Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Presentation of the Norwegian kidnap victim to the press in Davao City
Davao City
18 September 2016
SEC. JESUS DUREZA: Today at about 2 o’clock, we physically took into our custody Mr. Kjartan Sekkingstad, a Norwegian who was abducted almost a year ago, September 21st 2015.

We were able to recover him from the camp of Chairman Nur Misuari who in turn received him from the captors yesterday.

Together with him we were able also to receive three Indonesians that I have already, upon instructions of the President, turned over to a representative of the Indonesian government in Jolo today and they are now on their way to Jakarta.

Today, tonight, Mr. President, may I then therefore present to you Kjartan Sekkingstad, who is now a free man.

Kjartan. [applause]

PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE: Ambassador Erik Førner and company; Kjartan, the hostage; ladies and gentlemen:

First of all, I would like to thank the efforts — the efforts beyond human patience of Secretary Dureza and, of course, Nur Misuari, who all along assured us that “you would need time but you would succeed,” so he said many months ago.
And I would like to thank him also.

And, of course, Sakur Tan, the former governor of Sulu. It was a long, long negotiation, as far as I am concerned. I’ve talked to Misuari even in the Cabinet meetings, I had him called and he assured us that he could assure me that we would be able to recover alive and well Kjartan.

And so here we are, so the efforts actually belongs to Misuari, Secretary Dureza and Sakur Tan. I was just, you know, there up directing the traffic of where and how to go about the job and simply just investing upon them the full authority to negotiate and see to it that nothing of this sort will happen again or the problem is: Is it safe in Mindanao?

I cannot tell you now but we are trying our very best to put order in this country. We are racked with so many problems: kidnapping in the South; terrorism; drugs, which is really pulling us down; and I can say that we would need time, I said, to put everything in order.

That self-imposed time of three to six months, well, I did not realize how severe and how serious the problem of drug menace in this Republic until I became President.

So when I started to press everybody so — it was like a worm out of the can. And nobody would have believed that there would be about 700,000 new guys [maybe?] in the drug business that have surrendered to the police and military.

But the problem is, it was headline, I cannot kill them all. You see, even if I wanted to, I mean, that was what I said, I [prefuse?] my statement, even if I wanted to, I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick.

And prominent really are barangay captains, who are there. And just like other places, the barangay captains connive or cooperate or extend assistance to terrorist and drugs.

Everything down here, it seems to be — well, in Manila, but down here on the ground, it’s really a far different from what we would like to see that would happen.

I think I will give it to Congress to decide. Kaya sabi ko hindi ko kaya ito maski gusto. Even if I wanted to. But it was cut short by saying: “I cannot kill them all.” That’s what the Inquirer came out. Even if I wanted to, I said to the soldiers yesterday, I cannot do it. This thick.

And that is why I joined the call for the postponement of the barangay elections. You know why? Because if you hold the elections now, drug money is still going around and the barangay captains most of them are really into it, they would just stay in power and this time, they have the money, and they will wield.

So we will have a narco-politics on the lowest government unit, which is the barangay. And that will be the start of our maybe our perdition and agony.

Hindi ko pwedeng mag-eleksyon tayo ngayon maraming — marami talaga dito sa Davao. And I never realized it, I didn’t even know. I said I am a President, you hold office, I do not investigate, I do not ask questions. I only receive reports from the military and the police and the validation of PDEA.

So, this new list was there before me about two months ago but I ordered a revalidation just to make sure.

And…Well, what is really funny — the Alcala. We knew that somebody was operating there but with a…You know, I never…

I told the police to be very careful, set it up, do a clean job, get the witnesses to be there including the media when you arrest so that you will have a good story and we can prosecute.

So that’s how bad things are right now. But just give me a little extension maybe of another six months. Nobody ever knew…I didn’t have that idea that there was hundreds of thousands of people already in the drug business and what is — what makes it worse is that they are operated now by people in government especially those elected positions.

So it will be government versus government. Nakita ninyo ang…There were those barangay captains start around with guns, with bodyguards, so we’ll just have to defang them, get the police out of — as bodyguards. I will now order…I will not allow any policeman to act as bodyguard of a barangay captain.

If you think that you are afraid of being killed, if you are there in the rural areas by the NPAs, then do not run for public office. Find another occupation.

But because from the looks of it, it was really — it’s a government already doing the operation — the illegal drugs. And they just don’t realize it because it’s not their country.

But are we go back now to the order and disorder, the best thing that happened this week to us was really the release of Kjartan because we were able to complete our promise to the Norway, which is giving us the good offices for a space to talk vis-à-vis with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

It has provided good offices to several countries for so many conflicts and I salute Mr. Ambassador of your country for being peaceful and I was joking to the ambassador: You are the descendants of the Viking, who are really fierce fighters.

If there is a group there still remaining, could you just bring them here and we will just let them loose somewhere in Basilan. But the Slavs are very peaceful race now…

And again, Jess, salamat for helping. And, of course, he is the only one who can do it because he has the problems of Mindanao at his fingertips. He has been there for quite a time and if we succeed now that would be a long journey also for him. From the time of Mr. Ramos to President Arroyo and now sa akin.

Hopefully, in the fullness of God’s time, we would be able to establish really law and order in this country. There are simply too many gangsters and terrorists. Simply too many battles here and there.

And I assure you, and I said, that when the time comes, I will inform you. I will just inform you that we have been able to catch up with them.

Nothing else except that I will just say na: Your travails in life are over.

Until such time that we get the — the one true justice. We will give them if that is what they want.

That is all for the evening. The ambassador is flying out at 10. He is going to just stay behind maybe [Secretary Dureza says something]

Ah he is also leaving? [referring to Mr. Sekkingstad] Okay. You might want to just go around but — here in my city, not there in the islands. [laughs] I do not have a control over those.

But you know I said terrorism is all over. New York just blew up so wala tayong — there is no escape of terrorism.

That is the next great battle of the century. Terrorism and civilization. Those who believe in civilization, those who believe — maybe to spell the end of the planet.

Maraming salamat po. [applause]

SEC. DUREZA: I will first request Kjartan to say a few words. Kjartan, please.

MR. KJARTAN SEKKINGSTAD: Good evening, everybody. I like to express a heartfelt thank you to the President, Secretary Dureza, the Chairman Misuari and his finest men who released me yesterday afternoon, got me out of — of captivity.

Also the Norwegian Embassy, the Norwegian team, my Filipino family, my family in Norway. Everybody who has helped to make this release possible.

I am very happy to be alive and free. It’s a beautiful feeling. Thank you all.

SEC. DUREZA: May we request His Excellency Ambassador Førner for a few words.

NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR TO PH ERIK FØRNER: Mr. President, Secretary, I would like to thank on behalf of Norwegian government, thank the President for his outstanding help to ensure the safe release of Mr. Sekkingstad.

The President’s personal commitment even before he took office has been crucial to solve this issue.

I would also like to thank Secretary Dureza for his tireless efforts to help Kjartan over several months. His dedication has been outstanding and has contributed enormously to get Mr. Sekkingstad out alive.

I would also like to thank the security forces, the PNP and the AFP and all other individuals that helped Mr. Sekkingstad to get out alive and made this undertaking possible.

Thank you very much everyone. Thank you.