Duterte salutes media with 'accurate and true representation' of news

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte urged media practitioners to report only what is true and accurate. He also went on to say that he salutes those who report objectively and correctly.

"With an accurate and true representation of what's going on, I said, 'Saludo ako [I salute you].' And because, it is embodied in the Constitution. The freedom of the people to be informed and a media that is there to find out the true and accurate. You portray history," he said during his arrival speech in Davao City on Saturday.

The President stressed the importance of media's role in recording the history of the country.

"You record the history of this country. Kaya importante kayo [That is why you're important]," he told the reporters and cameramen present during the press conference.

'Criticize me'

Duterte called on the media to be critical of him if he does wrong in being the country's top leader, as it is the media's job to criticize him.

"Do not hesitate to attack me, criticize me, if I do wrong in my job. It is your duty to your country. As I have my duty to the people to serve you," he said.

He said skewed reporting about him puts the entire country at stake.

"You can destroy me, you can attack me, criticize me. But when it comes to the... Hindi lang kasi nila iniisip, itong mga low life [media] dito, that what is really at stake is the country," he said.

[Translation: You can destroy me, you can attack me, criticize me. But what the low life do not realize is that it puts the country at stake.]

Duterte earlier admitted the "immediate cause" of the postponement of his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama was his "strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress." He may have cursed a lot, but the President clarified none of it was directed at Obama.

Related: Duterte: I never cursed Obama

Duterte blamed the media for spinning stories. But he clarified that he is not holding any grudge against the media.

"I am not at liberty to be angry at anybody. It is your sworn duty to ask questions... Wala akong galit sa inyo [I am not mad at you]," he said.

The President also said he has accepted the apology of News5 anchor Ed Lingao after the TV journalist read on-air that Duterte called Obama "bastos [ill-mannered]." He said the seasoned journalist shouldn't worry because it's normal for people to commit mistakes.

"You know people commit mistakes. Some with malice, some without malice. If it's just a mere shortfall of talent, hayaan mo na [let it go]," he said.

Related: Duterte stands by statement on media killings