MANILA - More than halfway through his term, President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he cannot stop corruption, as he sought the help of businessmen to help minimize it by reporting corruption incidents.
“I cannot stop corruption, but you can help me minimize it,” Duterte told members of the Chinese-Filipino Business Club Incorporated during its founding anniversary celebration and biennial national convention Monday.
The President reiterated his call for businessmen to be assertive in the face of corrupt government officials and personnel, adding that he would incentivize those who will report corrupt practices.
“’Pag humingi sa inyo, sabihin lang ninyo sa akin, at pupunta ako sa pantalan, at ipapasok ko na ‘yang kargada n’yo, cargo, libre, just report to me in one statement the stupid guy,” Duterte said.
He noted that businessmen can report through the government’s complaint hotline 8888, or to his office.
“There is the 8888, you name the corrupt official, the transaction, huwag mo na ilagay yung pangalan niyo, and I’ll take it from there,” he said.
“If there is (someone) threatening you, tell me kung sino yan, at paluluhurin ko ‘yan sa harap ninyo. Really. Wag kayo matakot, kasi kayo rin ang kawawa… And as my practice, I will call him to my office with you, at pakinggan ko sa kanya kung ano, bakit nagka ganoon. Kung makita ko may kasalanan, p*tang i*a, asahan mo talaga, sasampalin ko ‘yan sa harap mo. I have done that many times already. I have done that to an undersecretary. May sinipa na rin ako noon na direktor,” Duterte added.
“Kung hindi mo takutin itong mga-- o patayin, hindi talaga,” Duterte said, as he called on Filipinos not to enter government service if they are not ready to be honest.
While the President clarified that not all personnel of the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs are corrupt, he said corruption in these agencies are “prolific”.
Duterte expressed appreciation for the contributions of the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc. in boosting government efforts and strengthening local sectors. He assured them that the government remains committed in eliminating corruption, crimes and drugs.
“The government, in turn, remains committed in our pursuit of peace, and the ongoing war on drugs, crimes and corruption. We remain hard at work in fostering lasting economic growth and sustainable development,” the President said.
Duterte also called on Chinese-Filipino businessmen to continue investing in the country, as he assured them that the government will uphold a leveled playing field.
“I advise you to further invest in the country, because we are ready to uphold a level playing field, while we foster an enabling, nurturing and globally competitive business environment. Guided by the values of integrity and excellence, let us forge a better and working future for all and leave a legacy of fruitful cooperation for the generation,” he said.
The convention’s theme is “Exploring Business Opportunities- Growing Possibilities”. CFBCI said its focus in the next two years will be pushing and encouraging local businesses and firms towards capacity building to better capture non-traditional markets. It called on its members to “branch out and take calculated risks”.
CFBCI has a membership of more than 400 nationwide, coming from the finance, manufacturing, real estate development, travel and tourism, fuel, construction, banking and agricylture sector. CFBCI has pledged to contruct a 1000-sqm evacuation center at a site that will be provided by the government. It will be equipped with portable room cubicles, male and female toilets and shower rooms, kitchen, laundry room, clinic, and office.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Senators Bong Go and Imee Marcos also attended the event. During the event, President Duterte was seen wearing a portable air purifier around his neck, amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country.