News Release

President Duterte tells political allies, opponents: “Don’t oppress the people”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte raises the hands of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) senatorial candidates at a campaign rally at the Caraga State University in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte on April 21, 2019. JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

AGUSAN DEL NORTE —President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, April 21, appealed to his political allies and opponents not to oppress the people, instead help them move out of poverty.

“We may be in the same political party or not, do not oppress the people,” the President said in vernacular during the campaign rally of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) here.

According to the President, Filipinos are poor and dependent on their government. People ask for assistance from local officials like barangay captains and mayors.

He explained that this dependency could be blamed on the existing feudal system in the country because under feudalism, the government is seen as “a miracle from heaven,” which makes the government susceptible to corruption.

Politicians elected to public office often pocket large amount of government money intended for state projects.

Kickbacks and commissions typically go as high as 30 percent for every project handled by elected officials.

“The politicians divide money this way. Thirty percent of the budget allocated for a certain project will go straight to the pockets of the congressman. How will he be able to buy good quality cement and busses? How will he be able to pay for workers’ wages? That is why he can only afford to hire five people to work on road projects for the whole year. That road project has been going on for five years. There’s no more money left because of corruption. That’s the truth. Ask anyone…ask a contractor. That’s really how it is. And that is why we are still in a feudal system, ” he said.

“People are in poverty. Almost everything they need in life…eskuwelahan, national high school…will all go to the elected congressman, governor, and mayor. It does not come naturally because the money is always divided by politicians,” he added.

He then reaffirmed that in his administration, no government deals and transactions reach his desk, stressing that cabinet secretaries handle such big items.

In his remarks, President Duterte also said that he tried to allocate money equally to local officials, regardless whether they are political allies or foes, stating that this was his mandate then to former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. ###PND