Press Conference by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the 30th ASEAN Summit
Meeting Room 4, PICC
29 April 2017

Anak ka ng… Kung ganito lang naman ang mga summit, kanselado na ‘yung sa November. [laughter]

Totoo. Pareho ra man. Wala naman nagbago.

Totoo. Pwede na siguro. We can do away ‘yung sa November. Iyong Foreign Affairs, si, sa… Sir, huwag ka na mag-summit-summit dito. [laughter]

Magtinginan muna tayo para… We have to catch with… Nothing to catch.

Distinguished members of the press, friends, ladies and gentlemen.

The Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN this year is doubly significant. Coinciding at a time when we marked the ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary.

As we celebrate the golden jubilee of our regional grouping, we honor the Founding Fathers of ASEAN through our steadfast commitment of bringing an open, peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

Our theme “Partnering For Change, Engaging The World,” reflects our common goal of realizing an integrated and resilient ASEAN community actively leading in advancing political security cooperation, economic growth, and sociocultural development in the global arena.

At the 30th Summit of ASEAN, we had engaged in a productive and fruitful deliberation of ASEAN’s work in the community of building process.

We also discussed the implementation of the blueprints and work fronts of the three community pillars: the political security community; the economic community; and the sociocultural community as we work towards the realization of ASEAN Vision 2025.

We exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest and concern. We acknowledged the importance of ASEAN cooperation in addressing issues that affect peace, security, and prosperity of the region, including terrorism, violent extremism, piracy, human trafficking, and illegal drugs.

We had productive engagements with our parliamentarians and the youth of ASEAN who are vital components in keeping the engine of ASEAN growth running smoothly.

We looked at the progress of our cooperation with external partners and the future direction of ASEAN’s engagement with them noting the importance of ASEAN Centrality, which shows that relations only bear fruit if cooperation is anchored on mutual respect and benefit.

Earlier this afternoon, we signed the ASEAN Declaration of the Role of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

This underscores the essential role of civil servants in building and nurturing community.

As the 30th ASEAN Summit draws to a close, we also acknowledged the need to deepen awareness and instill a sense of community among the peoples of ASEAN.

We look forward to the full and active participation of all ASEAN citizens for them to effectively play as key partners for positive change in the regional community building.

This is… That ends my statement. But the Chairman’s Statement will be released next year siguro, maghintay kayo. [laughter] Later tonight. Maybe before the banquet. Are you invited there? [Media: “No.”] [Bong, paano sila? Ha? Sabi nga, huwag kayong magsummit-summit kung wala kayong pera.]

You are invited. We can add tables and chairs there. Pirmahan na lang ni Bongabong ‘yun.

I am now ready for… Dinner is 8:45. But I’ll give you until 1 o’clock in the morning [laughter] to come out with…

I’m ready to answer questions.


Q: Mr. President, my name is (?) from China’s Central Television, I know in the coming May you are going to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum of international cooperation…

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: That’s correct. 

Q: Yes, and of the 10 members of ASEAN countries, there are a total of seven countries who will go there including the Philippines is also will going to Beijing to attend this forum. So I would like to know what’s your opinion about the role of ASEAN countries in the One Belt, One Road initiative and what’s the — ?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Very important because it starts here in Asia. It is an expanding theory of economics I guess of China. It is helping neighbors at the same time broadening the market. I guess it is that’s what it is. It cannot be other but economics.

Nobody should enter into that kind of exercise giving mostly grants I should say and even here in Metro Manila. We have been promised about two or three bridges for free, grants. That is before the coming One Belt, One Road conference.

So I expect that I can — not really get something out of it but maybe more help to develop my country.

And I would like to thank China through you. Thank you.

Q: Hello, sir, I’m Riza from Kyodo News, Japanese news agency. My question is on the North Korean issue. North Korea has fired a ballistic missile this morning and I would like to know what kind of discussions were held in today’s meetings regarding North Korea and the current situation of the rising tensions in the region? And another question is I would also like to know if you have proposed anything to your counterparts about how the US should involve in the issue?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, the countries of ASEAN or ASEAN as a world is extremely worried. There’s a — it seems to be a two countries playing with their toys and those toys are not really to entertain.

And we have to caution everybody including those who would give the advice to the two power players because they are the nuclear warheads to just show restraint. And it behooves upon America who wields the biggest stick just to really to be prudent and patient.

We know that we are playing with somebody who relishes — letting go his missiles and everything. I would not want to go into his mind because I really do not know what’s inside.

But he’s putting Mother Earth, the planet to an edge. If one miscalculation of a missile whether or not a nuclear warhead or just an ordinary dumb bomb, one explosion there that would hit somebody could cause a catastrophe.

And it would really mean the first victim would be Asia and Southeast — the whole of the ASEAN countries and the rest because if those are really nuclear warheads then it means the end of the world.

So maybe I’d be happy to see you in heaven. But that’s about it. The region and the planet will become dry, nothing will grow and we will shrink little by little, not maybe in height but also in height — there will be hunger, agony and everybody suffers.

And only because two nations are playing with their dangerous toys. It behooves I said on America because it’s a more responsible country.

I’m sure President Trump by now must also have been — is cautioning his military to just maybe hang on there and not to start a — something which they cannot control.

So I am expecting a call actually from President Trump tonight. And who am I to say that, ‘you should stop.’ But I would say just, ‘Mr. President, please see to it that there is no war because my region will suffer immensely.’ The first. The first fallout would be ASEAN, Asia, very near, very dangerous.

Everybody’s worried. Nobody’s clapping his hand. And I’m sure that if war breaks out in the Korean Peninsula, the imponderables of life is really you cannot foresee even project what will happen.

Whether China would just stand idly, fold its hands or Russia, China would come to the rescue and Britain, France, America and the rest, Japan would also join the melee.

I am as worried as you really. We are on the edge and… Well, firing missiles, he has been playing with that kind of thing, just let him. Take it as a… You know what ‘kwitis’ is? The kwitis is that during festivals we [whistles]. It reached his missiles like that. And he enjoys… It shows on the face that he enjoys… Let him and I would just advise — no, not really advise but I would just communicate to… And just let him play with his…

Do not play into his hands. The guy simply wants to end the world. That is why he is very happy. He is always smiling. But here he wants to finish everything and they will drag us all down.

So we will have a communiqué, a statement about the situation in the Korean Peninsula. It may be part of my Chairman’s Statement. I said I will release it tonight. Before the start of the war there in the Korean Peninsula at least it will be released, maybe on D-Day. You like war? Nobody wants it.

Q: Magandang gabi po. Sir, in your discussion with other ASEAN leaders, what was decided as ASEAN’s next step in dealing with militarization in the South China Sea and can you describe to us the process upon which you arrived at that decision, sir?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Well, it’s really was a sort of a pleading or praying. It’s too late for us to be joining the fray. What for? We do not have the nuclear warheads; we do not want it. And even if it’s with us, it would be almost a grotesque thing for you to add to the firepower of what is already before our eyes.

That’s… Nobody wanted to really to comment except that do not start a war over there because you will drag us down. We have innocent ones. But you know, I said it’s just a show of… Well, Trump, President Trump has been really pissed off with the constant barrage over there and even the threatening words.

You can really be pissed off with that kind of statement or challenging. But I said do not play into his hands because at the end of the day, whatever you use or say, it’s gonna be a holocaust for all.

So it would be good for America to just restrain a little bit. And if I were President Trump, I’ll just back out. Not really surrender in retreat but just to let the guy realize that please do not do it.

Q: Sir, can I shift a little bit regarding the South China Sea situation?


Q: In your discussions, sir, with other ASEAN leaders, was it easy… What was the next steps… What is going to be the next steps of ASEAN as a block in dealing with militarization in the South China Sea, sir? 

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: We are also asking for the Conduct. That’s about it. No terms of reference except that we want the Code of Conduct enacted by the at least — at the very least before the end of this year. So that everybody would just be feel comfortable sailing there. Because if not, then it remains to be a flashpoint.

China Sea and Korea are the two flashpoints there including the Middle East. You must remember that Israel fired some missiles there. And if some dumbhead would retaliate, that would be another flashpoint. So you have three flashpoints in the world today.

For those who are peace-loving just like me, I do not want trouble. So you have to be very careful. We never talked about anything of the build up or something. It would be useless. 

Actually it would be useless to… Except fighting terrorism, any other military buildup today is pretty much useless.

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. I am Kristin Huang from South China Morning Post and my question is about the final statement. What’s the contents about the South China Sea in the final statement? And what are the countries that want to add harsh words about the South China Sea in the final statement? 

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, no, no, I did not use that. You have been misinformed. I used that when we were talking about — there were three, four of us. It was Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines and we were talking about the treatment of how we should react.

And I said we are starting tomorrow. I said I have to fly tonight back home. The RORO, the Roll-on, Roll-off thing. But in the final minutes, I was forced to stand up and say, we have to talk about the corollary or the armed component of this thing because as it is, the Sulu, Sulawesi and Malacca Straits have become dangerous.

And we do not want any ship making the voyage, maiden or a continuous thing, to be there in the quagmire of kidnapping, hijacking, killing and I said we have forgotten to discuss the component of how to safeguard. And I said let it be that… I have told my Navy that we will be harsh in dealing with criminals.

I have always adopted that word and that was the word that I used during the presidential debates when I was asked how I would deal with terrorists. Same with the others. ‘I will be harsh.’ Harsh is a shrinking or expanding word. Harsh. 

Q: Good evening, sir. This morning in your speech, you called on your fellow ASEAN leaders to help make ASEAN drug-free. You said there’s a massive illegal drug trade apparatus in the region?

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: No, it’s a slogan by the ASEAN not mine. 

Q: Okay. 


Q: Right. Sir, how do you intend ASEAN to address the drug problem? Do you also want the region to take harsh measures as you mentioned earlier and during your presidential campaign against drug traffickers? 

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: As it is, look at the penalty. Look at the penal provisions of their countries. It’s death by hanging. It’s only the Philippines that has abrogated or suspended the death penalty.

You go to Indonesia, they will hang you. You must remember that we have a Filipina there who was granted a reprieve but who was sentenced to death.

In Malaysia, the same thing. Singapore is no exception. We… The Philippines is about the only… 

In America, they have resumed executing criminals one after the other. And I said I have advocated for its reimposition.

During my time when I was a congressman, I objected to its abrogation and we saved the day because somebody filibustered in the House of Congress. It took us about 4 o’clock to finish the job.

But in my time, the death penalty was not removed from the penal statutes. But I went back to being mayor and we have this suspension of the imposition of death penalty.

But all other states have been and even in the matter of — it’s outside of the province of penalties. But even children who commit — minors who commit serious crimes are treated as adult offenders.

They have reverted back and that is what you get for copying somebody else’s Criminal Code.

We produced a generation of criminals. Whatever was the crime: rape with homicide and robbery; robbery with rape, homicide; or homicide, rape. Below 15 years old, they are not even detained even for a minute.

It was a shortsighted. It was a disaster because we have produced a generation of criminals now who were the minors before who went in and out of prison without even lectured on the sense of responsibility or accountability.

That’s what happened to the… The disaster started with Senator Pangilinan. He was the one who copied that legislation from… 

Because in America, yes they are not in prison, but they are sent to correctional facilities.

Here in the Philippines, it was not the same because the legislation failed to provide the remedy after the arrest. 

And so the police fearing prosecution, just simply… When he would say that ‘I am a minor’ and he produces a birth certificate, he goes out. Even for… They are not… They were never detained even for a minute.

They have been rounded up, arrested. Serious crimes and sometimes a neighbor raping a neighbor and then when he’s out, he would shout: ‘I’ll rape you again’.

That created the lawlessness, the Pangilinan law. I chose to keep quiet because he’s a friend. But if you ask me, who is responsible for the lawlessness now of these — well, grown-up gangsters now. They were the ones who vented out.

You copy something — but you copied but you did not copy all because you should’ve provided the billions needed to place them in correctional just to be lectured on responsibility and — the duties because of…

I heard a… It was Aung Suu Kyi. She said that if there is every right, there is always the responsibility. So if you are given the right to live by God, you have a responsibility not took other people’s lives. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.

And she was very correct. When you have a right, you have a responsibility too. It’s not just a right.

You have your human rights, yes, correct. But that human right given to you must be used by you to preserve human right also.

That’s the long and short of her story. 

SECRETARY MARTIN ANDANAR: Thank you. Mr. President, we have five minutes and you will be hosting the dinner tonight so we have to go. 

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: They can just go ahead and start the dinner. [laughter] Really, I’m… I’m just picking everything along the way.

We will not arrive there on time anyway. If we are late, just be late. Anyway, we are already late. It’s the idiom in my dialect is: You’re already wet, better take a bath.

What’s the use? That’s why when you antagonize somebody and it is happening to me and they come pleading for talks, pwede ba areglo? Sabi ko, what’s the point? Basa na ako, maliligo na tayo. I’m all wet so I might just well take a bath. Ganon ‘yan eh. ‘Yan ang isinasagot ko sa kanila ngayon.

There are a lot of people saying that now, let’s talk, let’s just forget about this thing and let us…

And even ABS-CBN. Yeah.

I don’t know if it’s true but somebody posted in the Internet that I do not owe ABS anything because what they did with my money.

But they forgot that their Davao City station gave us a letter with a corresponding cheque and saying that it is a reimbursement because you have a demandable and it’s a… Cheke. Cheke.

They are waiting? I said let them start dinner. I like talking more than eating, I’m full. [laughter] Sige na, mag-umpisa na sila.

They cannot start eating? I do not want any, you know, maybe somebody would need to eat now. [laughter]

So, let me talk about it in the next, about this cheque [applause] I will give you a copy. Okay? Thank you.

I am not trying to be a showoff but I’ve noticed that whenever after every conference whatever it is a lot of, mostly women, who want to have a picture with me. So women, come up and we’ll have the pictures.

Halina. Let them, let them, papasukin mo sila. Lika na. Lika na, lika na.

— END —