MANILA, Philippines – Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte sees contractualization as wrong and ending it will be one of his top objectives when he formally assumes office on June 30.
However, existing Aquino administration economic policies that are good and working will continue under a Duterte administration. But he quickly added that he would always look for ways to improve on policies.
And to those asking about his political ideology, Duterte declared: “I am not a communist but a left-leaning socialist” sworn to uphold democracy.
In an exclusive interview with TV5 reporter Mia Reyes in Davao City last Friday, the incoming chief executive admitted many have been asking him about his economic policies and admits feeling the pressure that he was chosen by the people.
“I am quite humbled by the votes given to me and the mandate that was given by the people, kaya mas doblado na ang pressure ko (that is why the pressure has doubled),” Duterte said.
Duterte, however, made it clear that people should not expect him to have all the answers when it comes to the economy.
“I never portrayed myself as an economic genius. As a matter of fact, I am not a graduate of Wharton dahil hindi ho kaya ng mga magulang ko ‘yan (because my parents could not afford it),” he said. He expects some in the business community to nitpick his actions and policies on the economy and business sector, but he advised them to stop, “because I do not want to fight.”
But on the issue of contractualization, Duterte has firmed up his position: “I will not stand for it.”
“Contractualization must go because this is what I notice with the security agencies. You are forcing the security guards to work 24 hours a day tapos binibigay ninyo ng minimum wage (and then you give them the minimum wage),” Duterte explained, stressing “I am telling you now – stop it.”
“Stop it because I will not allow it: eight hours minimum wage and beyond that you have to pay him another eight hours minimum wage,” Duterte said, vowing “Hindi ako papayag na ganunin ninyo ang Pilipino (I will not allow you to do that to Filipinos).”
Even if some sectors argued that doing away with contractualization may increase their costs, Duterte retorted, “I will not stand for it, I will not allow it.”
But outside of contractualization, Duterte indicated he would not make any major policy shifts on the economy as he gave credit where credit is due.
“The economy is doing well under the Aquino administration. We have to admit it that it is doing well and if it is not really broken, why should I fix it?” he said.
But he added, “I will hire Cabinet members who are good and then I will give them enough time to come up with something that will equal or maybe enhance more the economic policies of the Aquino administration,” he explained.
Duterte’s choice for finance secretary, Carlos Dominguez, has outlined an eight-point economic program that continues some of the existing policies of the Aquino administration.
And to those asking if he is a communist, Duterte said, “Do not be afraid: I am not a communist.”
“I am a left-leaning socialist…(but) I will assure everybody that I will remain a democrat but at the same time I am not a product of the right,” he said. “I will build a strong army, strong police, a corrupt-free police force and I will deal with crime.”
Moreover, it will be the Ombudsman – and not Duterte – who will determine if President Aquino should be charged for any of the alleged anomalies committed during his administration.
This is also the same position Duterte has on the pending cases filed against Vice President Jejomar Binay, which he relayed to the latter when the two spoke on the telephone last week.
“I will not go around finding faults, I would rather spend my hours looking for solutions,” Duterte said, “As I have said, (I will focus on) fixing government and fixing our economy.”
“For those with cases, you will not hear anything from me. I will be busy with nation-building endeavors and so (I will) let the Ombudsman act,” Duterte said in a mixture of English and Filipino.
Meanwhile, Duterte said the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
He admits many people will not agree with him on this, with some even saying that the late dictator is not even a hero. “But definitely he was a soldier, we cannot doubt that. He was a soldier.”
Duterte also said he is ready to work with Liberal Party vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo should she emerge the winner. Although he has not yet spoken with Robredo, Duterte said her late husband, Jessie, was his close friend.
“We were together in our early years of mayorship. We were building our cities respectively, and I had high respect for the late Jessie Robredo,” he said.
Even if they come from different political parties and may differ on policies, Duterte said he is ready to work with all elected officials “because of the mandate the people (gave me) to run this country (and they) will have my full cooperation.”