Pres. Duterte meets Filipino community in Cambodia

MANILA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte repeats his promise to stop corruption and end crime before a cheering crowd of Filipino community in Cambodia.

Duterte was in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh for a state visit as part of his tour of the member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Addressing the Filipinos on Tuesday, Dec. 13, President Duterte has expressed disdain for corruption anew and repeated his promise to end corrupt activities in the government.

“Corruption it will stop. Wala akong patatawarin diyan. Maski kaibigan. It will stop,” Duterte assures the members of the Filipino community.

He urged the Filipino community to help him in the campaign against corruption. “Let us give the Filipinos a respite from corruption,” the President said.

He added that a government complaint office and a number was setup, and the number is 8888. “They can report to me any complaint,” the President said.

He also warned of drastic actions against corrupt government employees and officials and urged them to stop now. “Akin talaga is dismissal. Hindi ako makontento ng suspension. Dismissal,” the President said.

Duterte said he did not mind losing friends to maintain his integrity. “Maski kaming mga kaibigan, sinabi ko. Pagka may nangyari diyan at under sa iyo. I’m sorry maybe even you would have to resign,” he said.

The President advised them to be assertive especially when employees from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other airport staff ask for pasalubong or take some items from their luggage.

He began his speech with how he came to become the Chief Executive. He said he did not really want to run for president “kasi wala akong pera. I am just a little guy in a city down south. Hindi naman ako national figure unlike the others of course, the high profile senators ang mga kalaban ko.”

What convinced him to seek the presidency, he said, was the decades-old Mindanao problem and the gravity of the problem over illegal drugs.

“Nakita ko na that nobody was talking about Mindanao and about the seriousness of the problem of law and order,” he told his audience.

Meanwhile, in an earlier interview with Christopher B. Montero, Philippine ambassador to Cambodia, he expressed confidence that the visit of the President to Cambodia will be productive and fruitful in terms of two major areas of cooperation: tourism and sports.

Tourism management, tourism marketing, and exchange of best practices on conservation of heritage sites are among the subjects of tourism cooperation, according to the ambassador.

In the area of sports, the agenda for cooperation includes exchange of best practices in sports management and training, as well as exchange of sports officials.

“It is expected that they (the leaders of two countries) will reaffirm their commitment to advance our bilateral relations to a higher level,” Montero said.

Two other areas that are being finalized for agreement are related to transnational crimes and labor cooperation, according to Montero.

Cooperation in addressing transnational crimes such as terrorism, extremism, financial and economic crimes, and drug trafficking, will involve the national police institutions from both countries. If the agreement on combating transnational crimes pushes through, it will lend international dimension to President Duterte’s campaign against the drug menace, Montero added.