A day right after his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met personally with all local chief executives (LCEs) of the country and emphasized his directive for them to intensify the war against illegal drugs, corruption, and Communist terrorism.
Seventy-four governors and 1,538 city and municipal mayors heard it straight from the President in a meeting organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Manila on Tuesday.
“I task each of you to protect your constituents and safety of the community by avoiding involvement in illegal drugs. I will not allow any community to be swallowed by drugs. Anong laban ng mga ordinaryong mga tao kung mismong mga mayor at gobernador ang naglalaro (involved in drugs)?” he said to the LCEs.
He reminded the local government officials to resist corruption as it destroys the society’s ‘moral fiber.’ “Let us clean the government. Workers of government we are, so we do it right.”
He reiterated his directive to DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año to file administrative cases against LCEs who do not comply with the processing time prescribed under the Ease of Doing Business Act.
“Irelease na agad ang clearance or permit. ‘Wag pabalik-balikin. I am directing Secretary Año to file an administrative case or recommend his/her suspension. I will affirm it,” the President said.
Meanwhile, he prodded the LCEs to help the government fight communist terrorism in their areas of jurisdictions. “Do not support the NPA (New People’s Army). Do not give money to the NPA or any of their front organizations. Kung gusto mo tawagan mo ako, ako ang pupunta doon sa kanila,” he said.
Duterte said that he is raising the bounty for the capture of the terrorists behind the brutal murder of four police officers in Ayungon, Negros Oriental last Thursday by members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The slain cops, Cpl. Relebert Beronio, Pat. Raffy Callo, Pat. Roel Cabellon and Pat. Marquino de Leon, were intelligence personnel from the 704th Mobile Force Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Central Visayas.
“Today I’m offering P2-million for the capture of culprits behind the Negros incident. You (rebels) do not torture a person na ‘di makalaban,” he said.
He also warned against violent extremism. “Talagang madugo ito. I will order the Armed Forces to invade Basilan, Tawi Tawi, Sulu, if needed.”
The President also assured all local officials that his aim is to develop the whole of the country. “I will be fair in budget allocation. Basta ako fair lang. It’s not my money. It’s people’s money. I want you to be my friends. I will not ask anything from you. Politically, I will not be your enemy. I can no longer run. Let us all be friends. I assure you have this administration beside you as you pursue meaningful and dignified lives for your constituents.”
Año prods LGUs to do their duties
In the same occasion, Año addressed the LCEs and prodded them to comply with the President’s directives for the good of the nation.
“Sa SONA ng ating Pangulo, narinig na natin ang utos niya sa ating mga local government units (LGUs) na dapat ay tatlong araw lamang ang pagpoproseso ng permits. Let us all help fulfill the President’s promise to cut down red tape, regain investors’ trust, and foster a competitive business environment,” he said.
“Our government is steadfast in protecting our communities. The threat of terrorism constantly lurks in the shadows. And now, they have become bolder, more aggressive, and fearless. We know what happened in Marawi. Do not let this happen in your own communities,” he added.
The DILG Chief said that the administration is already in full swing in defeating the Communist insurgency. “The National Task Force (NTF) to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency (ELCAC) is laying the foundation for this fight. The hard approach is being administered by the military, police and other law enforcements. And as you support them in their operations, I urge you to take the lead in the soft approach through the conduct of localized peace talks, and the implementation of Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). We have been conducting a series of provincial action planning workshops, so as heads of your own local task forces, I urge you to be on top of the process— from planning to implementation.”
To combat illegal drugs, criminality and corruption, Año reminded that there are mechanisms already in place, particularly Emergency 911 and Hotline 8888. “At bilang pinuno ng inyong mga lokalidad, siguraduhin niyong agad na maaaksyunan ang mga reklamong natatanggap sa mga platapormang ito.”
“Bilang ‘little presidents’ ng inyong nasasakupan ay mayroon ding katumbas na responsibilidad. Use your influence to persuade your sangguniang panlalawigan, panlunsod at pambayan to enact ordinances to localize national laws that address pressing concerns. And, as mandated by the Local Government Code, use your authority to ensure that these ordinances are implemented. Lastly, use your leadership to encourage your constituents to support your quest for change and good governance,” he said.