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Duterte affirms commitment to free PHL from drugs, corruption, criminality during Vin d’Honneur

President Rodrigo Duterte raises his glass for a toast with members of the Diplomatic Corps during the New Yearâ??s Vin dâ??Honneur at the Rizal Hall of Malaca�±ang Palace on Jan. 11, 2017. RTVM
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MANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday affirmed his commitment to free the Filipino people from the evils of drugs, corruption and criminality as he addressed the Diplomatic Corps during the traditional Vin d’Honneur at Malacañang Palace.

“When I assumed the presidency six months ago, I pledged to lead my country and my people. I vowed to address three basic evils that subjected my people, especially the poorest and the disenfranchised to the most unbearable burdens of slavery, or millions of them, to drugs, corruption, criminality and a revolution in the south,” he said to honored guests during the traditional New Year reception.

He said that his sacred vow has remained unchanged and stressed that he would certainly stay true to the mandate reposed on him as the nation’s leader.

“The administration will remain firm in its resolve to hold the corrupt accountable for their deeds. We will make criminals responsible for their actions and we will work very, very hard to finally break the apparatus of the illegal drugs trade,” the President said.

“In so doing, we affirm and renew our commitment to bring about the change that my country and people deserve,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, he said that all efforts are also being made to bring about just and lasting peace in Mindanao and to finally bring to an end one of the longest-running communist insurgencies in the world.

Alongside these efforts is the determination to bring about a stronger Philippine economy, he said.

“Already, we have started the process of genuine reform to encourage more trade and investments, to intensify commercial activities, to ramp up investment and much-needed infrastructure, to increase revenues to make communities more resilient, and to improve basic social services,” he said.

“These changes are vital to make the Philippines a stronger republic. It is on the basis of this political, social and economic reforms and the Philippines will be able to take on an even more active and more influential role in the community of nations,” Duterte said.

In the meantime, the President also vowed to cooperate in addressing the common challenges faced by the international community such as the menace of terrorism, natural and human-induced calamities, transnational crimes, hunger and poverty and international disputes.

“Indeed, as we thrive to be stronger at our core, we hope to do more not just for our own people but for our region and for the world,” Duterte said, adding that the Philippines "contends with the realities that are our own. We value partners as we seek strengthened existing friendships even as we pursue new ones.”

"We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals," the President said.

He also stressed that the Philippines has and will continue to build on the friendships founded on a common objective, shared values and time honored principles of international law.

“In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respect for each other’s sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless. I wish for deeper and more meaningful engagements with our partners and friends. May our relationships continue to prosper for the greater benefit of our peoples,” Duterte said.