MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said he does not understand why some people do not like Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
"They do not like Tugade. He's the valedictorian of our class. He's a good man," he told businessmen.
This, after Peter Wallace of The Walace Business Forum commented that Congress appears to be dragging its feet on the proposal to grant the president emergency powers to address traffic and other transportation woes.
"He's [Tugade] very good. He has a very structural mind. I don't know about this, but they do not want, maybe they share the agony, they enjoy. It's called political masochism," Duterte added.
According to Duterte, he has already talked to Chinese businessmen for soft loans for infrastructure projects.
"There's no movement at all. We need to borrow money to improve things there down on the road level," he said.
"I talked with some of the Chinese businessmen, and they said maybe we'll give you soft loan for 25 years, and renewable for another 25 years, with a grace period of maybe seven years," Duterte said/
The President said he has lost hope of getting money from Congress for infrastructure projects to address transportation problems.
"I have lost hope of getting the money from Congress, to allow us to borrow. I'm not really sure why, the reason. Some do not like Tugade, but he's a good person," Duterte reiterated.
Tugade is among 15 Cabinet members who failed to get the nod of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) as of last month.
Last week, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez denied that he wants Tugade to resign from his post.
Alvarez has been critical of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for failing to fix traffic and to act on the issuance of drivers' licenses, among other issues.