Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Signing of the Executive Order on the Bangsamoro Transition Commission
Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
07 November 2016
Thank you. Kindly sit down.

Executive Secretary Medialdea; Secretary Dureza, and the members of the Cabinet; Chairman Irene Santiago, and the GPH Implementing Panel Members; Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim, and our brothers from MILF; Chairman Iqbal, and the MILF Implementing Panel Members; Chairman Muslimin Sema; and the MNLF Center of Community Members; my fellow workers in government; my countrymen.

I am a creature of Mindanao. Though, when I’m asked from whereof I come, I would always say that I am a Cebuano, because we trace our linage from our paternal fathers. But actually, I have not resided in Cebu, not even for the day. And so, I’ve always considered myself from Mindanao, who has grown up in the place and saw everything that unfolded all these years. And one of those things really, is the continuous strife, the internecine between our brothers, the Moro and the Christians ever since.

I ran for President, and obviously, this will be the first time that you would realize it. That while they were campaigning all along and never really admire—well, in the sense that I did not—a way, directly involved myself with the campaign, and because I said, I was not running.

Problem is, as the campaign developed, I was appalled by the fact that nobody was talking about Mindanao. Every one of them, the usual infrastructure project and blah, blah, blah. But never one of—not one of them ever said that they would take a second look to what will happen in Mindanao. And being there was—when I witnessed to the so many body bags being carried out of Davao and those in the places where they were fighting for their lands. And I said that this would be a tragedy because if from here, if there’s nobody could take the cudgels for Mindanao. Then, the fighting will continue.

And I said, if there is no person who would stand for peace in Mindanao, then we’ll have another round of 40—almost 45 years of fighting. So, we were faced with the dilemma of fighting for another 45 years. Added or let alone to the problem of the Communist Party of the Philippines with whom are—we are fight—were or are fighting for almost 45 years now.

There seems to be no respite to the troubles that ailed the country. That’s why, I decided to run on the platform that there will be a structure that must be acceptable to the people of the Republic of the Philippines and one that must be adapted willingly by the Moro people of Mindanao.

Ang problema dito, ako lang ang nagsasabi noon. At sinasabi ko na uli, pabalik-balik iyon. Here and now again, I will tell you that without an all together new framework, and the best structure that would be acceptable to all would be a federal set up. And I said that if you can perfect the federal government apparatus by about the third, fourth year, and there would be a President, a strong President provided for that kind of government. I will willingly give up the rest of my term. I will resign and I give you my word now. Kung madalian lang sana ito at kung mapadali natin. There will be no problem sa akin. Because it provides for a strong president, which is I’m elected for 4 years. But if you can just finish it in 3 to 4 years, I am out. That I commit to you. So madalian lang natin ito, we can have a special autonomous within the federal government for the Muslim in Mindanao.

But the historical injustice, I said, that’s what I termed the—thing and the situation now must be corrected. And it dates back to the time of Magellan while he was comfortable capturing the islands of the Visayas and Luzon but in Mindanao, they tried to do it but they are not able to complete the process because Mindanao at that time was already 100 per cent Islam. Doon ang nagka-problema and because they were not only trying to inject a new system of colonial rule but also a religion. That complicated the matters and that led into a bloody war for 400 years of resistance by the Moro people. And when the Americans by the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the Philippines was included as one of those conceded territories by the Americans. How it came about that Mindanao was included, that is really a mystery to all of us. But that started another round of trouble, and I said, pardon me for saying it, it’s not really intended to just—and these so many atrocities that accompany the campaign.

So when I showed to everybody a photograph of those taken during the time and showed the pile of bodies of men, women and children in a pit, in several pits in Mindanao, I would usually be answered by saying, “Mayor, matagal na iyan, that’s 100 years.” And I told them that, you know, this picture is the portrayer of the problem until now. It is not 100 years old, it is today. Unless you are able to do something about this photograph, this photo. And mind you, it was not taken by the Filipinos at that time because nobody had that gadget called camera. Sa kanila iyon eh.

The only problem is they took pictures of it and filed it in the archives of their country. And so some enterprising Filipino got a copy of it and so let’s have—we have these pictures of almost— the brutality and cruelty of men. And mind you, the irony of it all that this is the very country that’s really trying to come up with this very late realization of what the human right is. Iyan ang ano ko, so that when this came into a ruckus, I said that you should be the last to say those words.

And for as long as we do not have a mechanism to ensure that justice has been served, we will never find peace in Mindanao. In the same manner with the communists, we must be able to address them, otherwise, no president ever after me who will be able also to solve it on time. Maybe overtime, but I said, what is very important is to educate the people. And that is why, I am very much interested in the education of the Moro people. And you know, mind you, when I entered the mayorship, there was only one Madrasah school. And today, it has expanded to almost 169 because I wanted the Moro people educated so that they would know what to do with their country in the coming years.

So my only desire is that peace in Mindanao would finally come. And if it can be done peacefully without a fight, we would be grateful to God that not a single drop of blood has been shed in this new undertaking of giving a country finally the deliverance from violence. Ako, hindi ko nga malaman. I—you know very well kayong mga—half of my line of grandchildren are Muslims, and half are Christians. So I would be the last person really to deny, hindi natin kailangan. Because I would still also be in a quandary if it indeed it happens and say, “Where is my loyalty?” Saan ako niyo yan ilagay?

And so, if there’s any one person actually who was really very much interested about peace at the start and even the campaign, it was my battlecry, Mindanao, and of course corruption and the drug and the issues of criminality. But whenever I went around to— I always said that, we have to have peace in Mindanao. And I was the only one talking about it, because the rest of the guys, with due respect, never knew any single issue about Mindanao. Either they did not know about it, or just pretended not to talk about it. Maybe to— well, fear to alienate the others or not also frank enough to admit that there is a problem which we have to solve.

And I hope it will be solved, from the time that I have signed that document, I will see to it, I will talk to the Speaker and to the Senate President and leaders to fast track it because I want it. Maski iyan na lang. If I could get a peace agreement with the communists, and hammer out something for the MN/MI, and to all the Moro groupings and even the Abu Sayyaf. If I could just extend my hand to them in friendship, and just tell them that it is time to just really have a country which is normal and peaceful, and for our children to grow in peace, then I would have succeeded.

If I could just have this thing about territory, I’m ready. If you want to call an election as early as three years from now, I said, I am willingly going to step down, and I hope to complete the process of destroying the apparatus. The drug problem in the country is not run by one person. As a matter of fact, they exchange stocks wherever there is a dearth of one supply, then they send another. So they exchanged goods, and this is really an apparatus which the government must destroy, else it will be the reason for the failed state of the Philippine Republic.

If you see now—alam mo, sa totoo lang magprangkahan tayo, we are already in the narco-politics stage. Just like in South America, started as just a small time, and you should know the history. There are a lot of books written about how America failed its people. And in the border along Mexico and Arizona, Texas and the countries bordering it, there are now about 60,000 people who have died there; and nobody is complaining.

Here, I have a problem of drugs which is really there supplied by many, either from out thrown overboard, jettisoned and, you know, somebody picking it up in the high seas, or manufactured here. I would not like to dwell on the one million under my term which started just a few months ago. I will limit myself to the already confirmed figure given by General Santiago of PDEA when he was heading that agency.

Ang lumabas ganito, there are about three million at that time. I do not know where to add the one million that’s coming my way to solve or to just leave it there as a separate figure because kukuwentahin lang ho ninyo sa 200 per hit, that is the prevalent price dito sa—I think all over the Philippines, it’s 200. If you times that by three million, iyong kay Santiago na lang muna, you’ll have about 6,000 per month, per person. And if you multiply it by weeks, then you will have 18 billion a week—18 billion a month, rather. And if you count it by years, that would be 216 billion a year, money that is intended for food, money intended for the school of the children, money intended for medicine. A breadwinner in the family would lose that much. And not all of it are really honestly earned, for some of them were stolen from the other hands of those who are robbed, killed along the way. It’s where the highest of crime.

Kailangan talaga maputol ito, not only the individuals but the apparatus itself. And mind you again, I did not order the police to take punitive actions. I directed the police and the Armed Forces to go after them because I have declared war. And whatever the Human Rights guys would tell us, whatever be the characterization of the situation, I am declaring a war. And until the last pusher or the last drug lord is killed, this campaign will continue until the very last day of my term, however short or however long it is.

I am committed to that duty. I do not pave … maybe pulling a chair here and say that, I am the only one who can do it. But in my time because I’m here, I will do it. And I do not care—you know, I would like to announce now that the 16— 200— 2,000— 26,000 of M16 that was, maybe, ordered or were ordered already, I am ordering its cancellation sa pulis. And we will just have to look for another source that is cheaper and maybe as durable and as good as those made from the place we are ordering them. We will not insist on buying expensive arms from— we can always get them somewhere else. So, kalimutan na nila— sabi, it would be arriving on July of 2017. I am ordering the police to cancel it. Hindi natin kailangan ang— and you know why? Alam ninyo bakit? Why should we hurry it? Yung baril na iyan, bilhin ko? Sino ang patayin ko diyan? Wala man tayong kalaban. Tayo-tayo lang ang nagpapatayan dito. So what’s my hurry? I don’t have to hurry. I buy bullets, what for? For the Filipinos. Eh tayo-tayo lang dito, I will just cancel it. Contribute it to the success of the reinvigorated Bangsamoro Transition Committee.

Huwag na muna tayong bumili ng baril. Let us just have a moratorium of violence and, maybe, we can use the money; use for some other endeavors. Iyan lang ang hinihingi ko sa inyo. Kaysa magbili ako, gagamitin lang rin iyan para magpatayan tayo dito. So, what do we get? Because you buy that, you have to buy bullets. And if you have the bullets, ano yan, para patayin mo lang ang kapwa mo Pilipino, o kapwa mo Moro, o kapwa mo Kristiyano.

So ako, I am committed to the peace process. I pray to Allah that it will succeed in my term. Sabi ko nga, maski iyan na lang ang magawa ko para sa bayan, okay na ako, then I can retire in peace.

Maraming salamat po. (applause)