MANILA–President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, March 13, laid out the direction of his administration in a bid to realize its campaign pledges during the last election tackling issues such as federalism, criminality, corruption and illegal drugs.
“Magpatawag kami ng partido, because we would like to announce the policies that could be adopted by PDP and to be implemented sa gobyerno where — it’s the ruling group,” President Duterte said during a joint press conference with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in Malacañan.
President Duterte said federalism is the centerpiece of their campaign during the last elections and it remains to be the priority of the administration, believing it is the only way to bring peace to Mindanao.
Duterte explained that the current unitary type of government has not solved the country’s problems and this has to be corrected.
He added that Mindanao’s security situation was also discussed, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group and the widespread drug trade that fuels extremism in the south.
As federalism is becoming a major issue, the President warned about bogus federalism movement sprouting everywhere that just collects money from people who want to join. He told the public not to believe them.
Also during the same press conference, the President reiterated his support to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as he showed photos of destroyed mountains and forests as a result of mining operations.
He said the PHP70 billion a year in taxes contributed by the mining industry is not worth it, considering the destruction it brought to the country. The President also said he wants an explanation from mining companies regarding the destruction that they did.
“Kaya ‘yung mga miners, mag-usap tayo dito. Gusto ninyo tayo-tayo lang o media, explain to me kung bakit ganito. And you explain well to me bakit ganito,” the President said.
The re-imposition of death penalty was also tackled on Monday with the President saying he wants the imposition of capital punishment to serve as deterrent to would-be criminals.
“What’s the purpose of criminal law? It’s retribution. Magbayad ka sa utang mo sa society,” the President said.
On raising taxes on gasoline and cars, the President said he already asked Congress to support legislations being pushed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to raise government funds.
He said the money would be used to realize projects that he promised during the last election, noting the government must also prepare as Chinese investments start to come in.
“Government runs on taxes. Iyon ang gasolina ng gobyerno. We cannot collect any other, except taxes. We do not go into business, Duterte said.
“Walang profits ang gobyerno except taxes. We do not compete,” he added.