Duterte to political allies: “Help the poor, don’t oppress the people”

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DAVAO CITY (April 23)
—Help the poor, bail them out of poverty , do not oppress them, this is the appeal of President Rodrigo Duterte to his political allies and opponents.

“We may be in the same political party or not, do not oppress the people,” Duterte made the appeal durinng the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) rally in Agusan del Norte Sunday, April 21.

The Filipinos are poor and dependent on their government. People ask for assistance from local officials like barangay captains and mayors, Duterte said, but he emphasized, politicians should not exploit their economic plight..

Duterte theorized, the 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, 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.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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