By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte appealed to lumads to not listen to the communists, particularly to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Joma Sison, promising them that he will dispose of all government lands to the poor before his term ends.
Duterte made the statement as he led the distribution of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of Cotabato Province in Kidapawan City Saturday.
In his speech, Duterte hit the communists, saying the government is doing its best to address all issues and concerns but noted that there is a process to be followed.
“‘Yan ang mahirap sa inyo (That’s what’s wrong with you) because you think you are the only thinking Filipinos. Alam namin kaya lang may proseso, kasi ito demokrasiya (We are aware of the problem but there is a process because this is a democracy),” he said.
“‘Wag mo sabihin na uupo lang kami diyan sa puwet namin wala kaming gawin (Don’t tell us that we are just sitting in our asses doing nothing). We have been into a land reform program, at ang sakit ko kasi ayaw ko nang ibandera (I just don’t want to brag about it). I do not want praises, I do not want adulation,” he added.
Duterte then asked lumads why they have to listen to the communists when they have not even seen their leader in person whom he said is not brighter than him.
“Bakit kayo makinig sa mga komunista? Bakit kayo makinig kay Sison? Ang alam niya alam ko. At kung sinasabi niya inferior ako, eh putang ina mo. Kung mas mabuti ka sa akin ikaw ang presidente ngayon (Why should you listen to the communists? Why should you listen to Sison? I know what he knows. And if he says that I am inferior then son of a bitch if you are better than me then you should be the president),” he said.
“Bakit kayo makinig kay Sison? Ano’ng social justice? Ni hindi niyo nga nakita ‘yang putang inang ‘yan at magpakamatay kayo sa isip niya (Why should you listen to Sison? Social justice? You haven’t even seen him yet you die for his ideals),” he added.
The President also said that lumads were peaceful until the communists entered the picture.
“Since when kayo nakikta ng gulo before communism had set in dito sa atin. Wala man. Peaceful man ang mga lumad. Meron kayong conflict, pinag-uusapan ninyo (When was the last time you saw a war before communism had set in here? Never. Lumads are peaceful. When there is a conflict you just talk about it),” Duterte said.
“Ngayon ilang datu na ang namatay? For what? Sumusunod ka kay Sison? Ano’ng utak ni Sison? Ibig sabihin mas bright si Sison sa akin (Now how many of your datus have died? For what? For following Sison? What kind of brain does Sison have? Does that mean he’s brighter than me)? Come on. Cannot be,” he added.
“He does not mention the war. He does not even mention the cause of the war. Basta (It’s always) land reform. Eh, maibigay ko naman sa inyo ng libre kaya lang demokrasiya tayo, proseso (I can give it to you for free but we are a democracy. We have a process to go through),” he continued.
According to Duterte, he agrees with what the communists are fighting for but maintained that there are laws and processes to be followed, especially on taxes.
“Sang-ayon kami sa land reform ninyo, sang-ayon ako sa mga bagay—social justice. Pero ‘wag ninyong ipadaan sa armed struggle (We agree with the land reform and the other things like social justice. But don’t fight for it through an armed struggle),” he said.
“Bakit gusto niyo ang gobyerno ibigay lahat walang buwis, wala lahat? Eh paano tatakbo ang gobyerno mo? The only source of income sa gobyerno, taxes period. Hindi nagnenegosyo ang gobyerno (Why, do you want the government to give everything without taxes? How can the government work then? The only source of income of government is taxes. The government is not running a business),” he added.
Duterte then said that he had ordered Agrarian Secretary John Castriciones to dispose of all government land to the poor before his term ends, acknowledging that conflict will never end if there is no real land reform.
“What is invested there is blood and life. At sinabi ko noon na hanggang walang lupa ang tao, at hindi talaga ma-implement ang land reform, walang katapusan itong giyera (And I said before that for as long that people have no land and land reform will not be implemented, this war will never end),” he said.
“Even without the communist, there will always be friction for as long as there is no real land reform,” he added.