell you something. I don’t know if it is diplomatic or not. But in one of my talks with the Ambassador, I have requested China, through the Ambassador, to do some patrolling there sa [Malacca] Strait.

It’s known dito, nearer the Philippines, it’s known as the Cebu, the Sulu Sea. But not of the vastness of Sulu Sea is really a part of the territorial waters of the Philippines.

You always count from the coast, ‘yung seashore diyan, up to 12 miles. That is the territorial, territorial. But beyond that, that’s… Well, if there is any entitlements there, iyo ‘yan. But you do not own it actually.

So international sea, sabi ko sa China, if they can contribute sa patrolling. Kasi ang might ng China in terms of sea power, it’s a huge one and if they can patrol the international seas sa [Malacca] because if the piracy continues, that thing there below Mindanao is a vital sea lane going to the Pacific.

If you come in in the middle, from Palawan, from the Indian Sea, pasok kayo dito sa China Sea, is… If you have to sail to go up to the northern up to Taipei to make a turn to the right side going towards the Pacific, malayo ‘yon. But if your target is South America, then you take the route down Mindanao, along the [Malacca] Strait and to the Pacific.

Iyon ang sabi ko but I have not heard of any response. And there are so many requests that I have made na — which China has still to — to entertain.

Q: Sir, are you confident that the military can crush Abu Sayyaf by June? This is their deadline?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Whose deadline? I never imposed a deadline.

Q: The military. Sir, may deadline po sila na June 2017?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, we need equipments. Until such time that we have the fast boats, the eight remaining frigates or whatever, that was ordered from Japan, but we paid for it, actually. And the… Sabi ko nga kay… We plan to purchase more helicopters.

The numbers, I would not want to tell you now but I have to improve on our night-flying capability. We’re nearing to it. We’re nearing to it.

As a matter of fact, we had an operation by air and by ground the other day in Jolo. The exact time, I cannot answer your question. Leave it that way. Yes, ma’am?

Q: Sir, what additional instructions have you given the military? Do you want more men in the south, sir, considering that parang — it’s like ‘yung ginagawa po ng Abu ngayon is lume-level up na po sila, sir?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No. At this time, rebellions are really hard to finish.

Every revolution from the far to the so many revolutions around the world, mahirapan talaga because we cannot…No nation can really afford so much army. It’s very expensive.

And the vastness of the place, it might really be just a drawing there in the map but if you go there, malaki ‘yan. And the… I said we just cannot search every…

You know, human being gets tired. And the most that an operation can be sustained would be about three days. Two days of fighting and the soldiers must rest.

It’s not I think as he sleeps, eat and fight everyday. Ang pinakamahaba niyan is tatlong araw, wala na ang sundalo niyan, it’s bone-weary already.

Ang iniiwasan natin diyan is baka mawalaan ng will to fight for sheer… I said, when you are bone-weary, you would not even want to carry a gun. It’s a cycle naman ‘yan. ‘Di naman ’yan i-sustain mo. Sabi sustain a war that you have another fresh groups after the other one. They have to rest and we cannot continue a cycle because there’s nothing to… We don’t have the number of soldiers.

We have to take care especially with the resurgence now of the activities of the NDF-CPP-NPA.

They are again posted along the vital arteries of our country, mga highways, and, of course, in the Bicol and Mindanao area they are really very active. And we continue also to lose government security men. And on top of that is also soldiers killed and police killed in drug operations.

By the way, it was yesterday’s command conference. I have ordered Bato to recruit young men in the PNP who are imbued with the fervor of patriotism to be the members only of the mga task forces.

Every station should have one pero ‘yung piling-pili, ‘yung walang mga kaso at walang history ng corruption.

I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao. I am also I said, fighting again the NPAs and I have this problem in Mindanao about terrorism and drugs.

So kailangan ko ng tao. I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time sa drugs. Hindi lahat, hindi lahat.

And it’s going to be a PDEA-supervised. Whether done by the military or the police, there should always be a PDEA from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency who will be supervising everything.

Q: From the PNP or from outside the PNP?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: PNP. PNP. Kukunin diyan sa mga istasyon.

Q: Sir, ilan? How many?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Depende na ‘yan kung ilan ang tingin ni…

In large areas, for example, areas of jurisdiction, large, then it would require you with a number of peace officers there.

If it’s a small municipality, then what’s the use of putting it…? Pero hindi na lahat kasi I said, make some good choices there about young PNP officers who are, I said, imbued with the fervor of patriotism to serve his country.

Q: So ‘yung Tokhang, Mayor, resume na po?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I will leave it to the police to decide. If that is the best way to do it, fine.

Q: Sir, ‘yung task force with young recruits, para sa illegal drugs ba ‘to or ano specifically?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Para sa illegal drugs. But an ordinary policeman, an ordinary police and military, sarhento o kabo, an ordinary citizen of this country can make a valid arrest.

‘Pag ako nagpasyal ako ng gabi at may nakita ako na transaksyon, buy and sell ng drugs, even if I am a civilian Rodrigo Duterte and if I have the arms, I will place you under arrest.

And you fight it out with me, I will kill you. If I think that my life is in danger in arresting you for a valid cause because you are committing a crime in my presence.

A civilian who is present in the scene of the crime, of the scene of another’s crime, has this duty, social duty, and obligation of a citizen if you are capable of doing it, to place a person who is about to commit a crime or actually committing a crime or has, in fact, committed a crime in your presence.

Q: Sir, hindi naman dangerous ito for the —

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Yes, kaya nga sabi ko if I am Rodrigo Duterte with an arm… That’s the reason why you have to keep in touch with my words, every words that I…

Q: Sir, hindi po ba magiging smokescreen na naman ito for people to kill one from the…They can say that they were defending themselves but actually they were really out to kill?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, g*** ka kung mag-baril ka lang diyan ng wala. Then somebody will catch up with you.

I said it’s a moral obligation, it’s a legal obligation of a citizen who is in a position to do an arrest. Kapag nag-baril ka diyan with a valid permit and with a current license, tapos you will bring it and you commit a crime in my presence — you are about to be raped. I do not just have to look at you and watch you being raped.

I can always tell the guy, dismount and be prepared to be arrested. And if he offers a resistance by pulling a knife and attacking me or pulling a gun, then I can shoot him. And I can always say, I kill the guy because he was raping you. Okay.

Q: Until when dapat ma-fill up ni Bato ‘yung recruitment?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ah matagal pa ‘yan. It’s a process. It’s not easy to look for honest men.

Mahirap talaga dito. It’s just like the proverbial honest man with… Ha?

Q: Ano ang order ninyo sa mga pulis na hindi pumunta ng Basilan?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, they should be subjected to summary dismissal and I have requested the police to form particularly a squad at bantayan itong mga pulis naalis na sa trabaho.

Most of them ay ‘yung mga ninjas are criminals so they are high in the list. And do not be surprised if they are killed because they are wanted and so are the police who have been dismissed for committing crimes.

‘Pag nawala ‘yan sa trabaho they will continue their plunder, they will continue with their crime.

So, meron talagang tiga-silip sa kanila from time to time kasi itong mga wala na na trabaho pulis na nga kriminal pa mas lalo na kung hindi na ito pulis.

So itong mga ito mamarkahan ko talaga ito sila. And I would like to warn them, I will not spare you. Mauna talaga kayong mamatay. ‘Pag nagkamali kayo, mauna kayong mamatay sigurado ‘yan.

Mabibiyuda talaga asawa mo. Huwag ninyong lokohin ang gobyerno. Do not even try. Do not even think about it na akala ninyo wala na kayo sa trabaho so wala na ‘yung pera na malaki, sasakay na naman kayo ngayon sa droga, special target kayo.

And, I said, I’m warning the public including the media right now, do not be surprised if they are killed one of these days, one by one.

Q: Salamat, sir.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ay sandali. Bigyan natin ng panahon magpasalamat ‘yung nanay pati ‘yung…Hay man ‘yung… Pare, saan na ‘yung kumpare ko?

MOTHER: Una sa lahat nagpapasalamat ako sa Poong Maykapal at saka kay ano kay President. President, maraming salamat. Maraming salamat po, sir. Salamat sa mga opisyal ho, salamat sa lahat.

FATHER: Nagpasalamat po kami kay Mahal na President at sa kanyang secretary na si Secretary Dureza at saka sa gobyerno ng Jolo si Abdusakur Tan at saka si Toto Tan dahil sa kanila nakuha, nabalik ‘yung bata namin sa amin. Salamat po sa lahat.

CHILD: As-Salaam-Alaikum.


CHILD: [Magsukul?]

SEC. DUREZA: Magsaludo daw siya.

Q: Sundalo na ba ‘yan, sir? [laughter]

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Ako may gusto akong kidnapin. [laughter]Huwag… Ako lang, ako lang, ako ang mag-kidnap. Joke lang ‘yan.

Q: Iyong sa German ano ang statement ninyo doon, sir?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: There is a standing policy because if you give in and pay, mas maraming biktima at wala nang katapusan.

You will just…You just be like a — not even an accessory — para ka ring principal diyan na nagbibigay ka ng pera because you will add another motivation for this guy to… Wala nang katapusan ‘yan kung magbayad ka. Pero kung ito ang kidnapin…Pati ito, nasaan na ba si Rappler? Ay ito oh, tumaba na.

Well, just be careful with your assignments ‘no. Alam mo minsan media is being respected everywhere, and even the Abu Sayyaf allowed media to enter their territory at times and for some reasons.

But do not ever, ever think that some other reasons applies to you. Na dahil media ka hayaan ka lang na…

There might, I said, be some reasons for allowing the others while you are not. Just be careful with your… At, I know, you have to be enterprising to succeed as a good media practitioner.

Q: Sir, any message to German government?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, yes, correctly said.

I am very sorry that the hostage or a national of your country has been beheaded. I sympathize with the family. I commiserate with the German people.

But, I said, we tried, there’s a massive operation now going on. And as I have just announced to you, we are beginning to use the air assets.

I would like to say something to the family and to the government that we really tried our best. We have been there… The military operation has been going on for sometime already.

And… But we have failed. And so that has to be admitted. There’s nothing wrong in admitting a failure.

But it’s a matter of policy that we do not surrender to the demands of paying ransom. It will just increase the numbers.

Q: Mr. President pasensiya na po, pasundot lang po ako doon sa communist kanina, sir. Mayroon ho ba kayo naging specific na instruction sa CPP, left leaning Cabinet Secretary on — to, for return of peace talks just in case, sir?  

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: I will think about it. I will think…I will think a thousand times, then consult the Cabinet including the left leaning members of the Cabinet.

We are a Cabinet. We are a working government. And now we do — we can work well with each other.

We’re all right and it’s best that we discuss it sometime, not now, about how to go — about this problem and how to navigate again the stormy waters of our conflict.

But government interest must prevail. Government interest must prevail.

Q: Thank you, Mr. President.

SOURCE: PND PCO Transcriber