‘Shoot, but don’t kill’ corrupt officials, President Duterte tells Filipinos

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent meeting in Manila. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2019

‘Shoot, but don’t kill’ corrupt officials, President Duterte tells Filipinos

  • Duterte urged the public to be assertive when doing business with government agencies

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told Filipinos that they can “shoot but not kill” public officials who demand money in exchange for their services.

Duterte urged the public to be assertive when doing business with government agencies.

“The only thing that I am asking the Filipino people is really to be assertive, period ... If you pay taxes, fees, clearances or whatever, and these fools ask for a bribe, slap them. If you have a gun, you can shoot them, but don’t kill because you might not be included among those given pardon or computation,” Duterte, a former prosecutor, said in his speech during the inauguration of the Bataan government center and business hub dubbed “The Bunker.”

“Just the foot, then it will only be serious physical injuries ... You admit it, then you go to probation. You do not go inside the prison ... You’ll just report to a probation officer,” Duterte said. “At least you got to shoot a foolish thief.”

The president vowed to defend any person who shoots a corrupt official.

“I will defend you. If the incident reaches my office, I will call for the complainant and tell him to slap (the official) three times ... I’ll ask how much did he demand from you, sir? Five thousand? Then slap that son of a b**** two more times,” Duterte said.

FASTFACT

President Rodrigo Duterte lamented that if corruption was not stopped it would become ‘a worm inside, in almost everybody in government — national and local.’

The former mayor of Davao City lamented that if corruption was not stopped it would become “a worm inside, in almost everybody in government — national and local.”

The president said that he would issue an executive order to ease the process of doing business with government offices.

“I will issue the executive order so that customers or clients of government ... you ask them what they want, they should be provided with a shopping list that they should submit. And then they are given a day to submit the papers and it should include everything.”

“There will be no changes, no modification and no reason or excuse to call back the transacting public to produce another document. It is in the art of making them go back and forth to the office that perpetuates corruption in government,” said Duterte, as he emphasized that “the delays” in the processing of documents are “the things that make up the ugly face of government.”

Meanwhile, with the inauguration of “The Bunker,” Bataan province becomes the first local government unit in the country to house provincial and national offices in a single location.

“I hope that this Bunker that we are inaugurating today will serve its purpose in helping the people of Bataan face the rapidly evolving modern complexities and challenges of everyday life,” Duterte said.

As the province had huge potential for further development, the president said that he had signed a measure expanding the territory of the Freeport Area of Bataan to create more investment and tourism opportunities.

Duterte expressed optimism that Bataan would continue to partner with other stakeholders to maximize the opportunities afforded by the new government and business center, including the delivery of quality and responsive government services in line with the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018.

Aside from being the central headquarters of Bataan, The Bunker also pays homage to the defenders of the province during the Second World War. Replicas of a Second World War tank and fighter planes will be displayed there to highlight Bataan’s wartime past.


China building a hospital to treat virus, expands lockdowns

Updated 24 min ago

China building a hospital to treat virus, expands lockdowns

  • The SARS hospital was built from scratch in 2003 in just six days to treat an outbreak of a similar respiratory virus that had spread from China
  • Hospitals in Wuhan were grappling with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies

BEIJING: China is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to patients infected with a new virus that has killed 26 people, sickened hundreds and prompted unprecedented lockdowns of cities during the country’s most important holiday.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down Friday in at least 10 cities with a total of about 33 million people. The cities are Wuhan, where the illness has been concentrated, and nine of its neighbors in central China’s Hubei province.

“To address the insufficiency of existing medical resources,” Wuhan authorities said in a Friday notice, the city is constructing a hospital modeled after the Xiaotangshan SARS hospital in Beijing. The facility will be a prefabricated structure on a 25,000- square-meter (270,000-square-foot) lot, slated for completion Feb. 3.

The SARS hospital was built from scratch in 2003 in just six days to treat an outbreak of a similar respiratory virus that had spread from China to more than a dozen countries and killed about 800 people. The hospital featured individual isolation units that looked like rows of tiny cabins.

Normally bustling streets, malls and other public spaces were eerily quiet in Wuhan on the second day of its lockdown.

Masks were mandatory in public, and images from the city showed empty shelves as people stocked up for what could be an extended isolation.

Train stations, the airport and subways were closed; police checked incoming vehicles but did not entirely close off roads.

Hospitals in Wuhan were grappling with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies. Videos circulating online showed throngs of frantic people in masks lined up for checks. Some users on Weibo said their family members had sought diagnoses but were turned away at hospitals that were at capacity.

At least eight hospitals in Wuhan issued public calls for donations of masks, googles, gowns and other protective medical gear, according to notices online.

Administrators at Wuhan University People’s Hospital set up a group chat on the popular WeChat messaging app to coordinate donations.

The “Fever Control Command Center” of the city of Huanggang also put out a call for donations publicized by the state-run People’s Daily, asking for medical supplies, medicine and disinfection equipment. The notice added that at the moment they wouldn’t accept supplies from foreign countries.

Authorities were taking precautions around the country. In the capital, Beijing, major public events were canceled indefinitely, including traditional temple fairs that are a staple of Lunar New Year celebrations. Two major tourist destinations, Beijing’s Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland, announced they will close indefinitely on Saturday.

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has risen to 830, the National Health Commission said. Twenty-six people have died, including the first two deaths outside Hubei and the youngest recorded victim.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died there after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives. Heilongjiang province in the northeast confirmed a death there but did not give details.

While the majority of deaths have been older patients, a 36-year-old man in Hubei was admitted to the hospital earlier this month after suffering from fever for three days. He died following a sudden cardiac arrest on Jan. 23.

Initial symptoms of the virus can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan, but people who visited or had personal connections to infected people were among the scattered cases counted beyond the mainland. South Korea and Japan both confirmed their second cases Friday and Singapore confirmed its third. Cases have been detected in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United States, Thailand and Vietnam.

Many countries are screening travelers from China and isolating anyone with symptoms.

The World Health Organization decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency for now. The declaration can increase resources to fight a threat but its potential to cause economic damage makes the decision politically fraught.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as SARS and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

The Wuhan outbreak is suspected to have begun from wild animals sold at a food market in the city. The market is closed for investigation.

Across China, a slew of cancelations and closures dampened the usual liveliness of Lunar New Year.

One Beijing subway station near a transport hub conducted temperature checks at its security checkpoint Friday. Some security personnel were clad in full-body hazardous material suits.

Schools prolonged their winter break and were ordered by the Ministry of Education to not hold any mass gatherings or exams. Transport departments will also be waiving fees and providing refunds for ticket cancelations.