DAVAO CITY: President Rodrigo Duterte has called on businessmen to “be assertive” to stop corruption in transactions with government offices.
In his speech during The Manila Times 5th Business Forum at Marco Polo Hotel on Friday, Duterte reiterated his campaign promise to fight corruption and red tape, and told businessmen not to give in to the demands of corrupt government employees.
“All that I need from the public, from the smallest guy on the street transacting business and to you guys, is not to give in. But you should be assertive,” Duterte told more than 200 businessmen who attended the event.
The President said he wants simple permits processed within three days and applications involving Cabinet departments processed in one month.
“If you are here and given a permit and you have complied with all the papers, the slightest whiff of suggestion, you create a scene…And I’ll get wind of all of these things,” he said.
“So I have imposed upon all the departments, Cabinet members: one month. Either you approve it or disapprove it but let the papers out, one month…Local governments, I’m announcing it, I’m going to issue this circular or executive order or whatever. You have three days,” the President added.
Duterte also said he has refrained from reviewing contracts for big government projects as the process usually results in anomalies.
“I’ve always said there will be no corruption; drugs must be stopped for the sake of the Filipino people. Mine is to preserve the nation and I will do everything and rot in jail if needed to save my country,” he added.
Duterte then warned “indolent” government officials, particularly regional directors of Cabinet departments, to stop their corrupt practices, saying “there will be no second chances.”
“I’m for zero tolerance… Most of them are indolent. I said you have 15 days and if the paper is in your office, you have to husband it around. Keep a tab of how many days it has been there because the longer you sit on it, the temptation of corruption is there,” he said.
“You know, I said, I am not, we are all feet of clay. I have committed many sins myself. But I do not have the hunger for money. It’s only when you crave for so many things that you cannot afford… I always say, we are all workers in government and we serve the people,” he added.