As Duterte term nears ends, he says he kept 'almost all' promises

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 08:49 PM | Updated as of Dec 02 2021 09:51 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City on Nov. 30, 2021. Robinson Niñal, Presidential Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City on Nov. 30, 2021. Robinson Niñal, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATE) — President Rodrigo Duterte, who steps down in less than seven months, said on Thursday he kept "almost all" his campaign promises in 2016.

Duterte, 76, is barred by the Constitution from seeking re-election when his 6-year term ends in June next year. He is running for senator in the 2022 elections. 

"My term is nearing its end. I can say with a little bit of pride na halos lahat ng ipinangako ko, natupad ko," the President said in a speech in Zamboanga City. 

(I fulfilled almost everything that I promised.)

But Duterte, who ran on a platform of ending narcotics and crimes, said that "as long as there are men in this planet, there will always be misdeeds and wrongdoings committed by human beings." 

"Be that as it may, sinabi ko, I tried my best and hindi ko naman sabihin na ano, pero mukhang nakumpleto ko halos lahat ng ipinangako ko sa taong bayan," he continued. 

(I won't say—but it seems I completed almost all my promises to the people.)

 WAGING WAR ON DRUGS 

Duterte in 2016 asked voters to give him “3 to 6 months” to “get rid of corruption, drugs, and criminality.” 

More than 6,000 people have been killed in over 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to official data. Human rights groups estimate the number of people killed could be several times higher.

But “shabu” remains a major concern in the Philippines, five years into the drug war, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said in June. 
 

"Paningin ko, hindi ko man talaga natapos (in my view, I did not end it) because every minute, there is a stupid guy around to do [drugs] again," Duterte said of the narcotics trade. 

The International Criminal Court prosecutor in September launched a full-blown inquiry into the alleged crimes against humanity under Duterte's drug war. The probe was recently paused on the request of the government.

Duterte maintained he should be prosecuted before a Philippine court, instead of the ICC. 

"Kung ipakulong ako, gusto ko na Pilipino na huwes ang magpakulong sa akin kung may makita siyang mali… Dito ako sa Muntinlupa at ipatapos ko dito iyong mga tattoo ko dito sa kamay," he said. 

(If I am imprisoned, I want a Filipino judge to sentence me if he sees wrongdoing. I will be in Muntinlupa and have the tattoo on my hand completed.)

 ENDING INSURGENCY 

Video courtesy of RTVM 

Duterte said he "tried talking" to communist rebels during the start of his term in a bid to end their over half-a-century-old rebellion. 

But the President repeated his allegation that several leftist Cabinet members funded communist fighters, which prompted him to sack them. 

"Sabi ko sa kanila, military pati pulis, give me a chance to solve this problem, and I failed because ayaw nila (rebels)," Duterte said. 

(I told them, the military and police, give me a chance to solve this problem, and I failed because the rebels do not want me to.) 

"When you start talking about a coalition government, that is stupid," he added.  

Duterte in 2019 ended peace talks with communist rebels, following alleged attacks against security forces. 

Suspected communists and NDF peace negotiators have also been arrested or rearrested following the collapse of the peace talks. A number of leftist leaders were been killed in what are believed to be extra-judicial killings, which government denies. 

Security forces have launched anti-insurgency operations meant to crush the communist rebellion before the end of Duterte's term. The military this week said 43 guerrilla fronts of the New People's Army remain active in various parts of the country. 

The Duterte administration has also since been accused of "red-tagging" or linking to the communist movement politicians, celebrities, and human rights defenders, among others. 

Duterte had also been criticized for failing to assert the Philippines' rights over the West Philippine Sea amid Chinese incursions there. In the lead-up to the 2016 elections, he said he would ride a jet ski to the Spratlys, plant the Philippine flag in a Chinese airport on reclaimed land there, and tell Beijing, "This is ours." 

Duterte temporarily set aside the 2016 landmark arbitral award on the South China Sea that invalidated Beijing's sweeping claims, in favor of economic aid and investment from the world's No. 2 economy. 

The chief executive also promised to stop "endo" or "end of contract", a practice in which some employers end contracts on the fifth month and renew it for 5 months at a time to avoid granting workers regular employee status.

But in 2019, he vetoed an anti-endo bill to achieve a "delicate balance" between the interests of employers and employees. 

In an interview on ABS-CBN TeleRadyo hours after Duterte's speech in Zamboanga City, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the president's outspoken critics who is seeking a return to the upper chamber of Congress next year, said, "Hindi tayo sang-ayon diyan. At alam ng mga kababayan natin na hindi totoo yang statement na 'yan."

(We don't agree with Duterte's claim that he fulfilled almost all his campaign promises. And our fellow countrymen know his statement is not true.)