President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday admitted he had offered to resign as Chief Executive over his frustration with corruption in the government, as he urged Congress to enact more laws against it.
The President also said he would propose to lawmakers to reorganize or abolish the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and warned he would “shake the tree” at the state health insurer soon.
Duterte also vowed to name-and-shame government officials he did not identify during his televised meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against the coronavirus pandemic Malacañang Palace, saying they were “asking for remuneration” for delayed permits.
“Papuntahin ko kayo dito (Palace). Buhusan ko kayo ng tubig. Better come up with an explanation or bastusin talaga kita,” the Chief Executive said, while encouraging the public to complain about corruption in government.
He also said he is willing to appear before Congress as a resource speaker on corruption and noted he had “no qualms” over congressional oversight of government.
“They (lawmakers) should allow me to talk first,” the President said, as he revealed plans to create a new agency “out of the ruins” of PhilHealth, which is mired in another multibillion-peso corruption scandal.
A presidential task force has submitted its initial findings to Duterte, recommending criminal and administrative charges against former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and at least seven other officials.
In other developments:
• President Duterte scolded Facebook, questioning the social media giant’s purpose in the country as he said it was preventing the government from “espousing its causes.”
The President apparently took issue with Facebook's recent move to take down pages and accounts associated with the military and police, while admitting he could not understand why it would do so and inviting the tech giant to talk things over.
"Facebook, listen to me. We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also. Now, if the government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country?" he said.
"What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us? We are not advocating mass destruction, massacre. It’s a fight of ideas," he added.
Facebook last week took down several pages and accounts linked to the military and police for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” that included posts on issues such as the Anti-Terrorism Law and criticism of activists and communists.
• The President urged the country’s telecommunications companies to improve their services as classes resume in public schools on October 5, saying he hopes they can put an end to poor internet connection in the Philippines.
Duterte also appealed to local government officials to make it easier for the telcos to set up towers and infrastructure in their localities for them to improve their services.
"Sometimes, the operations or expansion of telcos are hindered by so many requirements, from the barangays down to the community. Of course, you have the right. Every citizen has the right to air his grievance," he said.
"Our students will rely heavily on the use of electronics. I cannot discuss the specific gadgets because I am ignorant on that matter, I must confess. But this is an eternal complaint,” the President said.
“Let the telco do its job. Allow them to build the structures, towers if you may, so they can improve. It's a chicken-and-egg thing. Which comes first, your cooperation or the zeal of the telcos to do better?" Duterte added.