Rody vows to investigate, suspend corrupt local officials

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday threatened to suspend and investigate local officials who allow corruption to thrive in their areas and to dismiss government personnel with doubtful integrity.

Duterte said he would not hesitate to dismiss officials who are making the public suffer. 

“I will suspend any local government official and especially those appointed by me. There are a lot of them,” the President said in a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 

“If I see you making the public suffer or you allow corruption to thrive in your locality, then as mayor or governor, I will order the new secretary of the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), the chief of staff, General (Eduardo) Año, to investigate you… I’ll give you about three days to explain,” he said. 

Duterte said he has fired a lot of officials but did not reveal their names to the public.

“You know, give me a reason to doubt about your integrity and honesty and I will fire you. I’m doing it because I have to improve the situation of my country,” the President said. 

Duterte reiterated his directive for agencies to fasttrack the processing of business permits and other official documents. 

“Sometimes, the approval takes six months. They are just waiting for grease money… My Cabinet members are here. They are only given one month,” he said.

“Why can’t a new business venture go ahead with the least worry of the routine business permit?” he added.

To minimize corruption risks, Duterte wants the government to process documents like passports and clearances. He also wants students to be taught how to use computers for learning so the government can save on textbook costs. 

“I will save enough money for this. It’s (going to) be billions but I will save for something that is beneficial to our children,” Duterte said. 

Duterte noted that improving the ease of business and maintaining peace would help promote economic growth. He cited the case of Vietnam, which managed to promote orderliness and discipline despite the war it experienced.  

“At the rate they are improving, they will catch up with us in due time. What would pull us down? It is (the weakness of) law and order and drugs and the rebellions,” Duterte said.

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