By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged Chinese Filipino businessmen to be assertive when they encounter corrupt government officials.
“All that I ask of you is be assertive and do not surrender to the threats and the intimidations that you will encounter while they are examining your books,” Duterte said in a speech during a national convention of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI) at the Manila Hotel.
“I’m asking you to join me in my quest. Not to do away with corruption because that would be impossible but to help me minimize it,” he added.
Acknowledging that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as among the most corrupt government agencies, Duterte encouraged businessmen to report the names of officials who sought for kickbacks.
“Lahat ng mga BIR, lahat sa Customs tandaan mo lang ang mukha nila at pag humingi sainyo, sabihin lang ninyo sa akin at pupunta ako sa pantalan at ipapasok ko yung kargado niyo libre. Just report to me in one statement a stupid guy (Remember the faces of those from the BIR and Customs and if they ask money from you, just tell me and I’ll go there and enter your shipments for free),” Duterte said.
“There is the 8888 (hotline) you name the corrupt official, the transaction. ‘Wag mo na ilagay ang pangalan mo (No need to indicate your name) and I’ll take it from there,” Duterte said.
He assured the businessmen not to be scared, vowing to protect them from harm.
“I will not ask you to do something if I cannot provide also the relief,” the President said.
“If they’re threatening you, tell me kung sino ‘yan at paluluhurin ko ‘yan sa harap niyo (and I’ll let them kneel before you),” he added.
Duterte said he will immediately call alleged corrupt officials to his office and slap them.
“I have done that many times already. I have done that to an Undersecretary. May sinipa na rin ako na (I have also kicked a) Director. All you have to do is tell me what ails your system,” Duterte said.
However, Duterte also admitted that “not all BIR and Customs personnel are corrupt.”
He has repeatedly vowed to fire government officials involved in even a “whiff” of corruption.
The Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI) is a nonprofit organization with 400 members nationwide. (PNA)