‘Shoot, but don’t kill’ corrupt officials, President Duterte tells Filipinos

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent meeting in Manila. (Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2019

‘Shoot, but don’t kill’ corrupt officials, President Duterte tells Filipinos

  • Duterte urged the public to be assertive when doing business with government agencies

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told Filipinos that they can “shoot but not kill” public officials who demand money in exchange for their services.

Duterte urged the public to be assertive when doing business with government agencies.

“The only thing that I am asking the Filipino people is really to be assertive, period ... If you pay taxes, fees, clearances or whatever, and these fools ask for a bribe, slap them. If you have a gun, you can shoot them, but don’t kill because you might not be included among those given pardon or computation,” Duterte, a former prosecutor, said in his speech during the inauguration of the Bataan government center and business hub dubbed “The Bunker.”

“Just the foot, then it will only be serious physical injuries ... You admit it, then you go to probation. You do not go inside the prison ... You’ll just report to a probation officer,” Duterte said. “At least you got to shoot a foolish thief.”

The president vowed to defend any person who shoots a corrupt official.

“I will defend you. If the incident reaches my office, I will call for the complainant and tell him to slap (the official) three times ... I’ll ask how much did he demand from you, sir? Five thousand? Then slap that son of a b**** two more times,” Duterte said.

FASTFACT

President Rodrigo Duterte lamented that if corruption was not stopped it would become ‘a worm inside, in almost everybody in government — national and local.’

The former mayor of Davao City lamented that if corruption was not stopped it would become “a worm inside, in almost everybody in government — national and local.”

The president said that he would issue an executive order to ease the process of doing business with government offices.

“I will issue the executive order so that customers or clients of government ... you ask them what they want, they should be provided with a shopping list that they should submit. And then they are given a day to submit the papers and it should include everything.”

“There will be no changes, no modification and no reason or excuse to call back the transacting public to produce another document. It is in the art of making them go back and forth to the office that perpetuates corruption in government,” said Duterte, as he emphasized that “the delays” in the processing of documents are “the things that make up the ugly face of government.”

Meanwhile, with the inauguration of “The Bunker,” Bataan province becomes the first local government unit in the country to house provincial and national offices in a single location.

“I hope that this Bunker that we are inaugurating today will serve its purpose in helping the people of Bataan face the rapidly evolving modern complexities and challenges of everyday life,” Duterte said.

As the province had huge potential for further development, the president said that he had signed a measure expanding the territory of the Freeport Area of Bataan to create more investment and tourism opportunities.

Duterte expressed optimism that Bataan would continue to partner with other stakeholders to maximize the opportunities afforded by the new government and business center, including the delivery of quality and responsive government services in line with the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018.

Aside from being the central headquarters of Bataan, The Bunker also pays homage to the defenders of the province during the Second World War. Replicas of a Second World War tank and fighter planes will be displayed there to highlight Bataan’s wartime past.


Sri Lanka turns former military air base into third international airport

Updated 18 October 2019

Sri Lanka turns former military air base into third international airport

  • President Sirisena termed the opening of Palaly Airport for commercial flights “a significant landmark of the development program commenced after the conclusion of the conflict.”

COLOMBO: The Palaly Airport, a former military air base, has been turned into Jaffna International Airport, the third gateway to the island.

The new airport was inaugurated by the island’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet ministers also witnessed the ceremony.

The refurbished airport, costing $13.8 million, has a 1,400-meter long runway to facilitate ATR 72 aircraft, which can carry 70 passengers. It will later be expanded to 3,500 meters to handle large passenger aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and A321.

Located approximately 16 km north of Jaffna, Palaly was a Sri Lanka Air Force base and a domestic airport. The airport was built by the British Royal Air Force during the WWII.

After independence, Palaly Airport was used as the second international airport of the country for flights to southern India before the civil war began, almost 40 years ago.

President Sirisena termed the opening of Palaly Airport for commercial flights “a significant landmark of the development program commenced after the conclusion of the conflict.”

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the upgraded Jaffna International Airport marked a “turning point” in Sri Lankan aviation, which would be “an asset for the entire nation.”

“The airport will deploy regional airliners and be elevated to an Asian travel destination,” the premier said.

“The airport, which is expected to accommodate direct flights between Sri Lanka and India, will contribute toward promoting the tourism industry in the north. This will play an important role in the economic growth and overall development of the country,” he added.  

The service will be made available first for Indian destinations, and later for flights to Australia, China, Japan, the Middle East and some European cities.                                                      

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said Palaly airport was developed into Jaffna International Airport in a very short period of time.

“We were able to overcome the challenge successfully due to the sincere assistance we received from all institutes and stakeholders contributed to the development,” he said.

The minister said that in addition to Colombo and Jaffna international airports, three more airports in Sri Lanka will be upgraded to international airports, such as Ratmalana and Batticaloa.

“The opening of Jaffna airport for regional scheduled commercial passenger operations will undoubtedly enhance the quality of life of people in the area, with improved connectivity and accessibility that the airport brings to the region. It would also help reduce the current congestion at Bandaranaike International Airport and also eliminate the difficulties of the people in the north have in coming to Colombo Airport,” said H. M. C.Nimalsiri, director general of civil aviation.