Full Text and Transcript: President Duterte SONA 2017 Speech

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines, is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA 2017) at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 24, 2017.

President Duterte is expected to talk about his administration’s past achievements, present situation and announcing future prospects.

The theme for SONA 2017 is “A Comfortable Life for All.”

Full Text and Transcript: President Duterte SONA 2017 Speech

Watch: President Duterte ‘SONA 2017’ State of the Nation Address Live Coverage

Bookmark this page, full text and transcript of President Rodrigo Duterte State of the Nation Address ‘SONA 2017’ will be added below right after his speech on Monday.

— Read SONA 2017 Speech Full Text and Transcript below —

Kindly sit down. Thank you for your courtesy.

When I was a member of Congress, I —- my seat was over there. The seat… The lady with a violent — not violent but rather violet dress — seated. But I was always absent together with the Speaker and Tonyboy Floirendo, who is still absent until today. [laughter] And that started… Ay nandiyan ba? Sorry. But his propensity started almost 17 years ago when we were members of the 11th Congress.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and the members of the Senate; Pantaleon Alvarez, the Speaker and the members of the House of Representatives; Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo; Former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and former President Gloria Arroyo; Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of the Supreme Court and the members of courts; Archbishop Pinto and the distinguished guests of the diplomatic corps; Secretary Salvador Medialdea and the members of the Cabinet; my fellow workers in government; my countrymen.

When I took my oath of office a year or so ago, I knew that our country was reeling from a multitude of problems. That day, there was euphoria in the air resulting from a successful campaign and the thought that dominated my being was to make good on my promise to the people to bring [about change] — change in government, not a change that is passing but a change that can survive the test of time.

Although I still had to know the magnitude and gravity of the problems, my feeling then was that, equipped with political will and braced by a concerned citizenry, those problems would eventually be bested by us. It was only a matter of determination and collective action. It was only a question of time.

For as I saw it then as I see it now, there is no problem in the world which can stop the march of a people with unflinching and tenacious determination. That was how euphoric — euphoric it has been.

Early on, I felt that if change was to be meaningful, it had to start with those occupying the highest positions in government because change that comes from below is more transitory than permanent. And I was aiming for permanence. Let change trickle down from [top to] bottom.

It has to be a change that is not confined merely to the replacement of people by people, but a change in the people’s attitude, disposition and work ethic.

Sadly, although we knew years ago that what was needed or ought to do, we did not do [them] because our idea of government was parochial and we could not rise above family, ethnic and clan loyalties as well as loyalty to friends and co-workers. No one wanted to be a snitch. That is why we are one in saying that genuine change is what this country truly needs.

I believed then, as I believe still, that progress and development will sputter if criminals, illegal drugs, illegal users of drugs are allowed to roam the streets freely, victimizing seeming with impunity, the innocent and the helpless. Worse yet, there were times in the past when the protectors of the people were themselves the perpetrators of the very crimes they were tasked to prevent or suppress. It is ironic as it is madness.

I have learned that economy surges only when there is peace and order prevailing in places where investors can pour [in] their capital and expertise. I have learned from my experience in Davao City that investor confidence [is] bolstered and fortified only if a potent force and mechanism for [the] protection of local and foreign investments are in place.

That is why, I have resolved that no matter how long it takes, the fight against illegal drugs will continue because that is the root cause of so much evil and so much suffering [applause] that weakens the social fabric and deters foreign investments from pouring in. The fight will be unremitting as it will be unrelenting.

Despite international and local pressures, the fight will not stop [applause] until those who deal in it understand that they have to cease, they have to stop because the alternatives are either jail or hell. [applause] And I will make sure, very sure that they will not have the luxury of enjoying the benefits of their greed and madness.

I do not intend to loosen the leash in the campaign or lose the fight against illegal drugs. Neither do I intend to preside over the destruction of the Filipino youth by being timid and tentative in my decisions and actions. [applause]

To the critics against this fight, your efforts will be better spent if you use the influence, moral authority and ascendancy of your organizations over your respective sectors to educate the people on the evils of illegal drugs instead of condemning the authorities and unjustly blaming for every killing that bloodies this country.

But don’t get me wrong. I value human life the way I value mine. Each life that is snuffed out translates into future generations lost. It is like cracking the acorn from which an oak tree grows – which, in turn, produce the seeds to complete the cycle of [life in] perpetuity.

There is a jungle out there. There are beasts and vultures preying on the helpless, the innocent [and] the unsuspecting. I will not allow the ruin of the youth, the disintegration of families and the retrogression of communities, forced by criminals whose greed for money is as insatiable as it is devoid of moral purpose. Neither will I be immobilized into inaction by the fear that I will commit an act that will expose me to public condemnation or legal prosecution. You harm the children in whose hands the future of this Republic is entrusted, and I will hound you to the very gates of hell. [applause]

That is why I ask you to join me in this fight against illegal drugs and all forms of criminality.

The government, equipped with legal authority, and you, with the moral ascendancy over the sector you represent, can do so much, and hopefully eradicate this social scourge that plagues us no end.

Look beyond your biases, your prejudices, your ambition [and] your political agenda. The search for change will begin and end only when we look into ourselves and find it within.

Today, a multitude of problems confront us. No sooner is one problem solved [when] another surges forth in its place. But we will not be disheartened; we will not be cowed; we will not be overwhelmed.

It is during trying times and troubled events that the resilience, perseverance and determination of the people are tested. The Filipino is no stranger or neophyte to situations like the one we face today. We can, and we will, overcome as we did countless times in the past, [but] only if we work together towards a common goal.

Sad to say, despite all efforts, peace, especially in the Island of Mindanao, continues to elude us. But of course, it is not the peace of the dead but the peace of the living that we seek. Peace flits away like a butterfly when you try to snatch it by the wings. And our pursuit of peace continues.

The red insurgency has been with us for decades; the Muslim issue, for centuries.

So much time has lapsed, so many lives have been lost and so much destruction has been wrought but peace eludes us still. Sometimes I am almost tempted to conclude that peace might not be able to come during our lifetime.

But believe me, it will not be for want of trying. And I will persist in our goal of attaining peace [up] to the last day of this administration and maybe even beyond although in a different capacity. [applause]

There is rebellion in Mindanao. The extremists have declared it their purpose to establish a caliphate within Philippine territory along the teachings and beliefs of [the] Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or otherwise known as ISIS. The battle of Marawi has dealt a terrible blow to our quest for peace especially now that an alien ideology and a radical shift in purpose have been injected into the local setting.

I declared Martial Law in Mindanao because I believed that that was the fastest way to quell the rebellion at the least cost of lives and properties. [applause] At the same time, the government would be adequately equipped with the constitutional tool not only to prevent the escape of rebels who can easily mingle and pretend to be civilian evacuees only to re-group in another place to fight another day, but also to prevent them from spreading their gospel of hate and violence in the rest of Mindanao.

Martial Law and the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus enable the military to arrest, detain and question suspected members and sympathizers of the rebellion similar to what happened to the parents of the Maute brothers.

As president, I am reiterating my unwavering support and commitment to the soldiers of our Armed Forces and the members of our police force — [applause] those who are on the ground and in the battlefields and those who are risking their lives for our country and our democracy. I have your backs. To those who oppose and think that all these efforts are out of order, I hold myself — me and me alone should be responsible. [applause]

The people of Marawi need help. Caught in the crossfire between government troops and Muslim extremists, they have been through hell and we need to help them rise and move forward.

If we cannot provide for the poor and the needy who are many, then we will not be able to keep from harm the rich who are few.

At the vanguard of our struggle for peace and order are our Armed Forces and Police. They are the silent heroes who risk their lives everyday for our country’s security. In recognition of their valor, we have crafted a program to provide them with comprehensive social assistance, including financial, should they meet harm in the performance of their duty. For the family left behind by those who fell or are rendered totally disabled in the line of duty, we shall provide shelter, health care assistance, education, and employment. That is my way of telling our troops: never fear, do your duty. I stand behind you. So does this government and all its agencies. [applause]

To decisively address insurgency and terrorism, we are working doubly hard towards [achieving] a stronger and more credible national defense system for the country. We continue to strengthen the defense capability of the AFP as a deterrence against terrorists, lawless elements, and other threats.

My fellow citizens, what I have said so far about the events in Marawi and its neighboring environs is only a part of a looming problem, which will cut across all classes and all sectors of society and eventually affect the entire country from north to south, from east to west, given the fact that Mindanao supplies a great part of our country’s food requirements. I refer to climate change, which could bring drought and long dry spells affecting food production in Mindanao, given the fact that Mindanao is unusually warming. I ask all agencies involved in food production to look into this and act accordingly.

Also, I am appealing to all our legislators to immediately pass the National Land Use Act or NALUA [applause] to ensure the rational and sustainable use of our land and our physical resources, given the competing needs of food security, housing, businesses and environmental conservation.

Ours is a rich country. Wealth that this country is endowed with [is] a gift from God to be utilized for the [people’s] welfare and the common good. I do not believe that this gift was given to us to be merely viewed or appreciated, but to be extracted from the earth and utilized to make life worth living.

That is why I say that it is not enough that we mine this wealth. What is more important is that we convert the raw material thereof into finished products for international and local purposes. [applause] That way, it will not only be the few who are the rich but also the poor who are many who will benefit therefrom.

Therefore, I call on our industrialists, investors [and] commercial barons to put up factories and manufacturing establishments right here in the Philippines to process our raw materials into finished products. [applause]

At this point in my administration, if possible, we shall put a stop to the extraction and exportation of our mineral resources to foreign nations [applause] for processing abroad and importing them back to the Philippines in the form of consumer goods at prices twice or thrice the value of the original raw materials foreign corporations pay for them.

However, in the extraction and utilization of these resources, extreme care must be exercised [applause] that we do not recklessly and needlessly harm the environment. [applause] Responsible, regulated and sustainable development is what we advocate and require. The protection of the environment must be made a priority [applause] ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another. And this policy is non-negotiable. [applause]

I sternly warn… I am warning all mining operations and contractors to refrain from the unbridled and irresponsible destruction of our watersheds, forests, and aquatic resources. You have gained much from mining, we only get about 70 billion a year, but you have considerably neglected your responsibility to protect and preserve — and even the tax, it’s about five percent — environment for posterity.

I am holding all mining companies and its officials responsible for the full and quick clean-up, restoration [and] rehabilitation of all areas damaged by mining activities, and the extension of all necessary support to the communities that have suffered mining’s disastrous effects on their health, [applause] livelihood, and environment, among others.

— more to follow —





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