Duterte orders Año to probe corrupt LGUs
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he was giving Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año the authority to investigate local government officials who demand bribes in exchange for the speedy release of business permits.
Mr. Duterte mentioned this in his arrival statement after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam.
He said that at the Apec Summit, he had “the occasion to discuss the importance of inclusive growth and the need to provide MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) with the opportunities to grow and become catalysts for national development.”
Mr. Duterte said the granting of business permits in the country had been a source of graft and corruption, especially in the local governments.
“You know when you go into graft and corruption, even in the local level, the business permit to open, you know, an opportunity for investment there for as long as they hang on to the papers, documents, order, approval and sometimes it takes six months, waiting for money,” Mr. Duterte said.
Mr. Duterte said he would suspend local government officials, especially those he appointed, if he finds out they engage in such a practice.
“If I see you giving [businessmen] a hard time or you allow corruption to thrive in your locality, then as mayor or governor, I will order the new Secretary of the DILG, the [former] chief of staff, General [Eduardo] Año, to investigate you. I’ll give you about three days to explain,” Mr. Duterte said.
He also told his Cabinet to make sure that applications made in their departments that are necessary to open businesses in the country will only take a month to process.
“Either you deny it and state it clearly why or do not hang on to the papers. You know, give me a reason to doubt about your integrity and honesty and I will fire you,” he said.
“We’re one of the fastest growing economies, but I want to hurry it more. And the only way to do that is to put in place an easy way to get the papers to start the business,” Mr. Duterte said.
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