15 March 2017

Duterte asks mayors’ cooperation in addressing major challenges
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, March 14 asked the assistance of the country’s local executives to address the pressing concerns that his government is facing.

Speaking before the municipal mayors during the 1st General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) held at the Manila Hotel, the President mentioned the challenges that his administration is confronting like illegal, drugs, criminality, corruption and Islamic extremism.

“So ‘yan lang ang mensahe ko sa inyo. Tulungan ninyo ako kasi Pilipino itong nakataya dito eh,” he told municipal mayors. 

The President said he is always open to everybody and his leadership does not see any political color. Anybody, regardless of political affiliation, could ask help from him, he said.

“So kung ako, I’m open. Wala akong pulitika. I do not have to please you or please your political enemy,” he said. “So 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,” he added.

At the same time, President Duterte advised the mayors to use their police force in addressing the problems in their jurisdictions. 

To keep their municipalities safe, the President said local governments have to invest and mayors must personally oversee operations against illegal drugs and criminality, he said.

And like in Davao City, he encouraged local executives to install CCTV cameras in their areas to enhance security and fight crime.

With regard to fighting corruption, the President said he wants to do away with the practice of having the lowest bidder get government contracts. He said he would prefer quality over lowest bid.

“Ito pang isa, magtulungan tayo itong, itong stupid role ng lowest bid. Gusto kong tanggalin ‘yan eh. I have to talk to the congressman,” the President said. “Alam mo ‘yang lowest bid, it is the source of corruption sa gobyerno. Maniwala kayo,” he explained.

As to peace initiatives, he said his government has been talking to the communists through back chanelling to restart the talks, adding he has certain conditions that he wants to be met.

There must be a ceasefire that is reduced in writing with clear parameters that shows what to do in case the talks break down.

There is also the Mindanao problem which is the separatism, which the President said is a form of Moro nationalism. But unless the structure of government is corrected peace in Mindanao will never be achieved, according to the President.

“I believe, in my heart, na ‘pag hindi natin kinorek ‘yang istraktura ngayon sa ating bayan and if we cannot give justice to the Moro people, I think, there will never be peace again,” he said.###PND