Duterte apologizes to Ayalas, Pangilinan: ‘COVID humbled me’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte apologized on Monday to the Ayalas and Pangilinan for his “hurtful words,” saying the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had “humbled” him.
“‘About the hurtful words to the Ayalas and to Pangilinan, I apologize for the hurtful words,” Duterte, speaking partly in Filipino, said in a televised public address.
“If you can find in your heart to forgive me… because if you do not want to forgive me, I will undercut you. I will go directly to God,” he added.
Meanwhile, the President also thanked businesses for helping the government during the health crisis.
“I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us provide the necessities of the moment,” Duterte said.
“I can promise you that I’ll be nice, and if you want to see me, we can talk. Naubos na po yung pagkasuplado ko dahil sa COVID. The COVID humbled me. With the kind of response that you gave, showed to the public, it’s a humbling experience for me,” Duterte further said.
Duterte has repeatedly railed against Pangilinan and the Ayala family for their water concessionaires’ “onerous” contracts with the government, tagging the businessmen as the “big fish” in corruption.
Manila Water Co. is a subsidiary of the Ayala family’s Ayala Corp., while the Pangilinan-led MPIC owns a controlling stake in Maynilad Water Services.
Duterte has ordered the crafting of new concession deals with the two water companies after labeling the current agreements as “disadvatangeous” to the Filipinos.
He also threatened that the government would take over water distribution services if the water concessionaires refuse to accept the new water agreement.
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