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Duterte heckled during Independence Day commemoration

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A group of protesters heckled President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his speech commemorating the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of the Philippine independence on Tuesday, June 12.

“Duterte, traydor! Hunyo Dose, huwad na kalayaan! (Duterte, traitor! June 12, fake freedom!)” the protestors chanted. In response, the President advised to “let them be”.

“Hayaan mo lang (Let it be). It’s a freedom of speech. You can have it. Okay lang (It’s okay),” the President said when he was about to start his speech at the balcony of the Museo de Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite.

The President added: “We cannot agree at all times for all seasons. But at least we have this exercise once every six years, I suppose, under this new Constitution and you can elect the leaders that you want to run the country… We may not understand each other but at least there is a common denominator and that is love of country.”

In his speech, the President noted the Philippines has been facing “modern challenges of poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, terrorism, criminality and illegal drugs.”

He stressed that he has made it his “personal mission to rid [the] nation of these ills.”

“But I cannot do it alone. At this crucial juncture in our history, we need to draw strength from the lessons of our past to ensure that these ills do not cause any more damage to our future,” he added.

Deviating from his prepared speech, the President asked his Caviteño audience to visit his hometown, Davao City.

“I want you to go to Davao City… Everything [there] is really done according to the book. Environmentally we’re quite more or less–we can pass the satisfactory level. In terms of law and order, you can walk about anytime of the day or night,” he said.

“We have a mixed crowd there: Muslim, Christians, Lumads and all. All tribes. There’s a big community of Caviteños in the City of Davao. And if they happen to sojourn here, ask them… It is not extraordinary, but unlike the others talagang ‘yung wala ng displina (that do not observe discipline)…”

He also said anew that he is looking forward to the 60-day resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“I’m inviting the Reds to… Ito, itong mga nagsigaw (These people who are shouting). Kaya mahal ko ito sila (That is why I love them). Then choose a camp where you can stay there and I will contribute to your subsistence for the 60 days… If it succeeds then my only problem would be the rebellion in Mindanao,” he said.

The President mentioned as well that he is currently in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). “So we are talking with the MI. ‘Yung Bangsamoro (The Bangsamoro Basic Law) is in Congress. I hope it will pass. If it does not, then there’s gonna be another round of ruckus there. I hope it would not again result to a near revolution environment.” – Arjay L. Balinbin