Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City
August 29, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the nation’s commemoration of National Heroes Day this year, where he shared his thoughts about peace, security, and maintaining good diplomatic relations.

Speaking before the war veterans present at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, President Duterte underscored the importance of peace in the country, expressing his contentment over the existing talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

According to the President, more definite resolves regarding the matter will surface by the end of the year, as peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDF commenced last week.

“I was informed by our representatives, Dureza and Bello, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Jun Yasay, that everything was going smoothly, and we might hear some definite resolves in the coming months before December. I pray to God that it would continue as peacefully as we have hoped for. And I hope I would also have the same success,” he said.

President Duterte reiterated again his stance against illegal drugs in the country. He made it clear that he supports the military and police on their job to suppress drugs, assuring them that he takes full responsibility for their actions.

However, he warned those police officers protecting drug syndicates, saying, “I might be inclined to place a reward on their head, the members of the ninja, or the members of the police who are then protecting the drug syndicates in this country. I’m placing per head, 2 million.”

On the other hand, he addressed China regarding the ongoing territorial disputes where he mentioned that he does not want war.

“I will never bring the matter because it might lead only to the suspension of the talks with China, that is not good, Mr. Ambassador,” the President said, addressing China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jinhua.

“I will not use the judgment arbitral now, but I would, one day, sit in front of your representative or you, and then I will lay bare my position. And I would say that this paper, I cannot get out of the four corners of this document,” he added.

The President is hopeful that the Chinese would still find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos despite the disagreements and differences.

“I hope you treat us as your brothers, not your enemies. And take note of the plight of our citizens. Maraming salamat po,” he ended.

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