It was another busy week for President Rodrigo Duterte. With several schedules and issues upon his shoulders, the Chief Executive had made it through the Philippines’ news headlines. Here’s a recap:
Last Tuesday, smuggled luxury cars were destroyed in three key port areas in the country. With a total combined amount of $1.2 million or P61.6 million, the president led the said event that is aimed to knockdown corrupt extravagant vehicle importers. Using a bulldozer, 20 luxury cars were destroyed in the port of Manila while 10 others were also crushed in Davao City and Cebu City. Duterte said that some importers let these vehicles to be seized and buy it later in cheaper price and tax exempted during auction. Destroying these luxury cars is the only solution to put an end to the problem.
In relation with the termination of some government appointees due to unnecessary travels abroad, President Duterte issued a memorandum setting restrictions on foreign travels among government officials especially those on the executive branch. One of these rules is to fly economy during official trips, citing himself as an example, who flies economy to and from his hometown Davao City. Should they choose to upgrade in business class, they should shoulder the additional costs. He believes that although these are official trips, they should take the cheapest flights since they are using not their own, but the people’s money. This is also one way of gaining people’s trust in the current administration.
Meanwhile, Duterte met with 215 surrendered ex-NPA in Malacanang after their guided tour in Manila last Wednesday. All of the surrendered rebels will undergo the program ‘Happy Home,’ an integration process to make them live normally back with their respective families. Upon surrendering, there will be 10-day political deradicalization, a psycho-social counseling, training from TESDA and livelihood assistance program.
On a similar note, the president remains fearless in the statement made by Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison, saying that the NPA is capable of launching attacks that can kill one soldier a day. In which the president boldly declares that the military can kill five NPA rebels for every soldier killed. It can also be remembered that he labeled CPP-NPA as a terror group.
Also in that same event, the chief executive admitted that he is a dictator, adding he had to be one to put the country in order.
Meanwhile, in his bid to wipe out corruption, President Duterte is pushing for the Swiss challenge, a procedure in which counter-offers from unsolicited proposals will be welcome before awarding infrastructure projects. He raised the said statement believing that the lowest-bid rule in government procurement is one of the causes of corruption.
In other news, the chief executive expressed his grief and was enraged with the death of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Joanna Daniela Demafelis. Based in Kuwait, Demafelis is allegedly tortured to death and was found inside a freezer. The suspects are the former tenants of the flat where her remains were found, a Labanese man who is also wanted for other cases and his Syrian wife. Because of the latest fatality, Duterte said he is ready to take drastic measures to prevent another cruel death among OFWs in the Middle East. He also encourage those OFWs in Kuwait who want to leave to come home and they will be provided free transportation. Duterte believes that he will be a useless president if he cannot do anything to prevent such abuses among OFWs.