DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday said he wants to preserve the administration’s achievements in the fight against illegal drugs and promised to carry out measures to curb corruption in government in the remaining years of his term.
In an interview with Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy in the television program “Give Us This Day,” President Duterte reported the significant drop in drug shipments in the country as a result of the government’s relentless campaign against illegal narcotics.
The crime rate in the country is also in the downtrend, thanks to the government’s effort to fight the proliferation of illegal substance.
“I have to preserve the accomplishments. The drug situation is quite low and therefore the crime rate, the index crimes, medyo bumaba rin,” President Duterte said during the interview held in Davao City.
With regards to drug shipments seized by the authorities, President Duterte reiterated that he intends to eradicate or keep the volume of prohibited drugs at a low rate as it has been “swallowing the country.”
“I think I made my mark very clear. There are less drugs on the streets. So this still comes in numbers on both sides from the east and western side, the eastern is the Pacific and the western is the ones facing [the] South China Sea,” he told Pastor Quiboloy.
The President stressed he remains true to his promise to return the streets, alleys, and parks to the people and not worry about being victimized by criminals and gang members.
Also during the interview, President Duterte renewed his commitment to sack government officials involved in graft and corruption.
“Corruption, I am really…alam nila ‘yan sa gobyerno. Everybody knows now that magkamali ka…basta corruption, wala ako…I have a zero tolerance for people,” he said.
He told Pastor Quiboloy that he could hardly fill 4,000 government positions that until now remain vacant because of the tedious process to find the right individuals to fill those positions.
Last week, President Duterte announced that he would fire 64 Customs employees who are involved in corruption and abuses. The Chief Executive has been vocal about his disappointment in the bureaucracy, particularly about reports on deep-rooted corruption and red tape.
The President also confirmed a few weeks ago the dismissal of the president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) due to corruption.
Peace talks with rebels
The President also discussed domestic security issues Wednesday, renewing his call on communist insurgents to restart peace negotiations with the government.
“Yung mga ideologues, well, because the matter of principle…Communist Party of the Philippines, we can always talk. We can always talk,” he said. “I am ready to talk. I am not the intransigent type na talker.”
He also hopes that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari will accept his offer to eventually attain complete peace in Mindanao.
President Duterte reiterated the administration’s readiness to give Misuari the same structure of government and concessions extended by the Philippine government to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
He also raised the possibility of permanently opening Sulu as a barter trade area. Such arrangement, however, must be carried out under strict government control to prevent smuggling, he said. PND