MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte cracked down on red tape and flip-flopping government policies on his first day in office Thursday, as he promised to work not for any sector or class but the public interest.
Duterte immediately ordered his Cabinet to reduce transaction times and remove “redundant” requirements of government offices.
“I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications from the submission to release,” he said in a speech immediately after he was sworn into office at the presidential palace.
Contracts and regulations should not be changed mid-stream, he added.
“I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules of government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is ongoing is wrong," Duterte said.
"I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposal to negotiation to perfection finally to consummation.
“Do them and we will work together; do not do them, we will part sooner than later."
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index jumped 2.26 percent after Duterte was sworn in at noon, nearing the 8,000-point level.
The peso strengthened to as high as P46.88 to the dollar from Wednesday’s close of P47.02, according to the Philippine Dealing System.
LINCOLN, ROOSEVELT INSPIRATION
Duterte summed up his economic policy with former US President Abraham Lincoln’s words: “You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the poor by discouraging the rich. You cannot help the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot further brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”
He also quoted former US President Franklin Roosevelt: “The test of government is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide for those who have little.”
“My economic and financial policies are contained in those quotations. Read between the lines,” he told an audience of top government officials and diplomats.
Duterte’s economic team had promised to cut waiting times for license plates and government permits during a meeting with business leaders last week. They also pledged to honor existing contracts.
Duterte’s predecessors have been brought to court for allegedly changing the terms of government deals.
Former President Benigno Aquino’s transportation secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya, transferred a planned station that will connect the MRT-3 and LRT-1 lines to a Quezon City mall operated by Ayala Corp., from one owned by rival SM Prime Holdings.
Former President Gloria Arroyo rescinded his predecessor Joseph Estrada’s deal with the German builder of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal III, Fraport AG, due to alleged corruption.