Duterte says he tangled with rich to improve Filipinos' well-being

Published July 26, 2021, 5:39 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Preside Duterte said that his fight with the rich was necessary so he could realize his mission of implementing changes in the country that will help give the people a comfortable life.

President Duterte delivers his sixth and final State of the Nation Address on July 26, 2021 (RTVM Screenshot)

Duterte made the statement as he delivered his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26.

In his speech, President Duterte said when he assumed the presidency in 2016, at the top of his mind were his dreams and visions of a better life for all Filipinos.

“I saw them as reachable through the institution of reforms and radical changes in both the structure of government and the mode of governance – changes designed [to yield] responsibility [and] accountability. All in consonance with the truth that public office is a public trust,” he said.

However, the President admitted that he was challenged by the limited amount of time granted to him by the Constitution.

“I suppose – knew the gravity [and] enormity of the problems that the country was facing. And precisely because of that awareness, I was driven to hasten the implementation of changes which I believed the country needed, keeping in mind that the Constitution afforded me only six years to make those changes happen,” Duterte said.

“Making a difference within the constitutional time-frame is what I was up against. But no one gets by legally without worming through the needle’s eye of constitutional imperatives,” he added.

Duterte said the six-year term given to him forced him to “tangle” with the rich and influential people of the country in hopes that it would help him fulfill his dreams for the nation despite criticisms he might face.

“That is why I cajoled, I shoved, I pushed, and I tangled with men of wealth and influence who were oblivious to the anguish and pleas of the weak and impoverished,” he said.

“For that, I was pilloried to no end. But I did not succumb to the attacks. And neither did I allow criticisms, however intense, to dampen my determination and initiatives, because my purpose was pure and unpolluted,” he added.

The President said among the achievements he has made during his five years in office were free education; Universal Health Care; the fight against illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption; and the development of infrastructure, including free irrigation and other big-ticket projects

“I thought I did now have the funds to do it, but perchance, among others, they were done in my term,” he said.

In an expletive-filled speech in Tacloban City in March this year, President Duterte took pride in his “success” in toppling the “oligarchy.”

“If there is one thing that I will bring with me when I die, alam mo kung ano (you know what is that)? That I was able to dismantle the oligarchs holding the government,” he said.

“Talagang niyari ko sila (I really went after them),” he added.