Last May 2016, 16 million Filipinos voted for a new President. This President is Rodrigo Duterte, who is not your usual smart-talking and classy President. In fact, he was called a lot of things, some of them are “Duterte Harry” and “Trump of the East.” Despite that, this dirty-mouthed President vowed to give the Filipinos a “clean government,” that is why he was chosen.
Less than three months after assuming office, he was able to impress people with his track record of “change” as he promised. However, saying that he has done something good for the country does not take away the fact that he still is the foul-mouthed, frank and straight to the point President that the media is claiming.
As Filipinos, we have already accepted the fact that he does that a lot. He curses in public and it’s not that big of a deal for us. It’s not because we want to be seen as a country without class or breeding, but it is because we know it is just his expression that is being taken out of context.
When the news broke that he cursed the Pope, there was an outrage from the media. Other countries were quick to judge, and most of the foreign news outlets are saying Duterte called the Pope “putangina” or “son of a whore.”
President Duterte has long apologized for that. But the fact remains that if you are not from the Philippines and if you are being fed by the media, it is easy to believe something that is just taken out of context.
With a new President who is as dirty-mouthed as he is, I’m not surprised at all. In fact, earlier today, another news broke that this time, it was President Obama, whom he was calling “son of a whore.”
As a native speaker of both English and Tagalog, and as somebody who has access to the whole speech, I went on and watched the full video.
Lo and behold, my suspicions were true, the line that was cut from the video above, wherein the new President said “putangina” was not even directed to President Obama, it was directed to the reporter who, according to the President, “just threw questions and statements.”
I repeat. The “son of a whore” statement of the new President was not directed at President Obama at all.
Let me give you a rundown:
Earlier this September 5, Duterte gave a 5-minute speech informing the country that he is about to go to Laos for the ASEAN summit. I transcribed the whole speech and included the video below this article. This is for the people to know the whole story.
After giving his speech, the new president asked the audience for questions and clarifications, saying:
“Any questions? I will give you a few.. for clarification for the statement only. Do not come more on to politics. It’s too far away.”
Despite his warning of not going too far, one reporter asked him:
“Sir, there have been concerns on extrajudicial killings, sir. And you will meet leaders, any line of communication that we have prepared to address this issue in front of other foreign leaders?”
To which the new President replied:
“To whom shall I address myself to? Who will be asking the question? May I know?”
Somebody from the audience said “Like Obama, Sir.” And that started it all. Here is his answer:
“You know, the Philippines is not a vassal state. We have long ceased to be a colony of the United States. Alam mo marame dyan mga kolumnista (You know there are a lot of columnists) who look up on Obama and the United States as if we are the lapdogs of this coutry.”
In this statement, the new President was clearly addressing his audience, Obama’s name was only mentioned as an example because somebody in the audience mentioned Obama. I am not a Duterte-fan, but anybody listening to that line, who understands the language will know that he is not degrading Obama, he is merely lifting his people up. He ended it by saying:
“I do not respond to anybody but the people of the Republic of the Philippines”
Now, this is the part that gets dirty. In trying to lift his people, he was subconsciously saying something that can be used against him. Again, from our point of view, his point is that the Philippines should never bow down to any country, there is nothing against President Obama, his name was just dragged.
“Wala akong pakelam sakanya (I don’t care about him). Who is he? I am not beholden to anybody.”
After this, he went on and addressed the columnists.
“May mga kolumnista dyan na (There are columnists out there that write headlines such as) ‘Wait until he meets..’ Who is he? I am a President of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people.”
The next line is addressed to the reporter who asked the question, not to Obama as the media is claiming:
“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Putangina (son of a bitch) I will curse you in that forum.”
As a clarification, Duterte is referring to reporters who are not respectful and are throwing questions at him that are not on topic.
Here’s a little Filipino crash course.
Puta = Whore/Bitch
Ina = Mom
Putangina = Son of a Bitch / Son of a Whore
Mo = You
“Putangina” is an expression like, say, “Shit,” or “Crap” are. When “Putangina is followed by “Mo,” that is what makes it become offensive. That is when it becomes “You are a son of a bitch.”
Watch the whole video below and read the accurately transcribed speech.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my co-workers in government, mga mahal kong kababayan (my beloved countrymen), I am leaving for Vientiane, Laos to join other Asian leaders at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and related summits.
This will be my first meeting with other leaders of ASEAN member states, as well as ASEAN’s important dialogue partners, including Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
I will take the opportunity to discuss with them the important Regional and International issues that impact on the peace, security, stability and the prosperity of our Region.
Present events have shown that there are elements out there that seek to sow terror and wreak havoc in our society. We remain firm in our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We remain committed to our board and duty to do our utmost to protect our citizens.
I ask every Filipino to do his and her part for the sake of our country. I will use the opportunity for meeting with the other Asian leaders and ASEAN dialogue partners to seek better support for Regional efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.
Terrorism and extreme extremism is a global concern and the Philippines will do its part as a member of the international community and work with its partners to address this issue.
At the summits, ASEAN leaders will discuss the way forward in realizing the ASEAN community vision 2025. Where the rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN.
The security of of a region hinges on the cooperation of the ASEAN member states as well as the dialog partners. Consistent with the Philippines’ cornerstone programs, we will call for renewed cooperation for a drug-free ASEAN community.
The summits will also be an excellent opportunity to underscore the importance of the role of law and peaceful settlement of disputes. The interests of our people are at the heart of ASEAN community building and we shall work with our neighbors in addressing trans-national issues such as trafficking of persons and terrorism and violent extremisms.
On the economic front, we shall discuss ways to make growth inclusive, so that the benefits of economic growth are felt by every Filipino. This includes strengthening connectivity in the region, enhancing trade, underscoring the importance of micro small and medium industries and conserving and sustaining the growth environment. We should advance to improve access to education that can open opportunities for all, including out-of-school youths to develop and realize their potentials to be productive and responsible members of society.
We will continue engaging our neighbors on the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers, we’ll also push for the capacity building to improve emergency response and disaster management.
I have the honor to accept, in behalf of the Philippines the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017 from Laos. This will formally mark an important leadership role for the Philippines and the region as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the association next year.
After ASEAN summits, I will proceed to my working visits to Indonesia to discuss bilateral issues impacting our relationships. Upon my return, I will report on the gains that the Philippines achieved during the visits. Daghang salamat (Thank you.)”