President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday sought the help of the country's business sector to rid the government of corruption before he finishes his term in 2022.
Duterte made the call as he once again expressed exasperation over supposedly unabated corruption in government, despite his resolve to stop the irregularities committed by erring public officials and employees.
"I don't know where we are now. But they say in Third World countries, things go ever slow. It's because of inexperience, outright ignorance, or corruption. I have tried my best [since] day one of my administration to really do something about corruption," he said during the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
"The ways of corruption, hindi mo talaga malaman. Hindi mo masilip (The ways of corruption remain clandestine. These are undiscoverable)," he said.
Duterte, whose campaign promise is to end corruption in government under his watch, admitted that the total eradication of unlawful activities by some workers in the private sector would be a "long, long dream."
The President believed that the Philippine business firms would be of big help to achieve his goal of having a clean government.
"I need badly the cooperation of the business sector," Duterte said.
"Sinabi ko na noon (As I said before), I am bent to minimize, if not totally eradicate [corruption], which is a long, long dream in government. Ngayon, sinasabi ko sa inyo na katulong ko kayo (Now, I'm asking you to help me). I cannot succeed no matter how, even if I fire or dismiss every day as I did, as I've been doing for the last so many month, 'pag hindi kayo tumulong sa akin (if you do not help me)," he said.
Duterte urged business firms to report to him any workers in the government agencies who will attempt to get "grease money" from them.
He told them not to hesitate to make a complaint, as he would back them up.
"If there is somebody, just a mere whisper about corruption o mag-hingi, paabutin lang po ninyo sa akin kasi kailangan ko 'yung input niyo (or bribery, let me know because I need your input) to better serve my country and thereby fulfill what I promised to the people," he said.
"At the first mention of corruption in exchange for what you are applying for, following up, well just let me know and I will guarantee that I will call the guy you are complaining for the delay or just putting it up to another day to act," Duterte added.
Duterte's call came amid his intent to establish a hassle-free environment for investors who want to put up a business in the country.
In his speech, he reiterated his assurance to businessmen that his government is implementing measures for their "greater competitiveness and efficiency."
"Rest assured that the government will remain committed in exploring and implementing measures that foster dynamic business growth and development for the benefit of our people," he said.
"Together, let us harness the strength, ingenuity, and resources of the business sector towards building a strong and more progressive Philippines," Duterte said.