Duterte: No term extension, no Sara in 2022

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
Duterte: No term extension, no Sara in 2022
The 75-year-old leader has also discouraged his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, from joining the presidential derby next year because the top government post is not fit for women like her.
Karl Norman Alonzo / Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Even if handed to him on a silver platter, President Duterte reiterated lack of interest in extending his six-year term that will end in June next year and said he would also discourage his daughter from pursuing the presidency.

He slammed critics who claimed he is working to stay in power as congressmen and senators try to amend some provisions of the Constitution.

“They thought that is what I am asking (from) Congress, they thought it is term extension. My God, even if you give it in a silver platter… even if you give it to me free for another 10 years, I will tell you, ‘P*****i*** sa inyo na yan (You can have it). I’m done’,” he said in Filipino and English in yesterday’s launching of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project.

Duterte explained that he only wanted Congress to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to speed up progress and development of the country. He said he needed to do things pronto because he has little time left.

The 75-year-old leader has also discouraged his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, from joining the presidential derby next year because the top government post is not fit for women like her.

The presidency, he claimed, is not fit for a woman and would just demean her person.

“And my daughter, they are prodding her to run. I told them: ‘My daughter is not running’. I have told Inday not to run (because I have walked down that road). It’s not for a woman. The emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different. Maging gago ka dito (It will make you crazy). That is the sad story. But there are people who are insisting,” Duterte said partly in Filipino.

After talking about his distaste of corrupt government officials and judges who reportedly derail government projects by issuing temporary restraining orders, Duterte expressed expectations about his successor. “I hope the next president would be as forceful and resolute to confront this almost evil practice of people going around the country, looking for bidding, and they will divide the (kickbacks),” he said.

Duterte, who graced the opening of the Skyway Stage 3 project that would lessen travel time around Metro Manila, thanked businessmen Ramon Ang and Manuel Pangilinan for spearheading such development projects in the country.

“Then, I would like to especially greet Mr. Ramon Ang and, of course… Mr. Pangilinan, for all of these grand infrastructures without compare… and they gave us a very magnificent Skyway,” he said.

He also thanked “the Cabinet members, (Finance Secretary) Sonny Dominguez and the rest, who looked for the money,” as well as the private contractors.

He lamented that the country’s developments were delayed because funds were squandered by corrupt individuals in the past as he recalled that his marching order when he assumed office was to make the Filipinos’ lives comfortable.

He warned that he will dedicate his remaining months in office to eradicating corruption in government as he recognized the efforts of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar for initiating a revamp in his department to rid the agency of corrupt individuals.

Gaining ground

Meanwhile, the bid to amend the restrictive provisions of the 1987 Constitution has gained ground after economists expressed support to the proposal that was also approved by at least 500,000 citizens.

In a hearing of the House committee on constitutional amendments, two former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chiefs and another University of the Philippines economics professor supported the passage of the measure that they said will help accelerate the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

Former NEDA chiefs Ernesto Pernia and Gerardo Sicat and UP economics professor Raul Fabella agreed that the proposed amendment of the Constitution’s economic provisions will be beneficial and timely given the need to speed up the recovery of the country’s pandemic-hit economy.

“As you can see, although the economy has really been clobbered by the pandemic, the economy is recovering slowly – it is getting out of the hole little by little – and we need to accelerate that getting out of the hole. We really need to push that, including allowing FDI (foreign direct investments) in the country, so this recovery will accelerate,” Pernia told the panel.

He lamented how the Philippine economy has slowly been overtaken by other ASEAN economies, saying opening up the economy to more FDIs will address this.

“We really cannot be competitive with our ASEAN neighbors, much less in the global economy, if we do not open the economy; that is why easing or lifting the provisions on foreign participation in the Constitution is critical,” Pernia stressed.

Sicat, also a former NEDA chief and founder of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), branded the current economic provisions of the Constitution as “the original sin” responsible for making it “really difficult for our country to progress in the attraction of (FDI).”

Fabella, a Yale University graduate and the only Filipino economist recognized as a National Scientist, explained “that the lifting of the constitutional limit on foreign ownership will make the Philippines more foreign investment-friendly.”

He supported the lifting of restrictions on the foreign ownership of land and argued that land should be owned by whoever can make it more productive, regardless of citizenship.

“My belief is that who can make the land flower best should own it; the land should be able to produce as much as it can… and citizenship is not a condition for who makes flower the best,” Fabella explained.

In the same hearing, the panel also received over 500,000 signatures gathered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in support of the “surgical amendments” to the Charter, including relaxing economic provisions.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya explained that a total of 555,610 signatures were gathered during roadshows conducted prior to the lockdowns imposed in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimate the country’s population at 109.947 million as of 2020.

“If not for the pandemic, I think we would have reached more than a million signatures because the pandemic started in March. Our last roadshow was in February,” Malaya told the panel.

The proposed amendments cover changes to several articles of the Philippine Constitution – Article II on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies; Article XIV on Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports; and Article XVI on General Provisions.

Malaya said the proposed changes are backed by 23 local government units and 1,489 members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines who support “surgical amendments to the Constitution including the lifting of the restrictive economic provisions.”

House panel chairman Alfredo Garbin Jr. again gave assurance that the amendments would strictly be confined to economic provisions.

“Proposals to amend political provisions may be raised in the plenary. But we hold the word of the Speaker that this will not be supported. Since he has support of supermajority, those proposals will be taken down immediately,” he stressed in the episode of The Chiefs on One News last Wednesday night.

Garbin appealed to the public to trust Congress, saying doubts have prevented attempts to correct the economic provisions in the Charter since 18 years ago.

Leaders of political parties and power blocs in the House have already expressed support to the proposed amendments in the Charter being pushed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

In caucus last Tuesday afternoon, leaders and representatives of PDP-Laban, Nacionalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Lakas-NUCD, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Liberal Party, and Party-list Coalition Foundation crossed party lines and came up with a “consensus” for the Resolution of Both Houses 2 by signing a manifesto of support for the proposed amendments.

“We believe that now is the most opportune time to resume the deliberation on the amendments to the economic provisions specified under RBH No. 2 for the primary purpose of mitigating and providing lasting solutions to the devastating economic effects brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” read the manifesto released yesterday.

The leaders said they “remain firm in our resolve to utilize all means possible within the period left for the 18th Congress to adopt measures and introduce reforms that will provide the maximum benefit to the Filipino people and lead the country towards a robust and sustainable recovery.”

However, the opposition bloc and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan vowed to oppose the move. – Edu Punay, Cecille SuerteFelipe, Elizabeth Marcelo



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