MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday lamented how the Philippines would take longer to reach the economic progress achieved by its neighboring countries due to massive corruption within government.
If we cannot stop graft and corruption and cannot maintain law and order in this country, Philippines should never reach the level of economic progress enjoyed by Malaysia and Indonesia on the present level, Duterte said in his speech during the 49th Charter Day celebration at Mandaue City, Cebu.
It would take us about 10 years or 15 years to catch up, maybe more than. 'Yan ang problema sa Pilipino (That's the problem with Filipinos). But do not also try to crucify the country. I don't like it, he added.
Duterte made this remark after criticizing sacked officials of government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) and high-ranking officials and employees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Health Service Command (AFP-HSC) anew over alleged corruption.
On August 7, the President fired the entire board of NPF for leasing its property for a USD1.5-billion casino resort in ParaAaque City despite his moratorium on casinos.
Duterte was not only against the construction of new casinos, he also believed that the contract was flawed.
You grant a franchise for 75 years? You must be crazy, Duterte said.
I was so pissed off that I was trying to fix Nayong Pilipino's anomaly. And here comes a report that afternoon, he added.
A week later, Duterte fired at least 20 high-ranking officials and employees of the AFP-HSC over alleged corruption at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City involving the anomalous purchases of equipment and fraudulent transaction, such as ghost purchases, splitting of contracts to circumvent the mandatory bidding processes, and conceiving fictitious suppliers.
Duterte found it difficult to comprehend how military officials would be bold enough to be involved in corrupt practices.
I cannot understand how an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines would have the gall to order medicines that are not delivered but are paid for, Duterte said.
The President has repeatedly said that he will not think twice about firing government officials, including his friends, involved in even a whiff of corruption. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency