My fellow Filipinos,
Today your government stands before you in top form — validated by the crushing defeat of the Opposition in this year’s election and, thus, enjoying renewed affirmation that the Filipino people stand solid behind our program to implement long-overdue change. Our commitment to serve stands on principles that need no deference to popularity. For change is usually painful and unpopular. Nonetheless, it is extremely heartening to be assured that the pain and discomfort that we have so far experienced in delivering this change has not weakened the resolve of our people to see it through to success.
Midway through my term, the job is by no means done. In fact, it has only begun. The past three years, in hindsight, had been focused on clearing and paving the way to national progress — rooting out stubborn obstacles, getting sensible messages heard amidst the din of shrill destructive voices, and refocusing our foreign policy back to where it really belongs. One could argue that we wasted precious time demolishing a socio-political scourge that ingrains a counter-productive victim mindset in our people. Rest assured, we all recognise that the journey to building a strong nation necessarily requires that we detonate old and crumbling foundations of the now-obsolete national order and lay a new foundation.
One need look no further than the outside of this building to behold the screeching representatives of this old order. These no longer represent the real voice of the Filipino people. Filipinos today aspire to join the world as equals and not as the “victims” of “imperialism” generations of “heroes” and the school books they wrote aim to continue to propagate in the minds of our youth. Be warned that the elements that aim to disrupt the mature practice of democracy don’t offer solutions. And where so-called “alternatives” to our democracy are offered, observe that these are pathways to a dark world we had left behind in 1989 when the wall that divided East and West Berlin crumbled.
I invite my countrymen to see a future that has, thus far, not been imagined by any of our traditional opinion-shapers. It is one where Filipinos refuse to be victims. The Philippines I plan to leave behind when I finish my service to you as president in 2022 will comprise a people who are strong and can take care of themselves and be accountable for both success and failure. Let us stop blaming that which is beyond our own ability to influence and rectify. Stop blaming the past. Stop blaming former colonial masters. Stop blaming the weather. Stop blaming Facebook. The tools that will help us succeed lie within our shores and within our own homes. The strength to carry out what needs to be done lies within ourselves — not in pats on the back from foreigners, not from winning beauty contests, and, yes, not even from God.
We no longer live in a world where power comes from a throne on the other side of the world. We no longer need to believe in gods and magic to explain why storms, earthquakes, and disease visit us from time to time. We no longer need the capital of oligarchs to broadcast our voices to a wide audience. We have the means to determine how we think and not simply be told what to think. This is the 21st Century where power now resides in the individual — this time, for real. As your president, I no longer presume to be the source of your personal success. I only aim to work hard to create the opportunities you deserve. Where I succeeed in doing so, I cede the imperative to prosper to you, my people. The nation’s prosperity happens on the back of your personal success.
The State of the Nation Address itself is an obsolete practice. You don’t need me to stand here to “report” to you what I have done. Today’s technology already does that job far better and to do the same on this pulpit today will only come across as self-serving and, perhaps, an insult to your intelligence. In short, talk is cheap. Don’t take my word for it that my government is doing its job. Get out there and decide for yourself if the Duterte government is shit or not!
I will make this State of the Nation Address an example for future ones. I will keep it short because action speaks louder than words and words are of no value to hard-working Filipinos. Thus I will not waste your time with my words. Time is better spent working together than talking at each other.
Good afternoon and I look forward to spending the next three years working with you to succeed.
Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President of the Republic of the Philippines
State of the Nation Address 22nd July 2019
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