Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Philippine Economic Forum
Convention Hall, Prince Park Tower Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
26 October 2016
Thank you, kindly sit down.

I am pleased to be here among you in my introductory visit to Japan. At the outset, I wish to underscore that stronger economic ties with Japan has been and will continue to be a priority for the Philippines. As we celebrate the 60th year of our bilateral relations, we mark another milestone with Japan as our long standing friend and ally, forging strong ties and bonds of friendship over the years. We look to Japan as a steady fulcrum in our regional engagement as the Philippines’ first and only bilateral free trade partner to date. It has been our top trading partner, top source of improved investments, and second major source of Official Development Assistance.

We count on Japan to further extend its valuable support in our pursuits for promoting rural development, increasing agriculture productivity, accelerating infrastructure spending, and investing in human capital development. These economic development thrusts are necessary ingredients in making the growth impact on the lives of our people. Aside from nurturing our people’s enterprising spirit through the promotion of the micro, small and medium enterprises, the government is equally determined to generate more jobs by making it easier and more attractive to do business in the country.

We would like to see more investors and more businesses setting up shop in the Philippines. At present, we are putting in place policies aimed at ensuring stability in the macro-economic policies, increasing competitiveness, improving ease of doing business, increasing spending in crucial infrastructure, and investing further in the human capital development.

By cultivating an environment conducive for business, we are confident that more Japanese businesses will follow and go to the Philippines. Also crucial in our entire effort for economic development is the need to ensure peace and security in our country. In this light, we appreciate Japan’s role in the peace building efforts in Mindanao that is geared towards the attainment of a more peaceful life for our country, and the ending of vicious cycle of poverty and conflict.

Complementarily, we also need to decentralize growth through agriculture development, particularly in the rural areas which are more dependent on agriculture, like Mindanao, that produce the country’s top agricultural exports such as bananas, pineapples, coconut and tuna. We must likewise pursue improved connectivity through the infrastructure development projects. Japan has the corresponding capacity to be our reliable and a partner in all its resources, expertise and technical know-how.

More than just making a dent in improving poverty as statistics, these incentives are deliberately aimed to closing the inequality gap in the country development noticeable in the levels of urban and rural development. With all our fresh effort and renewed commitment, these are the challenges that we certainly are capable of addressing and collectively surpass, along our strong determination to make meaningful changes in the lives of our people, their communities, families and themselves.

I would like to add a few statements in my address to you because I know that it is also what is in everybody’s mind.

You know. I went to China for a visit, and I would like to assure you that all there was, was economics. We did not talk about arms. We didn’t talk about stationing of troops. We do not— we avoided talking about alliances, military or otherwise. What happened really there was just a few platform where investments could come in. You know, historically we only have the short window in our dealings with China. With my visit, we hope that the window would come to a better life and bigger than as usual so that we can trade freely.

And this has something also with my announcement that pursuant to our constitution, it’s Article 7—unfortunately, I’m old, I forgot the Article—but it’s Section 7. which says that Philippines is mandated by the Constitution to adopt an independent foreign policy.

I would like to make it clear to everybody that we do not pick quarrels with our friends and neighbors. But to me, it is high time that the President stands up to its dignity as a people.

And, well, there’s always the—you know, I have a four million, four million drug addicts. When I was mayor of Davao City, I knew that there was a serious problem of drugs in my country. But it was not until after I became President of the Republic of the Philippines and begun to squeeze everybody, and the reality was there. I’m sure, you see it on TV, it was blown internationally, that there were hundreds of thousands everyday surrendering. From the original figure of three million, I reckon that by the end of this year, I would have reached the four million mark.

It seems that some countries did not realize the gravity of the offense, and so I declared war because of the enormity of the factors. And to think that the basic unit, which is the barangay, then it’s the municipality, the city, the province, the regions and the country— that most of those elected in the barangay which is the basic unit in the government of the Philippines, there were about—or there are about almost 4,000 holding public office but are identified with the drug trade.

And the mayors, and a few congressmen, members of the assembly and governors were also into it, although in limited numbers. With the election of De Lima, who used to be the Secretary of Justice, who had supervision over all national penitentiaries, prison cells, and she was involved herself in the running of drugs inside the prison, exactly just like what happened in the Latin American countries: Colombia and the rest of those failed states.

Narco-politics is already in my country, and I was appalled by the reaction of some supposedly our friends. I declared war, and right after that, some 3,000 people killed. Some were victims or, at least, killed in legitimate police action. Some were killed by— we don’t know. But what I would like to tell this forum of the problem of my country, lest, we misunderstand each other with our alliance with America, was that—there were about six generals, police whom I fired right after I assumed office for their connection in drugs.

on the first few encounters, at the first blast actually, it was not government, I assure you. It was never a state-sponsored killing, but those were the in-fightings of the police generals and some military men, and a lot of policemen, 6,000 of them cleansing and hoping that they would make it clean before I assumed office. Well, that is exactly what happened. But of course, there were a few encounters after that, and to this date and today, I stand to lose 2, 3, 4. On the average—4, military or policemen in the entire country because of drugs.

And I was questioned by the Human Rights, for that is their lousy business, just making it hard for governments to operate and to even the respect the problem itself, not the person, but to understand the problem and respect that is has to have its solution. My country, four million. So what do I get? A threat from the Human Rights Commission. Well and good. It is their job, it is part of the United Nations; they can call my attention.

Then there was a State Department lady, then another staff member of the Office of the President of the United States, and eventually Obama and the EU coming up with a threat that they would hail me to the International Court of Justice to face the case of genocide. Four million people addicted, wrecking my country and here are my friends, supposedly, making it hard for my country to solve and even to survive as a nation.

And that’s a problem for all of us because you might be under the illusion that the Philippines is still under the influence of this country or that country. I have declared that I will pursue an independent foreign policy. I want, maybe in the next two years, my country freed of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out. And if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will. This will be the last maneuver war games between the United States and the Philippine’s military. Then, in the fullness of God’s time, I am President for six years, no more.

I want to be friend to China. I do not need the arms. I do not want missiles established in my country. I do not need to have the airports to host the bombers with hydrogen bombs. Because if you really would want war for this planet, and everybody is drawn into the vortex of violence: Iran, Pakistan, India, France, Britain, Russia, America, China— (garbled) are India, Pakistan. There will be no more talk of the third world war. Even before you finish the sentence, we would be all gone.

So, those things I do not need. I just want friendship with everybody. Go there but do not expect so much expectations from— maybe, the policies of the west. I kind of a—you know, when you call my attention as a mayor, it’s okay. I do not carry the burden of sovereignty on my shoulders. But, if you chastise me, reprimand me before the international crowd and you say, “Mr. Duterte, you stop the killings there,” but then you’re fully aware of the problem of the four million Filipinos already sick and dying and the encounters between government and the drug people. Just like in Mexico. And they would say to you, “Stop it because we will withhold or suspend aid and assistance to your country.”

You know, it’s like saying, I am a dog on a leash, and you said, “If you do not stop biting the criminals, we will not throw the bread right under your mouth. We will throw it farther so that you’ll have to struggle to get it.” That is what America wants me to be: A dog barking with the crumbs of their favor.

And so I said, it’s a great country; it has helped us in so many ways in the past, but you know and you must know that we were also under a colony of America for 50 years and they lived on the fat of my land. Let us be clear on that. And so, maybe if you come to the Philippines, you’ll just have to contend with the new dynamics of my country.

I said, I can lose the presidency anytime. If Congress would oust me, fine. That is part of the destiny of my presidency because I won without money and machinery. If I lose my life, that’s part of the territory of being president. But I would never allow our dignity and honor to be just like a doormat before the international public. I will not allow it. [applause]

So, we have ruffled the feelings of some, but that is how it is. We will survive without the assistance of America. Maybe a lesser quality of life, but I said, we will survive. And if there is one thing I would like to prove to America and to everybody is that there is such a thing as the dignity of the Filipino people. [applause]

Thank you. (applause)