President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Speech during the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Change of Command Ceremony
AFP General Headquarters Grandstand, Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City
01 July 2016
Kindly sit down. Thank you.

Troop Commander, give the order of tikas pahinga.

The Vice President Leni Robredo, this is my first time to meet you personally [applause].

I would have preferred to be seated beside you but nandiyan si Defense (Secretary Delfin Lorenzana) e [laughter] President Fidel V. Ramos, the first Filipino who journeyed to Davao City to ask me to run for public office and president [applause] and he said to me “you run because it is high time that Mindanao should have its president.” Maraming salamat sa’yo, sir. [applause]; Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, we were together in Davao many years ago and of course that is why I chose him kasi siya ‘yung kilala ko. ‘Yung iba hindi ko kilala, so — Lt. Gen Glorioso Miranda, sir, please sit down, sir, napapahiya ako. [laughter]; Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak; the members of the diplomatic corps; major service commanders; and the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; members of the Foreign Armed Forces Attaches; fellow workers in government; my beloved country men.

Alam mo, the first job of a president is not to go to war but rather to bring peace to his land. So even before I was already a proclaimed but before assumption of office, I was busy going around Mindanao and talking to a lot of people to bring about peace in our land. Started with the left and with the NPAs (New People’s Army), and we got a favorable answer from the leaders, including Jose Maria Sison.

Alam mo, it was in the 1970s na nakinig ako kay Jose Maria Sison talking about revolution and I was then in the AB, and half of it, well, of course, sa College of Law. And I am now 71 years old and the Communist Party [of the Philippines] is still talking of a revolution. Kaya sinabi ko sa kanila initially, anong gusto ninyo sa bayan natin? I was a student, ako lolo na ako ngayon at naging presidente pa. I don’t know really why, you have to supply the answer. Maybe President (Fidel) Ramos can give us an idea.

Well, we got this favorable response from the outside and we started to talk. Well to the camp of Murad and started to talk to the central committee and Jafar. And since Nur [Misuari] is a friend of mine, and I said: “Nur, we’re about to go. Matanda na tayong dalawa. Are we still going to fight at this time?”

My job is to bring peace. My job is to talk to the enemies of the state, to the Communist Party of the Philippines, to the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), and to the men, and see if I could make a difference in our lives. Alam mo, hindi ko sinali ang Abu Sayyaf, neither dito o sa criminal campaign natin, because the Abu Sayyaf is closely connected with the issue of Mindanao. Originally, mga tao sila ito ng MN[LF], pati mga anak na ‘yung MN[LF] pati MI[LF] and that was where the futility (unclear) in the Mindanao issue.

Simply stated: They’re claiming the historical right and more privileges for them. And I cannot blame them. You know when [Ferdinand] Magellan landed in Leyte in 1521, bringing Christianity with him and propagated it everywhere in the Visayas and Luzon. 100 years before, Sulu area and some parts of Mindanao were already Islam.

That is why a lot of the historical planners never really took into the consideration that there was this oppression by series of government na hindi kanila. And they think that until now, we’re trying to repress them. And I said to them: You know you cannot drive us away anymore. Kagaya ko at pati ‘yung mga anak ko, half of us are really moro already. I have a bunch of my family, my little boys and girls who are Moro.

And so I, it behooves upon me and I think to really look for the answer and I can hack it, and if can talk to Maria Sison and bring about — not a coalition government — an inclusive government. They are there already. And I said that so long as the powers that would pertain to matters belonging to the police and the military, hindi ho sa inyo ‘yan. The tall orders, the mundane matters of governance I can give it to you and we are talking. Next week, we are to talk to the MI[LF] and eventually I think I’ll have to travel to Jolo to talk to Nur [Misuari]. I’m willing to give them safe conduct passes, only the leaders. At baka matyambahan ko na magkaroon tayo ng mapayapa. And if that happens really, I can retire happy and I can look back and say that I did my duty in nation building. [applause]

It is not a war to be fought forever. We cannot fight forever. We might have the weapons, the armaments, and the bullets, mortars, but does not make any (unclear).

My job is to bring peace but hand in hand I must also bring order in my country. Alam mo sa totoo lang, we can only take so much. I am not warning Abu Sayyaf but I said there will always be a time for reckoning.

Just keep our fingers crossed. And I said we can only swallow so much. We cannot be weeping boy of the few who wants nothing but maybe money and power in their hands. And so also with the problem now, a very serious problem of the country. Saan ka nakakita dito ng gobyerno na ang trafficking ng drugs is being controlled inside the Bilibid prison? At parang sampal ‘yan nang ilang beses. And how it came about into being is really, well I would know, said in neglect.

How can it happen na kung mag-inspection ka sa Bilibid, you have to ask permission from the idiot inside. Ay nako. This is my first day. I’m warning them there, they have the TVs there inside. Napasyal ako noon, pagpasok ko I was there to see– I accompanied Pastor [Apollo] Quiboloy to pray over kay [Hubert] Webb, ‘yung anak ni [Freddie] Webb who was in Muntinlupa. At pagdaan ko doon sa death row:

“Uy mayor, mayor.” Akala ko naman taga-Davao. Sabi ko: Ang rami niyong taga-Davao nakulong ah. Sabi nila: Hindi mayor, Ilocano kami e. Halo halo, mga waray. Nakikita ka namin sa TV.

Well the TV is there now. Magbilang kayo ng araw.Magbilang kayo ng araw.Sa ginagawa ninyo. Do not be the solution of it all. May problema diyan. Hinihiya ninyo ang gobyerno.Sinasampal ninyo kami. Magbilang kayo ng oras. Ayaw ko ng araw. [Laughter and applause]

The drugs must be suppressed. It cannot be eliminated. For as long as the greed for money is there, the very corrosive effect of money has sudden impact on our society. There are a lot of people, these lives destroyed using it and nor they were in the rural areas. Now we have reached the hinterlands, and they are getting the carabaos, and the pigs and the chickens and the eggs.

Well, nakikinig naman ‘yung mga NPA, nasa pwesto pa naman kayo. Ano kaya ‘yung korte nito,‘yung korte ninyo. Korte ninyo, I don’t know if it’s a kangaro or otherwise. E, patayin nalang ninyo para mas madali ang masolusyon angproblema natin.

nyway, kung maengkwentro ninyo ‘yan, it’s always a crime… crime committed in your presence. You do not shoot anybody just because you see them walking, but I know you have this validation. Ekung diyan sa bukid, tapusin na ninyo yan mas mabuti wala narin kayong ginagawa.

There is slow down in the fighting. Why should we be fighting? And as matter of fact, I’m just awaiting for the arrival of Sison to talk to him and maybe, just maybe in the fullness of God’s time, we can have peace amongst us. ‘Yung mga droga ay malala. And I have to call in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help. Sadly gusto ko sanang ang inyong Board of Generals will be a vibrant entity within the organization as I have promised and as was my practice during my mayorship days, I never interfered. Kung ano ang trabaho ng pulis, I did not even want to entertain ‘yung request for… assignment of a certain police officer in the barangays. I’d always tell them: Go to the police director. I do not want to interfere (unclear).

The best support that they can give you and you can ask anybody, lahat‘yan sila ngayon sa gobyerno nagdala-dala ko.

There once upon a time city, police directors and — well the performance was there. Lahat naman mababait at mahusay except for a few and in this, our society now, nagbabaha ‘yung droga and drug lords and the criminals.

There are a lot of Chinese citizens, Filipino or otherwise, kidnap, ransom demanded but they were never really returned. So tinapon lang nila kung saan, ilibing nila kung—
These are the things that we have to stop and that is why I said I would be harsh, not cruel but I would be harsh and wala akong tolerance sa droga. Zero. So ‘yan ang laban natin ngayon.Kayong nagbakasyon dito from the fields in Mindanao and in the Visayas. You might want just to join the hunt for them. We will eliminate the drug lords once and for all. We have to stop this practice sa Bilibid.

Bitawan na ninyo ‘yan o kainin na ninyo ngayon ang supply ninyo. (laughs) Nawala na talaga ang pasensya ko sa inyo. Iniinsulto ninyo kami. Hinuli ko nga kayo sa Davao kasi nagluluto kayo ng shabu. Hindi ko kayo pinatay dahil magalit ang [Commission on] Human Rights. Dinala ko kayo diyan sa Muntinlupa after conviction at pagdating diyan nagluluto na naman ng shabu. Anong klase? Noon kasi ‘di ako presidente, ngayon well, we’ll just have to make some adjustment. You know there is always a time for everything. There’s always a time for you to make money and make a mockery out of our laws. There’s always a time for you to be in control even if you are inside the prison. But there is always a time to rest and to die. Ganon ang buhay. As you are born, there’s also death.

I’m not threatening you. I’m just telling you that there is always a time. For us, the security forces, the Armed forces and the police, there is always a time. We can only take so much insult. We can only take so much… hanggang kaya lang ng sikmura namin. E, ako ay nasusuka na. And you have to help me put it stop.

In the final days of the campaign at Luneta, I gave this statement and I said I will put at stake my honor, my life and the presidency.

Sinabi ko sa inyong mga kriminal, lahat kayo: If you destroy my country, I will kill you [Applause] If you destroy our children, I will kill you. If I am asked by anybody, including the Commission on Human Rights, I do not know you. [Laughter]
Salamat po.