05 October 2016

Duterte urges LGUs to support fight vs. illegal drugs
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged local government officials to do their work in the country’s fight against illegal drugs.

In his speech on Tuesday (October 4) before the “Sulong Pilipinas: Local Governance Series” in Makati City, the President told local leaders that the illegal drug problem is a serious concern because it destroys families.

He pointed out that the country is already slipping into a narco-state and this must be aborted at once.
Duterte said some allies have advised him to go easy against those who criticize him in the war on drugs, but he said he will not stop in order not to lose momentum in the continuing anti-illegal drug fight.

“They told me to stop making noise. No, I cannot stop. Because I would lose the momentum. I cannot afford it because I am now the President. The momentum has to be there and it will be there for six years until the last pusher is taken out of this place,” he said.

With regard to rehabilitating more than three million drug addicts in the country, the President said that rehabilitating drug dependents is both a social and a health issue.

President Duterte told the mayors and governors that he has assured the country’s uniformed personnel of his continuing support for them, that they should not fear prosecution as long as they do their jobs.

“I’m sounding off the alarm regarding drugs, please do something about it,” President Duterte told the mayors and governors who attended the event. PND

Duterte personally apologizes to Jewish community
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his sincere apology to the Jewish community as he attended the Rosh Hashanah at Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City on Tuesday, October 4.

Facing the Jewish people in Manila during their New Year celebration, the President refused to read his prepared speech and started his message with an apology to show his deep remorse over his remarks on the Holocaust.

“I came here with a prepared speech so that we can be together and meet to share the blessing of the day for the Rosh Hashanah. But more than that, I will not read my prepared speech. First because I’d like to greet you on your holiday and second because, I would like to apologize. And it comes from the heart,” he said.

Duterte maintained that he did not intend to derogate the Jews and he has high respect for them.

He explained that his remark was just “a play of the tongue” and he promised not to do it again.

“Please accept my apologies and it will never happen again. We will always be friends and I said, even if we do not share the same structure of government, we have the common denominator and that’s our God,” he said.

The President noted that he traces his roots back to a multi-cultural ethnic background and even his children have Jewish blood from his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

He said he could never speak ill of anyone regardless of race or ethnicity. “Why would I defile the memory of the Jews? What will I get if I insult the Jewish people?” he asked.

The President also acknowledged the longstanding relationship of Israel and the Philippines.

He praised the Israeli government for their honesty in doing business especially in the defense sector. 

The apology was well received by the members of the Jewish Community as his speech was 
interrupted by several rounds of applause from the audience. PND

Peter Wallace lauds Duterte administration in first 100 days

Australian businessman Peter Wallace commended President Rodrigo Duterte for accomplishing some of his campaign promises such as stamping out drug menace and eradicating corruption during his 100 days in office.

Speaking at a press briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, October 5, Wallace praised the government for the “remarkable change” happening in the country since Duterte took office on June 30.

“I’ve been studying this man for quite some time. I’ve known him for quite some time. This is a man who genuinely cares for this country and genuinely cares for its people. And what I particularly like, he cares for what really matters like in the provinces where we have the poorest of the poor and the people suffering the most,” said Wallace, founder of the Wallace Business Forum.

Wallace is a known businessman who has lived in the country for four decades. He has been granted Philippine citizenship considering his contributions to local business community and his various socio-civic advocacies.

Wallace particularly hailed Duterte’s signing of an executive order for the implementation of the Freedom of Information, which he said should have been done a long time ago.

He likewise expressed support for Duterte’s economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III and the 10-point economic agenda.

Wallace also defended the President’s “radical” style of ruling the country giving his two cents in the way Duterte is being portrayed in the media.

He noted that some social ills such as drugs and criminality have prompted the President to use offensive language.

“He’s angry and he’s frustrated and he takes this out by swearing, which is not terribly abnormal in the society that he is mixed in. But it is difficult for particularly foreigners to understand,” he said.

“And what happens unfortunately is too often what he says is taken literally rather than interpreting what he actually meant. Because if you do that, you find that most of the swearing is just top of the head type of stuff, that doesn’t have any real importance to it, that isn’t the real intent. It’s underlying that behind that really matters. And what’s underlying behind that is that he wants change and he wants to get things done,” he added.

Wallace likewise believes the President is not severing ties with the United States despite his recent pronouncement of establishing economic ties with Russia and China.

“He’s trying I think to establish that the Philippines is a truly independent country. It is no longer a colony of the US. It is no longer subservient in any way to the US. It wants its independence and in a fairly dramatic way that he’s trying to put that across, right? Now, it’s an unusual way,” he said.

For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President’s statement might not necessarily mean breaking up of alliances with other countries.

“He is not closing. He is broadening,” Secretary Abella said adding that there was still no move to end ties with US.

On the matter of the extrajudicial killings, Wallace said that this does not affect business at all.

“I don’t see it affecting business particularly. There’s no question that there has been concern raised by some of the foreign business community over these but nobody, nobody is withdrawing. No companies are going out but business is not affected directly,” he said.

Wallace also believes that Congress needs to stop hearings and focus on granting the President emergency powers to address the worsening traffic problem.PND