MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he felt insulted that corruption still exists in the government three months after he assumed office.
”Until now it (corruption) still exists and I feel it as an insult really because that’s my promise: One is I will stop corruption. That was the only line that was repeated by mouth all the months of the campaign,” President Duterte said in his speech after after the mass oath-taking of 125 newly-appointed government officials and League of Municipalities officers at Rizal Hall of Malacanang Palace.
Living up to his promise to stamp out corruption, the President has signed an executive order to implement the Freedom of Information at the executive branch level.
To allow ordinary citizens to air their grievances and to report the corruption in the government, Malacanang has launched the President’s Hotline or 8888 dedicated to complaint against fixers, scalawag officials and ineffective government services.
”If I could just get a fraction of the corruption in our government, (it) seems okay for me. I cannot erase all. I cannot stop it but I can minimize it,” President Duterte said.
”My predilection now is really to go fast simply because six years is a very limited time to do some reform,” he added.
President Duterte said he is tinkering an idea to open the government-run PTV Channel 4 for one hour each day for complaints and grievances of the citizens against government agencies and its officials.
”The names will be flashed minus, if you want, the senders, the complainants or the aggrieved parties or whatever, you can always skip your number but if you want to do it publicly, fine with me,” the President said.
”I don’t know if it is correct or not but for those of you who are here lawyers, you can maybe give me an input of how to do about it,” he told the government officials and local leaders.
Aside from corruption, President Duterte promised during the last election campaign that he will address illegal drugs problem and criminality.
President Duterte’s war on drugs in the first three months of his administration netted positive results with over 700,000 drug dependents surrendered, more than 22,000 arrested, nearly 1,500 killed in legitimate police operations and Php8.4 billion worth of seized drugs.
In just three months, the crime rate has also been reduced by almost 50 percent, according to the Philippine National Police.
A survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS) indicated that 84 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with President Duterte’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
”What I’m trying to say is that I do not think I can be successful unless I destroy the apparatus of the criminal syndicates,” he said.
The President said there are almost 4 million people contaminated by illegal drugs in the country.
”I would say just like what I have been saying in public: Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. And do not destroy the youth of the land because I will kill you,” he said.
He said there is no law that prohibits the leader of the land from threatening criminals.
For the foreign leaders who criticized his strong campaign against drugs, President Duterte advised them not to use the media to express their comments.
”I do not demand respect but I just want them to do which is correct, the proper decorum of a sovereign,” the President said. PNA/northernforum.net