Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during his arrival from his participation at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Laos and visit to Indonesia
Davao International Airport, Buhangin, Davao City
10 September 2016
I’m having my migraine again. Anyway, let me state: Mga kababayan, I am thankful for my first official trip abroad and I’m excited and happy to be back home.

I visited Vientiane, Laos for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits and Jakarta, Indonesia for the official visit. In both these trips, we’re focused on our objective: To advance the national interests of the Philippines and the Filipinos in the regional and world community.

I engaged the leaders of ASEAN and its dialogue partners on important regional and international issues that impact on the peace, security, stability, and prosperity of our region.

I expressed the Philippines’ concern over the developments in South China Sea. I stressed our commitment to a peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.

And I called on leaders to support the individual and collective efforts to bring security and stability in the South China Sea through a rules-based approach for resolving maritime disputes.

There is serious concern in the region over terrorism and violent extremism. I thanked our partners for their expressions of sympathy and solidarity over recent events in our country and I urged leaders to redouble our cooperative efforts in order to address this menace.

On the illicit drugs trade, I underscored the Philippines’ grave concern over social illness that breeds corruption at the highest levels, tears apart the fabric of our society, and debases human dignity.

I said our campaign against illegal drugs will be relentless and it will be comprehensive, encompassing suppression, prosecution, and rehabilitation. All these measures are within the bounds of our laws. I called on greater cooperation in the region, particularly in the capacity building and law enforcement efforts.

On behalf of the Filipino people, I accepted with great humility the chairmanship of ASEAN from Laos. Our chairmanship in 2017 coincides with the commemoration of ASEAN’s 50 years of establishment.

It will be an important leadership role for the Philippines and a vital opportunity to contribute to the building of a strong and resilient Community.

We announced the theme under our chairmanship, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” With your help — mga kababayan ko and the support of the ASEAN member states, dialogue partners — we hope to bring the change we want and need through our engagement with the world.

I also took the opportunity to address the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. My message was clear: The Philippines is open for business. My administration will do its part in providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and prosper, including micro, small, and medium enterprises.

At the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit Meetings, I had separate meetings with the leaders of Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

I shared my vision for partnership based on mutual trust and respect. We identified ways to move relations forward and I thanked them for hosting the Filipino workers in their country.

In Indonesia, I was welcomed by President Joko Widodo with a state visit. He accorded me the warmth and hospitality befitting not only a friend, but that of a brother. I am truly humbled.

President Widodo and I resolved to work closer together, achieve shared aspirations for greater peace, progress, and prosperity for our people. This includes interdicting piracy and lawless elements at sea, fostering greater economic cooperation and integration, and enforcing laws that build capacities to address the illegal drug trade and other criminal acts.

During my visits, I met many of our kababayan, the Filipinos overseas, who work hard and sacrifice in order to provide a better future for their families back home.

Thank you for your good work. Remember — to my entourage — that you contributed to socioeconomic development back home and your host country. Remember too that you represent for the foreigners overseas, that you should be proud of the Philippines, to be a Filipino, and remain respectful of the local laws and customs.

My administration will work very hard to make sure that economic opportunities will also be available at home. Our objective is to make working abroad an option and not a need. Let us work together to achieve this goal.

In our relations to the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. I repeat: The Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy. We will observe and must insist on the time-honored principles of sovereignty, sovereign equality, non-interference, and the commitment to a peaceful settlement of disputes to best serve our people and protect the interests of our country.

Daghang salamat.