Keep talking, Mr. President

Ricardo Saludo

Ricardo Saludo

Always say less than necessary. When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. If you can’t say anything nice, shut up! Win through your actions, never through arguments. Demonstrate, do not explicate.
                    — Former President Fidel Ramos advising President Rodrigo Duterte

Is President Rodrigo Duterte talking too much?

Yup, said the man he thanked for his rise to the presidency, former President Fidel Ramos. So, too, did Senators Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Leila de Lima, and Ralph Recto. Even his staunch ally, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, plus many in media, want Duterte to mince his words.

This writer disagrees. The President should keep up his colorful remarks, not because one is fond of technicolor language, but because Duterte’s discombobulating deliveries are delivering results that immensely benefit the country.

For sure, he must avoid legally dubious remarks, like the one cited by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for seemingly affirming China’s historical claim over most of the South China Sea. But the headline-grabbing stuff, while shocking and unsettling, has shown promising results.

Just think: When was the last time the three most powerful nations in the world were all trying to be nice to the Philippines?

Beijing waved Duterte off the tarmac with $24 billion in Chinese aid and business — by far the largest haul in any state visit by a Filipino leader. Moscow is asking what it can do for the country. And Washington is waiting for Duterte to set the shape and form of future relations.

All that because of his “separation” line in Beijing, plus his four-letter fuming at US President Barack Obama last month. And Russia will be even nicer after Duterte’s hero quip over the weekend about President Vladimir Putin.

For sure, none of those niceties is stringless. No renminbi of assistance and investment would come if Duterte doesn’t walk his talk, but continues his predecessor’s fawning and provocative stooging to America. Washington and Moscow also want quids for whatever quos they proffer.

But the good news is those niceties are on the table, and we can take or leave them, as national interest dictates. Not bad for a foul-mouthed ex-mayor.

Yes, he has unsettled governments, diplomats, senators, newsmen and analysts, requiring much clarification the day after. But it’s not President Duterte’s job to make things simple and predictable. Rather, his duty is to get the best deals and outcomes for Filipinos. So far he’s doing that — with his audacious word plays.

Duterte’s deliberate deliveries deliver
For starters, his repeated threats to wipe out drug offenders since the election campaign, have energized police and spooked traffickers and users by the hundreds of thousands. His warning to let corrupt airport staff eat the bullets they plant in luggage quickly stopped the sleaze even before he took office.

In foreign relations and security, President Duterte’s seemingly unscripted, yet surely deliberate deliveries are also delivering the goods.

With his globally headlined “separation” from the United States, Duterte has made it highly unlikely that China would grab islands from the Philippines under his watch, or build up Scarborough Shoal into a military-capable facility like Fiery Cross Reef.

Why not? Because that would be a slap in Duterte’s face, turning his handshakes in Beijing into unwise, unpatriotic gestures before the whole world. And everyone is aware by now what he’s capable of if he’s insulted.

Plainly, China knows if it does anything unfriendly in the next six years, Duterte would not just unleash expletives; he may well give American troops not just five, but 10 bases to use under an even bigger Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, instead of scaling down the EDCA.

Nope, China won’t mess with the Philippines while Duterte is around. In the meantime, we should build up our defenses against future encroachments, especially the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) weaponry urged by security experts.

As for America, it is asking the Philippines to define the security arrangements we want. Last Thursday, our column “Change is coming to the US Alliance” < > urged keeping the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, while expanding military links with Russia and China.

We should also drastically pull back the EDCA, reducing rotations of the Seventh Fleet, and giving access to just one base far away from population centers and croplands. And US assistance should focus on marine surveillance aircraft, anti-ship coastal defenses, and anti-aircraft systems, the A2/AD gear recommended by Washington think tank Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Turning to Moscow, the elements of an expanded relationship is for a future column. For now, here’s an initial wishlist, tapping capabilities where Russia is a global leader: anti-ship and anti-aircraft systems, submarines, and the development of world-class athletes, ballet dancers, and classical musicians. Plus: countertrade swapping our agricultural and marine products for Russian oil gas, and coal. And much more tourism.

First the voters, then the world
Duterte watchers wonder if his media bombshells are deliberate strategy or dumb luck. Our Sept. 29 column “Duterte’s tough-talk foreign policy” said it’s all scripted to achieve clear political and media objectives, starting with his election victory.

Last year Duterte openly admitted he wasn’t sure about running — usually a no-no for serious candidates — and even missed the mid-October deadline for certificates of candidacy. So when he did throw his hat in the ring, everyone eagerly watched.

With little campaign money, he attacked the well-funded administration candidate Mar Roxas. So pro-Roxas press rebutted Duterte — giving him free publciity. His gutter talk and death threats against pushers also got headlines gratis.

Duterte even praised opponents, promising to adopt their proposed programs — gaining goodwill among their supporters. And he repeatedly declared he would sacrifice his life and the presidency to rid the nation of drugs, something no other candidate said.

Now, Duterte is employing his talk tactics on the world and again getting results


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  1. Former President Ramos was yakking lately and he seemed to be acting like a good statesman but unfortunately he was one of the leaders who failed to even lift or managed to bring the Philippines to greatness. Ramos should be reminded that once upon a time in his career as President of our beloved Philippines, he used an old man named Mang Pandoy as his image of poverty where Ramos promised to eradicate but sad to say FVR was a big failure as others before and after him.

  2. DU30 is fooling no one by his talk but himself. His talks don’t have the depth for international relation and decorum. Let’s us not be too simplistic to the point that make us too stupid.

  3. Go ahead. Be proud that the Philippines is a beggar nation always asking other country to give financial aid and not giving anything back. The country must learn to stand on its own and be able to support its economic and social programs. The writer of this column is talking about acquisition of modern weapon systems but not knowing of their costs and logistics support. Imagine the PN having diesel submarines when they can hardly maintain surface ships. Imagine buying high tech missile defense system when they can only afford to buy few missiles. Do you know how much a missile costs? I mean it’s nice to dream of all kinds of goodies but be realistic.

    Instead, develop the agriculture to increase rice production, encourage small business growth and don’t tax them to death, hold politicians accountable in the disbursement of pork, and stop this bragging that the people won’t be able to sustain and defend.

    America should pull out of the country and let the new regime show it can really do. And when trouble comes, call on the Russians and Chinese to bail them out. The Russians and Chinese don’t give anything for free. Is communism/socialism the new hope of the nation? Go ahead and take your suicide run to perdition. Good luck.

    PI is like a spoiled child that has tantrums when it doesn’t get the candies it wants to get for free. Most have no manners that don’t even thank the giver for the free things received. PI has been blaming the US for the misfortunes they themselves created. Wake up people this is about time you grow up. Go ahead with your tough talk and let’s see how tough you are when the Chinese army lands on your shores. But please don’t call on the Americans to liberate you again. I suggest America stops all kinds of aid to PI because they are ungrateful people and fair weather friends that can’t be relied upon when time is tough.

  4. What Duterte brought home from his visit to China are just promises and nothing more. If ever such promises would materialize to our benefit, are still hanging way up in the air. I am not expecting too much but would rather wait for concrete results before egging the President to continue talking the way he does.

  5. Ryan the Great on

    Very Spot On Article. I like it very much. I do hope that President Duterte would call on North Korean President Kim Jung Un and befriend the isolated country and engage economic trade with North Korea. We can import from them their minerals such as iron ore which is a main ingredient for making steels in exchange for our Agricultural products and other goods. Then he will call also Iran for an economic trade, we would export Oil from Iran in exchange for our agricultural products. Then we will call our friend Israel to deepen more our ties economicaly by exporting from them assault weapons and in exchange for our Agriculrural products like the Bananas, Pineapple, Mango and Sugar. Then if these things will happen, he will promote world peace and call all nations to cool down the tensions between the Military Superpowers like US, Russia, China, Iran, Israel and North Korea. It will be a beautiful world to live after all.

  6. Touche!. I voted for PDU30 even before the elections. The first time i heard him rave and rant cuss words out of protest for the state of criminality and corruption during Pnoys term, i thought HE IS THE MAN. The Yellows scorned him for being probinsyano “sano”, a killer mad man with no manners to keep up with other world leaders. In other words, he will be a shame as President. Now their worst fear are real. But only to the Yellows and the burgis To most of the 86-91% Filipinos, PDU30 is our knight in rusty armor, standing up to mighty self righteous USA. That from now on Filipinos will be respected and dignified as a nation. We have everything to gain than lose with PDU30 warts and all. We have been losers before anyway.Love America you bleeding hearts, but allow the rest of us to feel the pride of being Filipinos once again.

  7. Silverio Cabellon Jr on

    Scarboorough Shoal is still under the control of China. President Duterte’s language needs to translate into implementing the Philippine Constitution which is to protect the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Otherwise it is just babble.

  8. That’s Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power – no. 4 and 9. NOT original from former Pres. Fidel Ramos.Give credit to where credit is due.

  9. The money that Mr. President might get from China is a loan; it has to be paid by all Filipino people. From the money that China would be loaned to the Philippine, Mr. President DU30 is planning to revive former Ferdinand Marcos’ program of Biyayang Dagat and as well the agricultural program of Marcos time. The Biyayang dagat was not a successful program. I know so many fishermen, who were given fund for fishing but used money to repair their houses. The problem today, besides of irresponsibility of our people towards paying debt, our fishing ground are no longer rich of marine products due to dynamite fishing and other illegal fishing activities, like poisoning. On the part of agriculture, I wonder if it would become a success for the poor farmers. In my understanding only the buyers of palay are successful and the sellers of fertilizers as well. Unless we copy other countries agricultural program for farmers, like in France that my friend told me that in France Farmers are given a montly salary to farm, besides of their harvest. So, we could say that farmers in France earn an additional income when they are harvesting, because the harvest become theirs still. And when the crops are destroyed snow or of any kind, the famers are also compensated for their loss. In this way of France to their farmers, if we follow it, our farmers can already hope for a better life. I think our farmers should really be given montly salary, like the governent employees. Mr. Saludo please tell this program of France to Mr. President DU30.

  10. I reside on Guam and travel with my wife who is Fil-Am to the Philippines quite a bit. I like the Philippines and the people there. With that said the Philippines I’m sure can probably get along with out the U.S. and for damn sure the U.S. can get along with out the Philippines. In a long term I do believe the Philippines will suffer. Just look at Guam there are all kinds of millions of dollars in ongoing construction projects and the upcoming military build up is getting ready to start however there are hardly no OFW or as we call them on Guam H2 Workers from the Philippines. The U.S.Government is rejecting their visa applications and renewals like crazy. The next thing you will see will be the OFW in the U.S. and it’s other territory’s being sent home. No more money being sent home either. Having bases or staging areas in the Philippines………..again, would have been nice but it is not essential. I mean after all the U.S. has done quite well in that area of the world with out the bases at Subic & Clark The U.S. still has Guam, Japan, Okinawa, S. Korea, Diego Garcia, & the new Marine Corps Base in Australia (yes they gave the U.S. a base there) There is also Micronesia that the U.S. Could build on if it really had to. With out a staging area or base in P.I. it is just a little bump in the road. Besides the average American could careless if P.I. breaks ties with the U.S. Or the U.S. breaks ties with the P.I. The only people that do care are some of the Filipinos living in the U.S. and former and active duty military personnel. I could careless if Duterte kills all the drug dealers in P.I. good for him. That lame dick Obama is gone in the next couple of months and the next president whether it be Trump or Hillary for sure will not take no shit from Duterte. That I would bet on. When He says I’m breaking ties with U.S. Hillary or Trump will probably say don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out………..I do wish you luck………….Adios

  11. Yesterday the political fault line was between the yellows and the Anti-yellow, a divide that was at its core Marcos vs Aquino. Today under Duterte it seems the political scene is morphing into a Brown Americans vs Los Indios Bravos divide. The Unfinished Revolution of 1898 is rearing its ugly head again, but its ugly only to the pathetic Brown Americans in our midst. You are right, Duterte’s mouth is like a highly effective, unstoppable cruise missile. Keep on talking, Mr. President. Mabuhay si Duterte !

  12. Hahaha, bull’s eye! You got it right, indeed Duterte is an expert of Psychological warfare! …look what happened, he’s not only got the attention of us & asean leaders as well but also the world. Even the mighty US who took us for granted for so many decades is rattled and show so much concern with the way they were exposed by no less that the leader of their former colony whom they treated badly…

    • so the Mr. Psychopath that Agot says was a brilliant political tactician and Agot is dumb nutshell who don’t understand politics … It is very clear she was a Yellowtard…

  13. Bert O. Romero on

    Clarity in statements, actions and intentions is an essential prerequisite in country to country relations. It’s absence is a certain formula for misunderstanding and potentially more serious blowback. Only those who wish President Duterte to fail and ” fall on his sword” would wish him to speak and act the way he has been speaking and acting.

    • reverse psychology. the writer would love to continue to hear any unscripted statements, be it a cuss or harsh profanities, from the president to accelerate his self destruction and eventual ouster from office.

    • I agree 110%, no more dark ages of yellowtards and intervention in our policy, as for you Mr.Ramos you are not our Pres. please disappear he doesn`t need your advice.

  14. I completely disagree with the writer. It appears you want Duterte to say bad words because we become important to all nations. You are completely out of your mind. Since when can you condone people to say bad words ? You must be a columnist but a war mongrel. Do you want your children to say bad words ?

    • The Great Defiant on

      ikaw kahit kalian hindi nag mura?
      un anak mo, sure ka ba na hindi mag mura yan…
      look around you, TV’s, radio, newspaper, lahat yan may mura….

      mabuti na un nagmumura, pero totoo…
      kesa pino, peke naman….

      sometimes you need to be hard hitting to emphasize a point, assertive and bold enough to say things most people afraid to speak of.
      bottom line, DU30 produce results…
      ang mga dilaw puro actions but no results…
      asan ka?

    • Gregoria Silang on

      Bad words? Or Bad acts? Which one do you want your children to be exposed to? You probably have not experienced having your cellphone snatched while looking at your ATM password saved in your cellphone. Please, you who live sheltered lives should get out of your bubble so you will get a sense of how the rest of the Filipinos live and understand why many are supporting President Duterte.

    • I hate Duterte with his dirty mouth exploding expletives at the face of Pres.Obama and UN officials.But in fairness, even before Dutard came to the national scene,the dirty word “putang ina” ” anak ng p” is very very very common among Filipinos whether in the city or small barangay. I heard the word even among social gatherings of so -called elites and professionals without anyone batting an eyelashes.Even without dirty Duterte, the childern will hear the bad word just the same. BUT I agree with this columnist. The ” bad word of Duterte made dividends for the Philippines.China gave “Dutard” a red carpet that China did not accorded to US President last September. China is eager to welcome President Duterte. USA is now listening and was disturbed in their comfort to look at the Philippines. This is what counts _ the NATIONAL INTEREST.

    • To the MAX talaga ! Hanep sa English, na dugo utak ko. Columnist na dog fighter pa na askal ! War mongrel lol. Warmonger po iyan !

    • If your children will say bad words, it will, be your fault not the president’s. and, what’s a war mongrel? hahaha

    • We are not in the midst of war. DU30 needs to follow diplomatic protocols when standing up in front of the world leaders. He needs to speak appropriately as role model to his countrymen. He needs to strengthen the moral fiber of the next Pinoy generations. How could a decadent Pinoy society resists an invitation to destroy humanity when the ISIL comes knocking at our door?

  15. Ricardo Saludo, saludo ako sa article na ito. Sino ba yan si NVLAWYER? Mabuti pa’y tumahimik nalang at walang nalalaman kung hindi propaganda lang? Kahit ang Presidente Duterte ay sinasabing Duarte. Ulol! Balik tayo sa iyong sinasabi: More pa talk Pres. Digong, more pa talk!

  16. DU30 has had 71 years to develop his style. He is smart and action orientated. We is aware of things we do not see. He talks about how he will “kill” the bad things and grow the good things. He always moves forward to do those things. He wants to include the masses in everything he says, so he always says things to grab the attention of everyone. I am with you, just let him talk.

    • TO THE MAX

      I don’t condone police officers complicit in drug dealings killing another drug pusher/user; neither do I condone a drug dealer killing another drug dealer if only to erase any trail leading to him. Nor do I condone killings made among squabbling drug peddlers due to the shrinking market. Long and short, 3,600 dead Filipinos are the result of ratcheted anti-illegal drugs campaign which triggered a self-destructing mechanism in the sleazy drugs underworld.

  17. There is a big difference between Duterte and Hugo Chavez. Chavez was just a military guy with no experience in running a government. Read on what Duterte has done so far. He has reduced crime, streamlining the government, aggressive thrust in agriculture, have a functioning social welfare organization and a responsive disaster relief organization. Most important of all he has diffused the tension in the West Philippine Sea. He did this just with words. On top of it he brings home billions of dollars for our development. He may still become a model to follow in settling conflict among neighbors.
    There is a reason for his foul mouth we, can live with that, he uses them for a reason.

    • I agree. thats why Hugo Chavez failed his country. he really is not that smart to be a president. all he knows is nationalism. but nationalism sometimes also need foreign investors to maintain a healthy economy especially if there are no local investors. In Philippines there are more billionaires than in venezuela. Most of billionaires if not all in philippines are tsinoys. now thats freedom and democracy in the works. If you work hard and persever in Philippines you will make it as a business man even with the red tapes and corruption, just play their game. and thats what the wealthy businessmen are doing otherwise they would have left the country.

  18. It is a great insult on Duterte comparing him to Chavez and a graver insult comparing Venezuela to the Philippines.

  19. Be careful what you wish for! I think he’ playing a dangerous game… and what he’s doing is no laughing matter. We will sit back and watch.

  20. Too much talk was the ruin of the socialist dictator Chavez. The man of the people. Someone who would not be silenced. Now we see in Venezuela the ruin of a once-beautiful and developing country. Its people cannot even find food let alone jobs.

    Don’t be a fool. People do remember words — especially nations who were once friends. The rants of Duarte can be fun for a while, but at some point there has to be something of substance. You are advocating that Duarte continue his offensive remarks because they get the worlds attention. Chavez also got the worlds attention. One by one, international companies left Venezuela (a country with many more resources than the Philippines). It was not worth the risk — even at the loss of Billions of dollars, these massive companies took their capital elsewhere.

    Duarte is good entertainment. Chavez was too at the beginning. But then we saw an inability to really run government. We saw in Chavez someone who simply ruled by stealing money from one group and giving it to another. He never really understood how to create capital or profit. His taxes because too severe. His government take-overs were short sighted.

    This article ignores the type of person that Duarte is. He is a Jr. Chavez in the making. A person who wants to give to the poor and stop crime (good qualities), but also someone who is ignorant as to what it takes to actually develop a country.

    The warning is that the Philippines will go from Democracy to Social Dictatorship in no time flat. Watch. Wait. Learn. History has a way of repeating itself. Who will be the check on Duarte? The courts? It is time to strap Duarte down while you still have a chance. If not, the people of the Philippines will find more rhetoric than food.

    • social dictatorship is a better form applied to filipinos than democracy…look what filipinos have done with democracy, they make it democrazy why? filipinos are generally undisciplined, abusive, tamad and all of them nagmamgaling at ang gusto lang is masunod ang self interest…so how you counter this kind of attitude and must be a dictator and evil if necessary.

    • And who gave you the authority to speak foul mouth against the President. Comparing DU30 to Hugo Chavez is a no brainer on your part. There is a big difference between the two. Chavez is a military man and DU30 is a civilian with no military background and don’t have any record of a putch (coup d etat). Now if you have a dislike to him go ahead because you are like a crying baby waiting to be pampered – i pity you. DU30 talks and make results, one thing is sure, your big brother USA has a hand in making the Venezuelans in chaos even they have lots of oil, thru the connivance of multi national Companies they want Venezuela suffer their worst status because they don’t toe the line stated by your Master and great friend – THE USA.

    • …and who’s the common denominator between Chavez and Du30? CHINA! Isn’t that a coincident? China invested heavily in Venezuela during Hugo’s time because of their oil and look where it brought them? Gising Philippines!

  21. Herman P. Hondojare on

    Rodrigo Duterte is the only non politics nationalistic and genius wise Philippine President with result of just 4 months in office, peace and bitter leaving will surely delivered nationwide.

    God Bless The Philippines

    Mabuhay Tayong Pilipino

    • How can you even mention God when thousands die daily on EJL ? Does your god condone killings ? Does your god condones saying bad words ? Does your god condones adultery ? I guess we have different God.