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Duterte vows to fulfill promises until ‘dying day’

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte vows to fulfill promises until âdying dayâ
“I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. If I say it in public, I will fulfill that until my dying day. Even if I have to rot, I will do it as long as I can fulfill it,” Duterte said during the distribution of land ownership certificates in Negros Occidental on Friday.
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MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has vowed to fulfill his promises until his “dying day,” months before a midterm election widely seen as a referendum on his administration.

Duterte, whose bold pronouncements on drugs and corruption helped him seize a landslide victory in 2016, said he would be embarrassed if he fails to make good on his promises.

“I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. If I say it in public, I will fulfill that until my dying day. Even if I have to rot, I will do it as long as I can fulfill it,” Duterte said during the distribution of land ownership certificates in Negros Occidental on Friday.

“That is my message to you. Believe it because even though it sounds arrogant, that message came from the President of the Philippines. I will never allow my promises to fail because I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of Filipinos,” he added.

Duterte has been on legacy mode in his recent public engagements, enumerating the accomplishments of his administration and promising to sustain his reforms in his last three years in office.

Last month, he claimed to have delivered on all his promises except easing the traffic woes in Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare.

Calling himself “a worker of government,” Duterte cited anew his administration’s gains. He mentioned the laws on free education and universal health care and the additional funding for the cash transfer program.

The President also cited his dismissal of some Cabinet members as part of his anti-corruption campaign and his intensified crackdown on illegal drugs. He had vowed to end the drug scourge within the first six months of his term but later admitted that it was not doable because several officials are involved in narcotics trade.

The Chief Executive also promised to continue the land reform program to persuade communist rebels to abandon the armed struggle.

“For my remaining three  years, I will give away all government-owned lands to the people. They are of no use to the government, anyway. The mountains are very vast. Except for the military reservation. Their area is very large,” Duterte said.

“But there’s nothing like that in the mountains. So, I instructed (Agrarian Reform Secretary John) Castriciones to give the lands away to the people because that is one of our most pressing problems,” he added.

The President also promised to fast-track the distribution of fertilizers and joked that they should be used to “bury” members of the communist armed group New People’s Army.

“Bury the NPAs in those fertilizers. I will give you 2,000 plus. I will give you cellphones. My phone number is there so you can call... Get it from the police here. This is my police. Where is yours? Let’s see who is more beautiful,” Duterte said.

“I will give you this. The price is also included here already. Massage, body, one half, massage all the way... I’m just joking to make you laugh. That is our agreement, okay? If you don’t follow it, I will get back at you and shoot you with an armalite. I will be the one to fire the first shot,” he added.

Aside from fighting corruption and illegal drugs, Duterte has also promised to pursue peace talks with communist and Muslim rebels and to push for a federal form of government. – With Louise Maureen Simeon

PROMISE RODRIGO DUTERTE
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