Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte delivered a thought-provoking speech on Monday to mark his one year in office.
During his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the president spoke about Philippines’ tumultuous year which was marred by an onslaught from terrorists who held the city of Marawi hostage for nearly three months.
In the two-hour speech, Duterte rambled for much applause for his achievements which include a “bloody” war on drugs; he went further, rambling to instill hope and confidence in his listeners.
“I believed then, as I believe still, that progress and development will sputter if criminals, and illegal users of drugs, are allowed to roam the streets freely, victimizing with seeming impunity the innocent and the helpless…,” he stated in the nationwide address.
“The fight will be unrelenting as it will be unrelenting… Despite international and local pressures, the fight will not stop until those who deal in it understand that they have to stop because the alternatives are either jail or hell.
“I do not intend to preside over the destruction of the Filipino youth by being timid and tentative in my decisions and actions…,” he added.
The 72-year-old leader continued: “There’s 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 have the children in whose hands the future of the Republic is entrusted, and I will hound you to the very gates of hell.”
The country’s joint session of Congress recently granted his request to extend a year-long martial law over the whole of Mindanao.
A large number of celebrities and politicians wore Mindanao-inspired outfits as they walked the red carpet toward the plenary hall of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
In support of the crisis-ridden zone, and respect for the dead, many attendees adhered to the president’s call for less pomp and pageantry at SONA 2017.
Image: Audrey and hubby Sen. Migz Zubiri
Image: Rep. Mercedes Cagas
Malabon Vice Mayor Jeanne Sandoval, spouse of Malabon Rep. Ricky Sandoval
Traditional wears and costumes formed a greater part of art exhibitions at the event which simultaneously showcased Filipinos’ creativity as well as the country’s beautiful native weaves.
Although the president has been widely criticized for his approach in the war against drug lords and terrorists, he insists that his government will not back down in the fight.
“I have resolved that no matter how long it takes, the fight against illegal drugs will continue because it is the root cause of suffering,” Duterte said.
Duterte also sounded a warning to those who’re hell-bent on running down his government.
“I ask you to join me in this fight against illegal drugs and all forms of criminality,” Duterte urged the public.