Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City
August 4, 2016

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte tackled various environmental issues and problems in Mindanao as he led the commencement of the State of the Mindanao Environment Day (SOMEDay) – a kick-off activity for the Mindanao Environmental Summit that highlights the conservation of the environment and natural resources across the region.

Speaking before the students and faculty members of the Ateneo de Davao University and several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), President Duterte affirmed the government’s stand on prioritizing environmental protection, saying it is everybody’s obligation to protect the resources of the country.

He discussed the dangers brought by illegal activities that destroy nature in Mindanao, particularly mining and illegal logging, emphasizing that these are the leading factors in the destruction of the land and soil in the region.

He blamed the oligarchs for the continuous damage, saying, “ito iyong mga tao na kinukuha iyong yaman ng ating bayan wala namang ginagastos kundi mga laway nila at koneksyon. And they get most of the concessions, the franchises that is given freely through money to influence and share greed kasi meron sila.”

He added, “in an island as fragile as Mindanao, kung bubutasan mo ito at sirain mo, there will never be a tomorrow for your children. Kaya kami dito nagtatapang-tapangan, because I want to protect Davao City and my country for their children.”

President Duterte vowed to fight the clutches of those oligarchs whom he considers as ‘monsters’ even if he is just two months in office.

Moreover, he ordered to dismantle all the fish pens crowding the Laguna de Bay and give back the lake to the poor fishermen so that they will continue to benefit from it. He said, “if there is inequality, it will be resolved in favor of the poor as against the rich.”

The President continued to remind the people, especially the Filipino family, on the risks of using drugs. He expressed his disappointment on its damaging effect to a normal family, saying, “what used to be a typical Filipino family is destroyed and becomes dysfunctional family. Yan ang hindi ko matanggap na gawin mo ang Pilipino na ganun…Do not do it. Do not destroy my country…Do not destroy the young.”

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