04 October 2016

Business groups throw full support behind gov’t fight vs drugs and crime

Filipino businessmen have expressed full support for the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.

At a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday October 4, leaders of the country’s top business organizations, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) president George Barcelon and Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) Donald Dee expressed satisfaction with the achievements of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to eliminate illicit drugs and suppress crime and corruption in just nearly 100 days in office.

“What the President promised was the very important issue on illegal drugs and crimes. And on that aspect, we are very happy that he delivered,” Barcelon said.

He said the business community recognizes the magnitude of drug problem in the country noting that solving it within three months would be an impossible thing to do.

“Many people did not realize how rampant this drug issue is and, of course, we know very well with drugs, normally it leads to crime and there’s a direct correlation between that not only in the Philippines but also abroad… It’s a serious problem for any society whether developed countries or countries like us,” he said adding that the President’s plea to be given another six months to solve the problem is “reasonable.”

Aside from drugs and criminality, Barcelon likewise noted the improvements in other sectors such as energy, telecommunications, infrastructure and agriculture.

“We’re beginning to see some improvements along this line. We are very positive about what we are seeing,” he added.

Barcelon also dismissed criticisms being hurled against the President saying that what is important is his genuine love for his country.

He likewise lauded the President for being “honest and humble.”

“We’ve seen on TV that he apologized. Rarely if you see somebody on top, at high level, that they realized and they’re honest enough to say ‘I’m wrong,’” he said. 

“The most important thing is with the President, his heart is in the right place. So with somebody whose heart is in the right place and who listens, I think the chance for us to rise is very high,” he added.

For his part, Dee said that people should stop “shooting ourselves in the foot” instead they should help the government towards achieving progress.

Both Barcelon and Dee expressed support for Duterte’s efforts to end labor contractualization. 

Barcelon said they do not want to see ending “endo” as a stumbling block to President Duterte’s mandate, as he noted that the bottom line is to create more jobs for the Filipinos.

Dee said any ECOP member who is practicing “endo” will be removed from their membership list.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the support of the business groups.

“It’s a very fine example of how we can bring in other voices to be able to show a wider perspective regarding the President and the way he handles himself,” he said.

“They’re independent business people and yet they came up their own accord and they’re able to bring in a certain objectivity to the whole matter,” he added. PND

Duterte vows to equip army to fight well

President Rodrigo Duterte has pledged to provide the military with more firearms for protection in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.
During his visit to the Philippine Army headquarters on Tuesday, October 4, President Duterte reiterated his resolve to end the country’s problem on illegal drugs but ensuring that no soldier or policemen would be killed in the process.
“In my time, you’d have everything you need to fight effectively. You have no problem with me. You have priority in government spending just do your duty because I know how hard it is to keep the peace of the country and to protect its integrity,” he said.

“It’s a very difficult job. It’s a very tall order that’s why I asked [Defense Secretary] Delfin [Lorenzana], buy as many Barretts as possible. We’re doing well with the long-range thing and Kevlar,” he added.

The President even quipped that he would want to provide each soldier with two pistols just to make sure that they defeat their enemies.

The 120,000-strong military force will be equipped with Glock 30 .45 caliber pistol.

“Until the last pusher is out of the streets, this campaign will continue even if it will cost me my life, my honor, and even the presidency itself,” the President said.

Seeing the gravity of the drug problem, Duterte again urged the soldiers to continue the government’s relentless fight against illegal drugs to save the next generation of Filipinos.

“I’m not asking for loyalty, I’m not even asking for nice words. But in case I go, before the problem is solved, or if the problem would outlast me, you have seen the monster that has four million, scattered all over the country, it will destroy the country forever,” he said.

“If it would outlast me: kindly take care of your country. Finish this problem,” he added. PND