‘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.


‘Political reconciliation’ with Pakistan top priority: Afghan envoy Daudzai

Updated 09 July 2020

‘Political reconciliation’ with Pakistan top priority: Afghan envoy Daudzai

  • Pakistan played positive role in US-Taliban peace talks, says diplomat

PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s newly appointed special envoy for Pakistan has had put “mending political relations” between the two estranged nations as one of his top priorities.

Mohammed Umer Daudzai, on Tuesday said that his primary focus would be to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan and maintain strong ties with Pakistan, especially after Islamabad’s key role in the Afghan peace process earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview, the diplomat told Arab News: “Two areas have been identified to focus on with renewed vigor, such as lasting peace in Afghanistan and cementing Pak-Afghan bilateral ties in economic, social, political and other areas.”

In order to achieve these aims, he said, efforts would be intensified “to mend political relations” between the neighboring countries.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a 2,600-kilometer porous border and have been at odds for years. Bonds between them have been particularly strained due to a deep mistrust and allegations of cross-border infiltration by militants.

Kabul has blamed Islamabad for harboring Taliban leaders after they were ousted from power in 2001. But Pakistan has denied the allegations and, instead, accused Kabul of providing refuge to anti-Pakistan militants – a claim rejected by Afghanistan.

Daudzai said his immediate priority would be to focus on “political reconciliation” between the two countries, especially in the backdrop of a historic peace agreement signed in February this year when Pakistan played a crucial role in facilitating a troop withdrawal deal between the US and the Taliban to end the decades-old Afghan conflict. “Afghanistan needs political reconciliation which the Afghan government has already been working on to achieve bottom-up harmony,” he added.

Daudzai’s appointment Monday by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took place days after Islamabad chose Mohammed Sadiq as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special representative for Afghanistan.

Reiterating the need to maintain strong bilateral ties with all of its neighbors, Daudzai said Pakistan’s role was of paramount importance to Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has a positive role in the US-Taliban peace talks, and now Islamabad could play a highly significant role in the imminent intra-Afghan talks. I will explore all options for a level-playing field for the success of all these initiatives,” he said, referring in part to crucial peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban which were delayed due to a stalemate in a prisoner exchange program – a key condition of the Feb. 29 peace deal.

Under the agreement, up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and around 1,000 government prisoners were to be freed by March 10. So far, Afghanistan has released 3,000 prisoners, while the Taliban have freed 500. Daudzai said that while dates had yet to be finalized, the intra-Afghan dialogue could begin “within weeks.”

He added: “A date for intra-Afghan talks hasn’t been identified yet because there is a stalemate on prisoners’ release. But I am sure they (the talks) will be kicked off within weeks.”

Experts say Daudzai’s appointment could give “fresh momentum” to the stalled process and revitalize ties between the two estranged neighbors.

“Mohammed Sadiq’s appointment...could lead Kabul-Islamabad to a close liaison and better coordination,” Irfanullah Khan, an MPhil scholar and expert on Afghan affairs, told Arab News.

Daudzai said that he would be visiting Islamabad to kickstart the process as soon as the coronavirus disease-related travel restrictions were eased.

Prior to being appointed as the special envoy, he had served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan from April 2011 to August 2013.

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