Duterte tells protesters: I will deliver on promises
MANILA — President Duterte urged the thousands of protesters on Monday, to take the trouble of asking the leftists in his Cabinet what he has done to ease poverty in his first year of office. In the same breath, he vowed to deliver on all of his promises in the remaining five years of his term.
Shortly after his two-hour State of the Nation Address before Congress, Duterte told the protesters that instead of heckling him, they better ask their representatives in government what he has been doing in the past year to address their concerns on land reform, fighting poverty and ending contractual jobs.
In a surprise visit to the militant groups’ camp minutes after his SONA, President Duterte told the protesters not to be in such a hurry and instead ask for updates from leftist leaders whom he has appointed to his Cabinet.
“You should better ask your representatives because they’re already there [in the Cabinet],” Mr. Duterte said, referring to anti-poverty commission head Liza Maza, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Education Secretary Leonor Briones.
“Ask them what I have been doing. You are rushing me… You should give me time. I still have five years but I’m telling all of you, I will deliver. I will deliver,” Mr. Duterte said.
When a protester shouted at him that he should work on increasing wages, Mr. Duterte retorted that he “doesn’t own the government” wherein he could grant every whim they ask of him.
Mr. Duterte, who was welcomed onstage by the protesters with boos and chants of “martial law, never again,” sought protesters for respect and understanding. He warned though that should they persist in heckling and lambasting him, it would be “the last time I will talk to you.”
“My relationship with the left is still okay. Don’t destroy it because everyone will be affected. Let’s keep the line open,” he said. “If we don’t give each other respect, if that’s what you want, I can give it to you. I am not intimidated by shouts. You can shout till you lose your voices.”
Mr. Duterte, known for making sexist remarks, said that the protesters seeking the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines should “find someone pretty who would face
On the extension of martial law in Mindanao due to the Marawi conflict, Mr. Duterte assured them that “it is not forever,” and that they should take into consideration the remaining 300 hostages held by the Maute terrorist group.
Mr. Duterte, who stayed on for around 15 minutes, also pointed out that the P25-billion tax settlement with cigarette firm Mighty Corp. would be used to help out the poor. SFM
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