MANILA (UPDATE)—President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday told Chinese businessmen in Beijing to go to him if they find trouble with corruption in the Philippines.
During the Philippine-China Business Forum, Duterte said he would not condone corrupt practices in government offices that handle foreign businessmen wanting to set up shop in the Philippines.
"Part of your hesitancy before was that because the Philippines was a corrupt country and not a peaceful one. I'd like to reassure you that during my term, I will not allow corruption," Duterte said.
"If you go to the Philippines, or with any agent there, come to me for any of your problems."
Duterte told the Chinese businessmen that if they encounter a Filipino official who will try to extort money in exchange for issuing business permits, all they have to do is name that official.
"If you encounter, or your agents, or your lawyer will tell you 'This official is asking for something like this' you just tell me and I will call that official, whoever he is, in my office and in your presence," Duterte said.
The President said he "will tell the official to eat the money and swallow the coins" in the businessmen's presence.
"I have done it several times. Perhaps I will do more until the bureaucracy of the Philippines behaves," Duterte said.
In his third and last day of his official visit in Beijing, Duterte had courtesy call with construction delegates, whom he considers as primary partners on the government's Build, Build, Build program.
He also met with the officials of the local government unit of Cavite, Cavitex Holdings, China Communication Construction Company, and China Airport Construction Group Co, Ltd where they discussed the Sangley Point International Aiport, which will help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Duterte also had a meeting with business leaders of the Chinese International Chamber of Commerce for the Private Sector and thanked them for trusting his administration.
The President is in Beijing for bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi called for development of ties with the Philippines during his meeting with Duterte, amid tensions between the 2 countries over the South China Sea.
- With reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News and Kyodo News