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Duterte to lease Philippine islands if elected

“If we can lease our land for military bases, why not lease an island… to create our own version of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore? The jobs will come here. Going abroad must be a choice, not a necessity,” Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - If elected president, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he would allow multinational companies to lease some of the country’s islands.

In a recent interview with dzRJ, Duterte said business islands should be established to entice multinational companies to invest here. 

“If we can lease our land for military bases, why not lease an island… to create our own version of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore? The jobs will come here. Going abroad must be a choice, not a necessity,” he said.

“We have over 7,000 islands. Let’s lease one island or islands to them and let them create their own police force, rules, ports, roads, power plants, steel mills, petro chemical plants, their own offices and telecoms and wireless Internet connections, subject to their own rules,” he added. 

He said multinational companies are looking for another base in Asia.

Duterte said it is the country’s “chance to catch the wave” as the cost of labor in China is increasing. He said China is also creating enemies with its territorial expansion activities, citing Japan’s decision to bring their investments out of China.

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“Multinationals have gone to Vietnam. War-torn until recently, Vietnam has overtaken us and is launching two integrated steel mills in 2016 and 2017 with an output of four million tons,” he said.

He said creating business islands patterned after Singapore and Hong Kong would be the best solution to the unemployment rate in the country.

Duterte, however, clarified that the government would still have jurisdiction over the islands to preserve the country’s territorial integrity.

He said these foreign investors should also ensure the hiring of Filipino workers, pay a minimum rent or five percent of their gross output and protect the environment.  

He said multinationals should also agree that the ownership of their factories and infrastructure would revert to the Philippines after 50 years.

“From the 51st year to the 99th year, they will pay rental for those buildings and infrastructure from the Philippines, thereby creating the country’s income,” he said.

Duterte said there is no need for the Philippines to acquire foreign loans since the multinationals would become the financier of the country’s development.   

He said that he would invite United Nations officials to witness the agreement on the lease of the islands to ensure the continuity of the project.

Duterte said he would also scrap contractualization and impose a 60-day deadline in the processing of business applications nationwide.

Death by hanging

Duterte said he would also push for the re-imposition of the death penalty by hanging if he is elected president.

He said he wants to stop crime and corruption three to six months after his election.

“If I become president, I will exercise extra-judicial powers to stop crime and corruption in three to six months,” he added. 

“I do not care what others think as long as I am clear with my agenda for the greater good of a greater number of people,” he said. 

Duterte is unfazed by recent surveys, which show him only in fourth place.

“Forget about me, I will not die if I do not become president. I am in my sunset days, think of me in the last days of the campaign. If you love me, then I will love you,” he said.

Youth offenders

Meanwhile, Duterte sought the repeal of Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, saying it creates a  new breed of criminals.

Duterte said RA 9344, authored by former senator Francis Pangilinan, allows minors impunity to commit crimes since it requires law enforcement agencies to turn over juvenile offenders to social welfare agencies for rehabilitation.

The law exempts those aged 15 and below from any criminal liability, while 16- to 18-year-olds are made to undergo an examination by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Only those found to have committed the crime with discernment will be subjected to regular judicial proceedings. 

Duterte said curfew for minors should also be made mandatory in order to prevent them from getting into vices, such as drugs and illegal gambling. – With Edith Regalado

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