Evangelist Quiboloy backs Duterte
(The Philippine Star) - February 7, 2016 - 9:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The evangelist of a six-million-strong restorationist church yesterday declared support for presidential aspirant Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, just two days before the start of the 90-day campaign period for national posts.

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Name is a long-time friend of Duterte.

“As I have promised, I am supporting his presidential bid and I am saying it even this early,” said Quiboloy, who just arrived from a five-month evangelical and prayer tour in the United States and Canada.

“It is like this – Duterte for president. But for vice president, I am leaving it open,” he added.

Duterte was the guest in Quiboloy’s thanksgiving worship prayer held at the Ynares Gym in Antipolo, Rizal yesterday.

Quiboloy said he is supporting Duterte regardless of his ranking in the surveys.

“My choice for president does not depend on surveys. It has something to do with competence and I believe that the mayor is really competent for the position,” he explained.

Duterte said quality education would be the priority of his administration should he be elected president because education is “the key to national growth.” For this reason, he explained, the government should allocate more funds to education along with other concerns like health and security.

He noted that in the past three decades, education in the country has been marred by perennial problems such as lack of infrastructure, teachers, school facilities and textbooks, all caused by insufficient budget.

To generate more money to be allocated to education, Duterte said the country needs investments.

“We have to attract investments for us to improve our ability (in raising money) from taxation. For all the things that we suffer, the answer is money. We have to open the countryside for the investors, with the guarantee that the security odds would be in their favor,” he explained.

Duterte also nixed the idea of lowering taxes on business establishments and corporations, but he said he is open to “possible tax adjustments.”

As for workers, Duterte said he is determined to exempt individuals earning P20,000 and below from paying income taxes because poor families are already “having difficulty of putting food on table let alone sending their children to school.”

Duterte favors land lease to foreigners

Duterte, however, was lambasted for favoring 40-year lease of farmlands to foreigners.

“Last Wednesday afternoon, in front of peasant leaders and advocates in a forum titled Peasant Challenge 2016 and Beyond at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, Duterte expressed openness to genuine land reform and criticized the total failure of the government sham agrarian reform program,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said in a statement.

But just 12 hours later, Duterte told a group of businessmen that “he would allow foreigners to lease lands renewable for 40 years or equivalent to a lifetime under a 70-30 ownership arrangement in favor of foreigners,” which is contrary to the social justice of land reform, KMP added.

KMP chairperson Rafael Mariano said farmers are dismayed with Duterte’s “quick turnaround,” warning that leasing lands to foreigners renewable for 40 years would be worse than the current law allowing foreigners to lease lands for 50 years renewable for another 25 years.

“In less than 12 hours in the presence of big businessmen, Duterte retracted what he himself said in front of peasant leaders and advocates. That was quick,” Mariano said. – With Ding Cervantes

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