President Rodrigo Duterte hit the ground running on his first day in Malacañang on Thursday, issuing his first marching order to members of the Cabinet and heads of government agencies—cut red tape.
President Duterte said transactions with government should be shortened and redundant requirements removed.
“I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to the release,” the new President said in his inaugural speech.
“I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to remove redundant requirements and compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all. Changing the rules when the game is ongoing is wrong. 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,” Duterte added.
The President warned that officials who fail to follow his directives will be sacked.
He also cited the need for transparency.
“I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation,” Duterte said.
After the inauguration rites, the President administered the oath of office to members of the Cabinet.
The President said problems on criminality and drugs and the breakdown of law and order are symptoms of a more virulent social disease–lack of trust in government.
“Erosion of faith and trust in government, that is the real problem that confronts us.
Resulting therefrom, I see the erosion of the people’s trust in our country’s leaders, the erosion of faith in our judicial system, the erosion of confidence in the capacity of our public servants to make the people’s lives better, safer and healthier,” he noted.
Duterte said the nation’s leaders must “listen to the murmurings of the people, to feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us.”
“No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless you have the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead,” he added.
Duterte promised to observe due process and rule of law in fighting drugs and criminality.
“As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the President. I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising,” the President said.
He, however, vowed a relentless campaign against crime and illegal drugs.
“I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings. Years of toil and then, suddenly, they are back to where they started,” the President said.
“Look at this from that perspective and tell me that I am wrong,” Duterte added.
The President called on Congress and the Commission on Human Rights to remain consistent with their mandates.
“In this fight, I ask Congress and the Commission on Human Rights and all others who are similarly situated to allow us a level of governance that is consistent with our mandate.
The fight will be relentless and it will be sustained,” Duterte said.
“You mind your work and I will mind mine,” he added.
Duterte appealed to Filipinos to join him in the difficult crusade of bringing about genuine change.
“The ride will be rough but have the courage and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest,” he said.
Duterte pointed out that he was elected to serve the entire country and “not the interest of any one person, or any group or any one class.”
“I serve everyone and not only one…I have no friends to serve. I have no enemies to harm,” he said.
“Why am I here? I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation,” the President added.
Duterte summed up his economic policies by quoting former US President Abraham Lincoln: “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 the brotherhood by inciting class hatred among men.”
He also quoted another 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, political policies are contained in those quotations, though couched in general terms. Read between the lines. I need not go into specifics now. They shall be supplied to you in due time,” Duterte said.