Duterte to SONA protesters: Give me more time, I will deliver

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte had one message to protesters demanding results from his administration after his second State of the Nation Address on Monday: Give me more time and I will deliver.

The President had stopped to address some 7,000 demonstrators outside the Batasang Pambansa shortly after his two-hour speech before a joint session of Congress.  He proceeded to a press conference afterwards.

"Bigyan niyo ako ng panahon. Five years pa ako. I will deliver. Ngayon, kung apurahin ninyo ako bukas, wala tayong magawa," Duterte said as he faced the crowd.

[Translation: Give me more time. I still have five years. I will deliver. Now, if you rush me, we will accomplish nothing.]

The President advised the protesters to talk with Cabinet members who have links with the Left to find out the progress of government programs that address their concerns.  He named Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Social Work Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and National Anti-Poverty Commission and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza as the ones who can provide information.

Duterte, who promised to bring change in the country during his campaign, pointed out that he already gave a billion pesos to the poor. In January, the President ordered the release of this amount in medical assistance to patients who can't afford to buy medicine.   

"Hindi ako may-ari ng pera ng Pilipinas, ang tao. Ginagawa ko lang talaga ang paraan para maligayahan ang lahat. Kung nakinig kayo sa speech, hindi ako presidente para sa mayaman," he told the crowd.

[Translation: I don't own the Philippines' money, but the people. I do these things so everyone will be happy. If you listened to my speech, I am not the president for the rich.]

As he appealed for patience, Duterte addressed the demand to see results in the government's land reform program.  He advised the demonstrators to  talk to Mariano, a former Left-leaning activist who supports policies that favor farmers.

"I promised you land reform. Tanungin niyo si Mariano kung anong ginagawa niya," Duterte said.

[Translation: I've been your president for just a year, why are you rushing me? I promised you land reform, ask Sec. Mariano what he has done.]

The President also tried to appease the protesters who were calling for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.  He assured them this would happen in time, explaining that military operations have to take in consideration the safety of some 300 hostages still held by the Maute group in Marawi City. 

"Yung martial law, may tatapusin lang ako para sa lahat, hindi yan forever…Binawalan ko ang militar na mag-assault kasi madadamay ang 300 [hostages]," Duterte said.

[Translation: As for martial law, I'll just finish something, that won't last forever…I stopped the military assault because the 300 hostages may be affected.]

Over the weekend, Congress approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao unltil the end of the year on Duterte's request.  He had issued Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for 60 days in Mindanao on May 23.  This expired on July 22, but Duterte argued that the battle for control of Marawi continues and should be prevented from spilling over to other parts of Mindanao.

The President appealed for mutual request, despite the cancellation of peace talks between the government and communist rebels. 

"Ang relasyon ko sa left, okay pa. Wag ninyong sirain kasi magsama tayo. Ang madadamay diyan kapag nagkasamaan tayo ng loob, lahat tayo," he said.

[Translation: My relationship with the left is still fine. Don't destroy it because we'll be in it together. All of us will be affected if we're not in good terms.]

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza on July 19 announced the cancellation of backchannel talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines - National Democratic Front.

This followed an earlier encounter between the Presidential Security Group and the New People's Army in Arakan, North Cotabato, which resulted in the death of a civilian volunteer, the abduction of a police  asset, and the wounding of five PSG members.

"Pati yung convoy ko inambush," Duterte said about the incident. "Kung wala tayong respetuhan, kapag yan ang gusto niyo, ibigay ko sa inyo. Ayaw niyong respetuhin tayo, eh di wala."

[Translation: Even my convoy was ambushed…If you don't want respect for each other, I'll give that to you. If you don't, then we won't have one.]