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Count On Me For Help, Duterte Tells Mayors
WIDE BERTH – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte spreads his arms as he delivers his address during the First League of Municipalities General Assembly at the Manila Hotel Tuesday night. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)
March 16th, 2017 | 09:08 AM | 513 views
Having been a city mayor for 23 years and mindful of the political realities on the ground, President Duterte vowed to help the country’s mayors with their infrastructure projects and other problems regardless of political affiliations.
Addressing delegates of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) at the Manila Hotel Tuesday, the President assured his brand of public service is devoid of political color as he appealed anew to the local chief executives to make the campaign against drugs and criminality a personal commitment.
“If you want ‘yung tulong, may problema ka, importante ‘yung bridge, ganoon, maybe you can talk to me and try to find out if I can help you,” the President told the mayors.
“I’m open. Wala akong pulitika (There’s no political color). I do not have to please you or please your political enemy,” he added.
Duterte said he is aware that mayors who belong to rival parties are hesitant to approach him but assured them he was already “beyond” politicking.
“Huwag kayong magdadalawang-isip… I’m beyond that kasi gusto kong – para hindi kayo mahiya mag-ano sa akin kasi may distansya eh, alam ko man kasi sa yellow kayo,” he said.
“So punta ka sa akin. Wala akong kulay, except public service so I guarantee you that,” he added.
The President, meantime, appealed anew to the mayors to get rid of illegal drugs and criminality in their areas of jurisdiction.
He told the local executives to mobilize the police force to clean their backyards and keep their communities safe.
“This is my important message to you: Huwag lang sana po na you will have a runaway problem with law and order, because may supervisory powers kayo sa pulis and I will grant it to you,” he said.
“Just give me this commitment: Droga, pati ‘yang criminality, you have to personally do it,” he added.
The President sought the cooperation of the mayors after showing the thick list of government officials implicated in illegal drugs. The narcolist included municipal mayors, 6,000 policemen and 40 percent of the country’s barangay captains, he said.
But as he offered his unwavering support, Duterte also warned mayors linked to illegal drugs to stop or else face death.
“Huwag na huwag kayong pumasok diyan. Talagang papatayin ko kayo. It’s either banggaan kita ng 10×10 na truck o pak,” he said making a finger gun gesture.
“Tulungan ninyo ako kasi Pilipino itong nakataya dito eh. Huwag mo nang problemahin ‘yang mga smuggling, smuggling,” he added.
NOTICE TO COA
Still in defense of the mayors, the President cautioned the Commission on Audit (COA) against meddling and putting “malice” in the programs initiated by mayors that benefit their constituents.
Unlike COA auditors, the President explained that mayors have the mandate given by voters to choose and implement programs beneficial to the people.
“Do not do the program for us. You were not elected by the people,” Duterte said.
“We should be the one choosing what programs of government that would be beneficial to the people. Do not do it for us… Kasi mas marunong pa kayo,‘di kayo na lang ang mag-mayor,” he added.
Duterte made the remarks after recalling an instance where COA questioned his mass wedding project for poor couples when he was still mayor of Davao City.
He said COA issued a notice of disallowance on the funding of “Kasalan ng Bayan” which he initiated since 1988.
“Akalain mo ba ang COA in my last 23 years doon pa nalabas na dinisallow. Eh ‘di bilyon ang utang ko sa gobyerno,” Duterte said.
The mass wedding, he said, was aimed at helping couples who have children born out of wedlock.
He told the audit agency that it is their job to ensure the public funds go to the intended beneficiaries.
“Do not put malice there kasi hindi naman lahat ganon,” he said. “Basta ang trabaho ninyo, umabot ba sa kamay ng mga tao or the thing that you give to the community, was it really worth the while of the pockets of the citizens,” he said.
He also made a pitch for amendments to procurement laws where the government must go for quality instead of the lowest bid.
He described as “stupid” the lowest bid rule which has become a “source of corruption” in government.
“Itong stupid rule ng lowest bid. Gusto kong tanggalin ‘yan eh. I have to talk to the congressman,” he added.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Genalyn D. Kabiling
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