President Duterte arrived more than an hour late for a policy speech on the economy and business at the second year launch of his Dutertenomics, dubbed Sulong Pilipinas, Wednesday, Aug 9, at suburban Shangri-La EDSA hotel.

The chief executive spoke for an hour—and mostly about drugs. 

As for the economy, business, and taxation, well, that’s the job, he said, of Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, a former high school classmate and who topped their class. Looking at Dominguez, Duterte said “he will answer for everything, except for law and order, and to normalize things.”

Duterte knows the toll on the government side of his violent illegal drugs war—92 policemen and more than 200 soldiers killed. 

The notorious gangster and terrorist, Isnilon Hapilon, who is said to head the ISIS in Marawi, is still alive, in Marawi, despite earlier military claims he was obliterated from this earth by aerial bombing.

Duterte said no one president nor one presidential term can solve the illegal drugs problem.  “It (drugs) has bogged down nations. Even America cannot cope with it. They are far worse off than us. They are fighting a useless war that never ends.” He linked drugs to terrorism. Defeat drugs and you defeat terrorism, he said.

In the Philippines, Duterte’s answer to illegal drugs is death. “Do not destroy the young,” the President told the drug racketeers. “I will kill you if you destroy my country!”

Which explains why until now the siege on Marawi has not ended after three months of vicious battles where two or three soldiers and policemen die daily.  The Maute criminal group, which is aligned with ISIS, still holds about 300 hostages, the commander-in-chief said.

So it seems Duterte has a better chance at turning around the Philippine economy than defeating illegal drugs or terrorism.

To fulfill the dream of every Filipino, Duterte has a six-year time frame – 2017 to 2022, actually, the last six months of 2016 up to the first six months of 2022 ending June 30, 2022, when the president’s term also ends. 

Duterte’s dream is what Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia calls the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2022, also known as the Ten-Point Socio-Economic Agenda or AmBisyon 2040. 

Ten actionable actionable programs

PDP has what are called ten actionable recommendations, which are: 1) tax reform; 2) a national ID system; 3) ease doing business; 4) faster and cheaper internet and telecom services; 5) support for farmers; 6) responsible mining; 7) developing regional industries and work force; 8) improving the transport network nationwide; 9) enhancement of the Conditional Cash Transfer progam; and 10) honor contracts entered in accordance with law and in good faith.

Two things

In his speech, outside of drugs and terrorism, Duterte spoke of two things of interest to business: promoting ease of doing business, and cutting red tape and corruption in government. And for the country’s future, the president wants more Filipinos in college – for free. For that, he needs P50 billion to fund free tuition in state colleges and universities. Of the P50 billion, he disclosed, Sonny Dominguez has raised P20 billion.

Duterte gives cabinet secretaries one month to act on major projects and permits. He wants his secretaries to make it easy for businessmen to do business. He wants local governments not to delay issuance of business and other permits.

Breakout growth

For his part, Sonny Dominguez likes to talk about breakout growth under the Duterte administration.  He notes that the economic strategy of President Duterte is bearing fruit, with GDP (gross domestic product) growing 6.68% during his first three quarters, or “faster than [those of] all other administrations.”

“In line with our commitment to promote rapid and inclusive growth, we plan to achieve quality GDP growth of 7% to 8% in the medium-term, and reduce poverty to 14% from 21.6% in 2015. By the time we step down, we envision the Philippine economy to be in high-middle income territory,” says Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“In order to do this, we have put in place a fiscal policy that will facilitate the achievement of our medium-term goals.”

Diokno says: “For quite some time now, the Philippines has enjoyed strong macroeconomic fundamentals that has enabled it to weather external headwinds. For one, our country is the fastest growing country in the fastest growing region in the world” with a growth rate of 6.9% in 2016, higher than countries such as China (6.7%) and Vietnam (6.2%). First quarter economic growth was also recorded at 6.4%, broadly in line with government’s full year target of 6.5%-7.5% GDP growth rate. Growth is expected to accelerate in the coming quarters backed by robust consumer spending and stronger government expenditures, among other growth drivers.”

“Our first semester performance for 2017 also shows greater potential in achieving our target at the fiscal front. For one, our disbursement level is gaining momentum, as the department heads have learned already the ropes of implementing their programs and projects. National government spending recorded a robust 22.6% growth in June 2017, the highest posted so far this year,” the Budget chief says.

If spending trend holds,” Diokno says, we can expect that underspending, the Waterloo of previous administrations, will soon be a thing of the past. This information is important to us, and it should be to you as well, because as you know we are making huge investments in infrastructure and human capital development.”

Political will

“The administration’s political will is not just talk,” says Diokno. “We are really set on delivering on our promises, and based on this information, we can be optimistic that we will see our investments pay off sooner rather than later.”

To pursue expansionary fiscal policy, Diokno says: “First, we have increased the planned deficit from 2% to 3% of GDP. We plan to sustain this level until 2022 to finance our spending priorities. This implies a deficit target of P482 billion in 2017 rising to P768 billion in 2022.”

“Our borrowings will have an 80-20 mix, in favor of domestic borrowing. This financing mix is designed to minimize our exposure to foreign exchange fluctuations and enable us to better manage our debts.”

Despite the deficit trajectory, our budget strategy is sound, appropriate and sustainable. Our debt-to-GDP ratio will continue to fall from 40.6% in 2017 to 38.1% in 2022: This is because we expect GDP growth to outpace the rise in debt accumulation. With low and falling debt profile, we earn the envy of most developed and developing countries in the world facing much higher debt-to-GDP ratios.”

“Our borrowings will be complemented by increased revenue collection resulting from improved tax administration and the new revenue measures proposed by the Department of Finance (DOF). The House of Representatives has already passed the phase one of the Tax Reform Package. With the implementation of the tax reform package in 2018, revenues are projected to increase to P2.84 trillion, equivalent to 16.3% of GDP, and gradually increase to P4.5 trillion or 17.8% of GDP.”

With the combined higher deficit target and tax reform, the government will have additional fiscal space to finance our huge investments on public infrastructures and social services.

Government expenditures are targeted to reach P3.36 trillion in 2018, which is equivalent to 19.3% of GDP and projected to reach P5.27 trillion, equivalent to 20.8% of GDP, in the next five years. This rate of government spending will sustain the growth momentum.

Spending priority: Golden Age of Infrastructure

Analysts and academicians have long cited our poor and crumbling infrastructure as a constraint to growth. Poor infrastructure hampers economic productivity, trade mobility, and the accessibility of public services.

It is for these reasons that infrastructure development will be the top priority of the Duterte administration. We intend to spend about P8 trillion to P9 trillion ($160 to $180 billion) in public infrastructure for the next six years to make up for past neglect and to realize what we call the “Golden Age of Infrastructure”.

For FY 2017 alone, P858.1 billion, or 5.4% of GDP, is allocated for infrastructure development. The annual infrastructure spending will be ramped up, reaching as much as 7.3% of GDP in 2022. This ambitious spending pattern will allow us to construct and modernize our roads, bridges, airports, seaports, flood control and irrigation systems, among other facilities.

In the proposed 2018 budget, infrastructure spending totaled to about P1.1 trillion, equivalent to 6.3% of GDP and is higher by 27.9% compared to the 2017 budget. This is proof that we put our money where our mouth is.

Spending priority: Human capital development

Another pressing concern is developing our young population into an agile and competent workforce. In an aging world, we have a young population whose median age is about 23 years old. We recognize that this can be an asset or a liability.

True to our commitment in transforming the lives of the Filipino people, we will continue to invest in human capital development through our banner social programs.

This is why the Social Services sector (education, health care, social protection, among other things) will continue to receive the biggest share in the proposed FY 2018 budget with P1.42 trillion, a 37.8% share in the overall budget. Some of the major programs that we are currently funding include the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, the National Health Insurance Program, our pursuit of Universal Basic Education, and the full implementation of the K-12 Program.

The government will sustain this level of support. In fact, the share of social sector expenditures to GDP is planned to rise from 8.5% of GDP this year to 9.2% of GDP by 2022.

There is a need to raise additional revenues to finance our development priorities, say Diokno. This is where the DOF’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) comes into play.

The Tax Reform package will be instrumental in raising revenue effort, defined as total revenues as percent of GDP, and ultimately funding our development priorities.

Among the reforms included in the first tax reform package are: (1) lower personal income tax rates with fewer brackets, (2) a broader Value-Added Tax Base that retains only the necessary exemptions, and (3) adjusted excise taxes on oil and automobiles.

Inclusive of the tax administration reforms, the first tax package will net a conservative P134 billion in revenues for 2018.

At the same time, targeted transfers will be put in place to protect the poorest and most vulnerable sectors that will be affected by the Tax Reform.

So in essence, the Tax Reform package is a win-win proposition. As a matter of fact, House Bill No. 5636 has been approved in the House of Representatives and soon be taken up in the Senate.


PH will be conducive for doing business

By President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

(Speech delivered during the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017 at Isla Grand Ballroom, EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Aug. 9, 2017)

Kindly sit down. Thank you for your courtesy.

Again I have… You have the barons of the business of this country and you deliver a three-page speech. Mukhang nakakainsulto ito.

If I were one of you, I’d really stand up and go home.

I’d like to acknowledge the following: former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, ma’am, maayong gabii; Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III; the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, okay na ba ‘yung gout mo o ‘yung—?; Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. Siya ‘yung dapat sumagot sa lahat except for the law and order and to normalize things. But if it is an issue of money, ang alam ko lang kung talaga ako—kung tanungin mo ako, where can I get the money? Mag-hold up sa bangko—it’s about —and maybe the collection of taxes.

That’s the only sources that to me is visible and available. We have the members of the Consular corps and the members of the Cabinet; the members of the House of Representatives; Mr. George Barcelon, Philippine President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry; mga kababayan ko at mga amo ko.

I see a number of Cabinet members and I am glad. But I’d like to start with… Maybe I… Mahina na kasi ang memory ko.

[May I have that copy you folded with your hands? The things that you’d like—]

‘Di biro lang. We will just give it to Sonny and we will discuss that in the next meeting. It’s a long list but I’ll start first with the…

When you talk about the award given to the Fire Bureau for their services and maybe acknowledging their importance in the structural society and governmental obligations.

You know, there was this ruckus again. Everybody blaming my mouth. Kasi may tinanong and with due apologies to the former President. Para malaman mo lang rin.

I think he was asked what he thinks is the progress of the drug campaign obviously during our term, during our time. And maybe out of, I would say, it was not quite a well-thought-of answer, he said na walang nangyari—para bang walang nangyari mag-iisang taon na.

Drugs cannot be solved in one term

Look, itong shabu and drugs, et cetera, cannot be solved by one man for a President for one term. It has bogged nations. Hindi nga kaya ng Amerika, tayo pa? Amerika is under siege because of drugs. And they are far worse than us. Yes, of course, they do not admit it.

Pero until now, I said, they’re fighting a useless war there that never ends. And the sad part of it is that most of the drugs are provided by their good neighbors.

It has until to a point where President Trump almost mimic my threats and said that he would, you know, waste them all.

And even Theresa May said that I’ll rip the law on human.

You know, those were just expression of leaders in exasperation.

Ako, madali lang talaga kung gusto lang ninyo, I can maybe reduce the drug people by almost one half tomorrow. But ‘yung lahat makita ko diyan sa kanto, nagpapabili ngayon, talagang papatayin ko ‘yan.

There’s another way to do it because I’ve been… Hindi naman sila nagdadala ng —the street level fighting there eh sachet-sachet lang eh. And there’s really a big loophole in the law.

‘Pag sachet lang, so many grams. ‘Yun lang naman, one effort to run there and he was able to sell about 20 sachets a day, you’re okay.

So ‘pag nahuli ‘yan sila ng isang sachet, they always go out the following day. And they jump bail forever, they don’t bother to show up again.

So ‘yung archive ng drugs diyan and if you go to the places of the courts, talagang nakapatong ‘yan. Cannot be located or… There’s a devious design there. ‘Yung mga drugs including itong mga police.

For example, ‘yung police, ‘pag nahuli mo ‘yan, all they have to do is to disappear at ‘yung station commander na nagdala ng g*** doon we’ll just say, “Nag-AWOL na ‘yun o AWOL.” So hindi mo na makita.

Then after a few years, titingnan ‘yung complainants, buhay pa ba o patay? Or are they ready to testify or they are dead tired, bone-weary to go to the courts?

So if the things that he wants to happen, happen. Sabihin niya, nawala na, walang interesado. Or even that idiot there who serves the notice, sabihin lang niya doon na witness cannot be located or Rodrigo Duterte cannot be—is no longer—has transferred to another residence, unknown.

Nobody would really… There’s no a follow-up unit that’s dedicated really to follow up persons who have jumped bail or criminals on the loose.

We’re just a reactive… Ang government entity, it does not really go after but if there’s something to—there’s something to attend to tapos may away, ‘yun.

Doon pa. Pero kung sabihin mo na, if per chance baka mahuli at ma-identify for the previous crimes. But other than that, it’s really topsy-turvy.

So mahirap itong habulin. Eh kung ako… Well, I was… I would say without batting an eyelash pero not really to push my own chair.

I did it because I had my way. Ganon rin. Pero you cannot do it in Manila or in any other place. Eh ako naman ‘yung totoo, ‘yung hindi naman talaga magsabi ako that, you know, before we can progress… That’s what my statement to Mr. Ayala.

Sonny, most of the time was there in our meetings with the businessmen of Davao. Sinabi ko… Classmate ko man ito si Sonny. ‘Yung Economics niya noon sa high school 95. Ako 75. O how can you compare me with him? So you have to listen to him.

And I told… Ito si Wendel Avisado he’s —tao ni Ayala talaga. Sabi ko, “Sir, I can only guarantee you that I will impose law and order in this city. My way.

But when the road is paved where you’re safe enough to… Pasok kayo.”

You take care of business. And so it was the arrangement. You have Sonny here to tell you that is true. Wendel Avisado was the top man, the top honcho of Ayala.

Do not destroy my city

‘Yun ang sinabi ko sa kanila and we succeeded. And my warning to everybody was: Do not destroy my city. I’m trying hard to improve on it. My job is not to kill criminals. I am here to build a city. But kindly avoid Davao, because if you destroy the rhythm, I will kill you.

And if you keep on selling drugs to our young daughters and sons, you’re almost killing the next generation. Probably kayo dito, you can.

But most of us, kami, we rely on pension namin sa gobyerno including the firemen and the policemen. Kapag… Are only…

Kung hindi maintindihan ‘yang mga human rights, ang pag-asa namin, papatapusin ‘yung anak namin because by the time we grow old, we only can expect GSIS or SSS.

And that is where we expect to be the source of—to buy medicines, hospitalization for some time. Then after that, you hurry up because you want to die because you have no more resources.

And your children na maasahan mo for the food, ‘yung lugaw na kakainin mo at susubo ng lugaw sa bunganga mo, ‘yun ‘yung mga anak namin. Hindi man kami mga mayaman.

I can afford a hospitalization, I get a bigger sum because I peg to the last salary that would already be big.

Unlike the others half of the time lang sila. I can afford to be hospitalized maybe until it goes a flat line. ‘Yung iba, diyan sa ospital, ospital, clinic, they are only good for about three months. At ‘pag nawala na ‘yung medisina, no heroic efforts, patayin mo na lang ‘yan, wala na, matanda na rin. And we are drained financially.

Lahat ‘yang taga-gobyerno, tanungin mo sa baba, ganon talaga. That is the typical and true story of the… There’s no middle class here. So ‘yung sa baba.

You have to jump from A to Lower C, D, and E. ‘Yan ang society ngayon ng Pilipinas. Kasi ‘yung pagsabi ng… When you are asked how is the campaign against drugs? At sabihin mo na parang walang nawala.

Look, I have lost to date when I was President, I have lost about 92 policemen. Soldiers, almost 200. Why? Why more soldiers than policemen?

This just an example, because in Mindanao and other places, when you raid, when you conduct a seize and seizure, you cannot just do—‘yung police with a shotgun and rifle, M-16.

You have to bring along with you a machine gun, a bazooka and everything, and it is always war there. Ayaw lang kasi naniwala because nabaon ‘yung issue sa—I’m not saying that it is true or it is not true. For all I care, they can say that it is really true that I killed people.

Human rights issue

Nabaon ‘yung issue sa ‘yung human rights, human rights. Sinakyan kasi nila, you know very well, we are all Filipinos. It was an issue of Nograles. ‘Yung congressman, ‘yung speaker.

‘Yun ang dapat kung gusto kong patayin talaga. Hindi ko lang mapatay-patay ang ga… Nakikinig ‘yung buang na ‘yun eh.

Kasi ‘yung asawa niya, pinsan ko. Kasi ‘yung nagko-connect ‘yung every death there na ano, may saksakan. Meron silang tiga-ano. Ako naman, I’m the type na, “Maniwala ka diyan? O sige, maniwala kayo.”

So if it’s really a stupid story and you want to believe? Sige, sige. So that was the issue in Davao, always every election. Drugs, killings, extra-judicial, tapos women.

“Si Duterte daw…” Totoo ‘yan. Bakit? Babae na ‘yan, ayaw mo pa. G*** ka pala. That’s… Ako ganon ako. So when I ran for the presidency and no one really expected that to happen, ‘yung issue where I was, inano nila.

I could have killed 7,000

But my God, I could not have killed 7,000. Itong mga bobo na. The thing is just… Lahat ng namatay doon. How can you kill 7,000 and not raise a howl? Aba ano bang tingin niyo sa mga taga-Davao, bobo? Unless, you’re ready to say na itong si Bebot Bello who was from Davao, eh walang ginawa ito except to condone and to…

My other Cabinet member is a priest, Evasco. You think that we are friends and he would not tell me, “Stop it, you’re going overboard.”

I’m saying this because ‘yung pagsabi kasi na ano, nainsulto ko si ano, sabi ko, “Gunggong.” Kasi sabi ko, “Marami na akong patay na pulis at pati sundalo. Ano, pagka sinabi mo kasing “walang nangyari,” you are not only belittling but you are insulting me, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces.

And I am over-sensitive because tell me straight, during the first day of the siege of Marawi, how it—how was it done or what precipitated actually?

There was not a rebellion, right, ganun. They were there to serve a warrant of arrest for drugs ‘di ba? The police there went but needed a backup so there was the Marines.

Little did we know and I must admit to you now that although may alam siguro noon pa at naririnig ninyo ako about Lanao, Lanao, Lanao and nobody was just listening, the nonchalant Manila.

Kaya talaga ang sakit ng mga taga-probinsya, gusto ko ngang magmura eh kaya lang nandiyan si Presidente eh. [laughter] At tsaka ayaw ko na, sabi ko. Kanina ako nag-u… Kaya sinabi ko lang huwag kayong magkamali. Not during my time. I really do not really care if general, general. General problem ka lang eh.

Huwag mo akong gawaing g***. I was there but I was also to assure them. Masakit sa akin kasi I proclaimed martial law there and I sent the soldiers there to die.

Kaya palagi akong nandoon, hoping also that I’d get a bullet in the head and probably that would satisfy everybody na totohanan ‘yung kanya.

But the action there initially was to serve a warrant for a drug case. Then it went out of proportion then we discovered na they were really preparing to proclaim Marawi as the first caliphate city.

So they had the tunnels and they accumulated the explosives overnight. Kaya hirap tayo ngayon and what is stopping us now is there are 300—baka kasama ‘yung pari doon, who are held hostages.

Gusto ng Army doon i-assault. Sabi ko “Huwag. We will just have to wait it out.” If it would take 10 years there, eh ilan na lang ang naiwan diyan, and you’d have to give them food.

You might hate really the Maute guys but how about the Christians there who are being hostage? And you know, if you go there and start the killing, they’ll be beheaded immediately and mas dinagdagan mo ‘yung problema. Eh nag-order ka na ng… Kaya ako oversensitive.

So huwag kang basta-basta na lang magbitaw ng salita diyan because these things are happening. And I suffer everyday kasi may patay talaga araw-araw.

I can assure you, two or three soldiers die. O pulis kasi dinagdagan na namin ng pulis doon. I had to get some ano… You know, I’m warning you but they would—they know.

Tell me what will happen if that thing in Marawi happens in five cities in the Philippines tonight? Sige nga.

Sleep on it tonight. Ito, dito, it took us how—? We are now on the third month.

If this kind of thing happens even in three, four, five places, walang giyera eh, it’s about terrorism. Three, four, five, six, with many explosives, how do you think we can cope up?

And that’s why I went to the police. I spent the whole day ‘yung talking to the police then reviewing the intelligence setup including the… I told them to ano—to be very careful about these things. But I also… And it’s—anniversary nila eh.

I really went there to warn them about these contingencies. As of now marami tayong pulis. Okay tayo. Manila we have. But sabi ko, think of just three same incidents in Luzon or in the Greater Manila area. Itong numbers natin ngayon, shi-shrink ito because the trouble improves from right in the city.

Then you think that we have that numbers to cope up? That’s the problem. I should not be talking about it. Alam naman ng lahat. So I said, ‘yung mga ano na wala namang nalaman, basta they just blurt out. You simplify the problems and you do not think of the consequences of your statement.

Grace Poe and watch my mouth

Si Grace Poe naman wala man akong away kaya lang she is fond of a motherhood statement, what she wrote.

You know, I was campaigning, I was already—the longest count was 67 p***** i**, ‘yun ang record ko during the campaign.

When I was inaugurated, gusto ko—and everytime I am in public, I curse, epithets and all. Sabi ko nga, I don’t care. If that is my behavior, then fine. If you cannot bear it, you go out. That’s me. I cannot change at this late, late day.

Pero kung sabihin mo na “watch my mouth,” why do you have to admonish me? During the campaign, I was doing it, I’m doing it everyday. And it’s connected with an issue that is very, very sensitive to the soldiers. And then sabi ko…

I will give you an example: I was elected June, I took my oath of office, July. August, nagpunta na ako ma’am sa—I’m addressing myself to Senator… Pumunta na ako sa Medical Center. Sabi ko, “Meron kayo nito?”

The main building was a decrepit, dilapidated thing at ‘yung drainage niya was blowing up instead of down.

Eh sabi ko p***** i**—sorry. Papaano man gagaling itong ating sundalo? So sabi ko, “I’ll give you a new building, you can have this torn down or if you want…” Mas mahal mag-rehabilitate. Torn it down, I’ll give you one, a new one.

So all in all in that meeting that night, nandoon ‘yung mga sundalo, General Lorenzana, Año, Esperon, I gave about half a billion.

Ang sabi ko, “May baric kayo?” “Wala.” Baric is very important high pressure to slow down infections. And I know that. You know why? Kandidato ako noon niyan ng baric, ‘yung hyperbaric dahil may Buerger’s disease ako. Nandiyan man si Secretary Ubial.

Kaya nakita ninyo na may mag… ‘Yung I was greeted by my grandchildren and there was this converter, like an oxygen.

Sabi na, “I’m dying.” Sabi ko, “Totoo. No problem, about that.”

The day that you are born, everyone of us is already about to die. It’s only God. Eh comatose na raw ako kay nagpa-ano ako sa buhok ko na… Kaganda-ganda pa ng buhok ko eh.

Eh I took after my mother. Eh kung father ko, wala talagang, pagong na siguro ako ngayon. But mother side ako. Sa awa ng Diyos, wala namang—ang ganda-ganda pa nga eh.

I’m just talking about life. But I am sure I can—we will take up your… I am just telling you stories. I usually do not deliver speeches because that is the way that… I’ll tell you the other way of doing it.

After hearing your President talking about issues today, [laughter] I am confident that the next meeting of the Cabinet, Secretary Dominguez will be able to come up with the money that is not there. That is why he’s getting old.

I do not do it that way. Ako istorya lang [laughter] and usually it’s of human interest.

Make it easy to establish a business

So we go now to, itong governance. Sabi ko sa inyo, to make it easy for you to establish a business.

I’ve told you before, nandiyan sila… Mr. Wallace is there, nandiyan si Architect Palafox. Si… Classmate ko, Art Tugade of Transportation.

Ito talaga, wala akong biro. Mayaman ‘yan, bilyonaryo ‘yan sa totoo lang. Bilyonaryo ‘yan. Sa College of Law pa kami, he was a working student, he was already a CEO. Talagang bright ito ha, baka akala nila hindi, minamaliit nila. Hindi lang kasi high-profile. Bebot Bello, ah komunista talaga ‘yan. Mula ng sige balik-balik doon. Magkasama kami sa dormitoryo.

‘Yun kasama niya si Dulay. I appointed Dulay pati siya. Si Dulay ganon lang ‘yan o. I know his values because we were together in the dormitory.

There was a time when we used to rob the PX there. For us na hindi makauwi ng probinsya ng Holy Week because natalo sa—that’s why hindi talaga ako pumayag niyang jai-alai. No, no, no. Lahat kami mga estudyante noon. Nandoon kami gabi-gabi doon sa jai-alai. Tapos wala nang perang pangkain, pan na lang pati ‘yung tubig, diyan sa fountain na lang.

‘Yan ang bisyo eh. That’s why when I became President, sabi ko, ”No, basta sugal.” Eh ‘yung hindi ko kaya talaga eh, hindi mo mapigilan, you better tax them than fight them. Eh you cannot because electronics na eh. Might as well just get the best out of what you can get.

Just a whiff of corruption

Kaya kung sa ano, sabihin ko sa inyo, if there is corruption, even just a whiff of suggesting to you, sabihin ko sa inyo, murahin na ninyo ‘yan. They do not have—we in government do not have that right to ask money other than our salaries.

Bakit kayong mga—lalo na kung if you are a big business—you report to us. If it’s about you’re—there’s Labor and Secretary Mariano sa DAR. Ibig sabihin, mga left ‘yan eh. Bebot, left. It doesn’t mean ‘yung mga left, left kami na… We work for the people whether you are on the left or you are on the right. Trabaho namin ‘yan. But corruption is really one I do not like.

Pati ‘yung anak ko ngayon, isinasali diyan sa Customs. I told you before and I’m telling you now again: Kung sino sa mga anak ko ma-involve sa corruption, I will immediately resign. That you have my word.

Wala na ako, I’m 72. I am still good for one marriage pero okay na ‘yan sa akin ‘yang…

Wala naman rin akong gawin so better find a new bride, wala ka nang trabaho. At 72, you give me three to seven years and I’ll be ready to go.

So wala akong ano. I mean, I said, hindi ninyo ako kilala but—tanungin ninyo ‘yung mga kakilala ko.

‘Pag sinabi kong gawain ko, gawain ko. Kaya pag sinabi kong papatayin kita, talagang papatayin kita.

Drugs more dangerous in politics

You know, which is more dangerous? I’ll tell you. A body politic that is contaminated with narco-politics or the bo—you know, the drug pushers and drug lords?

Kita mo si Albuera, si Espinosa, pinatay sa jail. Good for him. Tapos Marcos and the rest were indicted. Si Aguirre, classmate ko rin ‘yan. I think he was the salutatorian, Art, ‘no? Valedictorian ‘to eh.

Sabi ko, he asked me, Mayor ‘yung sa Albuera, he was killed. “Mukhang murder”. Sabi ko, “If that is your opinion, go ahead, file a case.” Kilala nila. Nandiyan lang sa Cabinet ko. “Go ahead, file the case. No problem for me. Let’s have a trial.”

So it goes to a court and the court says it’s homicide. Well, no problem. Murder, homicide sa’kin. Gawin lang by trial. Tapos sabi nila na the trial will start… I’ll give them a lawyer. You have my policemen.

I am the Chief… Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces pati police, pati CAFGU, they are under me. I am responsible for them. And if they say that the story na may baril, I will believe me. If the fireman here would say na, “Dito nag-umpisa ang sunog.” Sinong paniwalaan ko? ‘Yung mga witnesses sa labas o ‘yung pulis na nagtrabaho?

Pinatay nila and that’s fine. Pero sabi nila, may barilan, I believe you. Bakit ako maniwala dun sa labas? Maniwala ako dun sa pulis. Eh sabi rubout daw. Ah, wala akong pakialam. Basta ang sinabi ko, “Ang sinabi ng pulis sa report, ‘yun ang akin.”

Sabi ko… Tutal in the end, sinabi ko sa kanila, “Kung wala ka man problema…” The endgame is mine. That is the protection that I can… That’s the mantel of protection that I can give to the police and the soldiers.

Just do your work, do it according to law. Do not abuse because you will be the one… You will be at the receiving end instead. Kayo ang papatayin ko. Huwag niyo ako… Do not… Sinabi ko talaga. Sabi ko, nasabit? Sige. I-convict, fine. Sabihin ko lang, “When is the promulgation?” “Tomorrow, sir.”

“Bigyan mo nga ng pardon”. Pagkatapos, “Finding you guilty of murder, I hereby sentence you reclusion perpetua.” Pagkatapos ng basa, you give him the pardon. “Pardon is hereby granted to the…”

Parojinog, ganon din. ‘Yun ang sabi ko, narco-politics. Itong si Albuera, pinatay niya siguro mga tatlong pulis who opposed him sa kanyang drug… Itong si Parojinog, ‘yan sige sila kutkot ng patay diyan.

I don’t know how many now na na-retrieve nila na… ‘Yung kay Delilah sa’kin, skeletal lang naman ‘yun. Nagpunta ako doon sa Crame, sinilip ko ‘yung presuhan niya.

Pssssttt. Gusto kong sabihin o… Malayo man. Nagpunta ako sabi ko, saan na ‘yung g*** na ‘yun? Doon dinala ako. Magtawag…

I cannot imagine that—her capacity to… Imagine, she can even convince foreigners —‘yung mga t***** mga EU. Hijo de…

Tapos magpunta dito to declare… “Can she be house arrested because she’s a prisoner of conscience?” Pu… Pagka-b**** talaga itong mga. You are losing the matters there.

With all the, you know… Pati ‘yung pardon… ‘Yung video. Hindi niyo tinignan kung anong klaseng babae ‘yan? And they come here and say na she’s a prisoner of conscience. My God.

Sandali lang, I’m trying to replay the video. Huwag kayong maingay, you are disturbing me. I can still see the dog na ‘yung karga-karga niya palagi sa opisina niya.

Huwag talaga ‘yung drugs. Ayaw ko ‘yung drugs. Anak ng… That’s what I said. I… I will destroy… I will kill you. Sabi ko, “If you destroy my country, I will kill you.”

Do not destroy the young

What… Do not… Do not misinterpret it the other way. Sinabi ko ‘yan sa inyo if you destroy the young, my daughter, my granddaughter, talagang papatayin kita. What right do you have to do that to your fellowmen?

Anong kasalanan ko sa’yo bakit gawain mo ‘yan sa mga anak namin? Talagang papatayin kita. Somebody has to do it. And I will be happy to do it.

I go to hell? Nakareserba na ako dun.  At tsaka ‘yung magaganda diyan sa mga nightclub, nandun naman sila lahat.  Overdose ng drug, ‘yung mga magaganda diyan. Lahat ng pangit, nandoon sa langit.

At tsaka kung gusto mo ng mapunta ng heaven, sino… Who would stop you? Si San Pedro? P*****i**, wala kang ginawa diyan, magbantay ka ng manok mo.  Umalis ka diyan.

Ayoko talaga. I will protect my country the way I… At tsaka wala naman akong… I will order General Bato or I will order General to kill you. I never said that. You produce… I will order the army to kill you. I said, “I will kill you”. That is a legitimate statement of a head of state to protect his country.

Find me a law which says it’s wrong. To say that if you destroy the young of my country, I will kill you. Is there something wrong with that? You human rights people. Anong mali diyan? Wala naman akong sinabi na I ordered…

Ako. Sa awa ng Diyos, wala pa akong pinatay. Sabi ko, ako. Eh kung ‘yung namatay ‘yung iba diyan, eh ‘di pa-pulis na ‘yan. Wala pa kong pinatay eh ni minsan. Style man lang ‘yan. I will kill you.

So how can you sue me if I said, “I will kill you if you destroy my country.”

Now, dito sa Customs, dito naman sa corruption, do not allow yourself to be fooled by just a worker of government.

Kaya ulitin ko ito ngayon. Del, paki-ano nga. Itong directors na ‘to, the Cabinet members are only given one month. Lahat ‘yan, lalabas ang papel. One month kayo. The directors, ulitin mo, when they file now kayo ng kaso lahat sila, fifteen days.

At sabi ko na, ayaw ko nang makita… I’m about to enter my second year. I said online na. Kaya… Bebot is doing it. Sa kanya, marami na. I want everybody to just do it on… Mahusay man kaya ‘yan. Hindi ako marunong pero… Marunong naman siya ng… punta ka lang ano diyan. Paturo. Online na ‘yan, lalo na ‘yang mga mahirap.

Kasi pabalik-balikin mo ‘yan sila, taga-probinsya ‘yan. Minsan walang… Kung pagsakay dito… I know the travel, it can be hell for them. It takes them one day to just—to my office. So I want one building or one whatever one stop shop, na doon na nila kunin lahat.

If you cannot group together, then I’m forcing the Cabinet and this government of mine to force the online na trabaho. Eh nandiyan naman si—the most guy that—because he was there with the President.

Ako, nagse-sir ako kay Ben Diokno. You can ask them. Whenever I address Mr. Diokno, Secretary Diokno, nagse-sir ako. Eh ‘yung iba (serkador?) na ‘yun. Or (serhiyo?).

But ‘yung ano when I say that I want this, I really want it. ‘Pag sinabi ko 15 days, 15 days. Walang silbi ‘yung gobyerno ‘pag paabot mo ng dalawang taon ‘yan. Kabaho naman ‘yan.

Control drugs, you defeat terrorism

Eh kung ganon lang din ang… If I cannot control drugs, if I cannot defeat terrorism, you will have my resignation. Believe me. I’ll tell you straight. Pero give me a chance to kill them one at a time.  It is not easy to commit murder.

‘Di ako pwede talaga corruption and ano. Kaya sabi ko, kung sinuman ‘yung official who entertains, with the intervention of any of my sons and daughter, that is enough for me. I will fire you and I will press charges against you and my relative, whoever he is, and you will have the luxury of seeing me go down.

Hindi ko na kailangan itong trabaho na ito. Sa totoo lang. I mean, I have enough. Hindi naman talaga sabihin mo anak ako ng pobre na—pobre na hampaslupa sila. I have my father… My father who used to be governor. So governor siya. At that time, he used to have a lot of influence. Eh governor eh. So nakapag-ipon din siya, may farm kami.

Ako naman, hindi ako mahilig sa kainan. Dito? Huwag lang mainsulto ‘yung may-ari nito. Sino bang may-ari nito? ‘Yun kay Sonny, makaorder ka. Totoo sa Davao, mga Bisaya rin kasi ano, they will cook a Visayan viand.

Duterte’s favorite food

Inun-unan ang paborito eh, I am not into meat. Ano gani sa Tagalog ‘yang inun-unan? Paksiw. I can live with paksiw day in, day out. Wala na akong masyado diyan. Kaya I am reiterating my commitment to the people.

So itong sa Marawi, it will be finished in… I’m going there again. But sa Ozamiz, pupuntahan ko talaga. Let me… Ito ang sabi ko, tingnan mo itong… Sinong taga-Ozamiz dito? Sinong negosyante ang taga-Ozamiz dito? Alam ninyo. Alam ninyong walang eleksyon doon kasi ‘yung mga kalaban, binabaon doon sa ano.

Ako, [marama?] ako pero hindi ako nakapatay. Sabi ko kung may patay si Nograles na, bakit pa natin patagalin? Pero ito, tignan mo. Walang eleksyon, takot ang mga tao, it’s a reign of terror for how many years? Two decades? I know the guy. He used to go to Davao. Ang paborito niya ‘yung may basketball team siya. And he wants his team to play most of the time and he goes to Davao just to—maghamon ng laro.

Pero alam ko. Pero… When I was President, nag-warning na ako sa kanila. Tinawag ko lahat ng mayor. Sabihin ko na lang, mga mayor, kung kayong do not react na… Hindi ko naman kayo binabastos. Lahat ng mayor sa Pilipinas, in three batches, kasi marami. Wala akong sinabi sa kanila, sinabi ko lang, “Do not… Or otherwise, you will face the consequences.” I will really kill you.

Alam nila ‘yun. Si Parojinog namatay, alam niya ‘yun.

‘Yang si Albuera—P***** i**. Itong si ano, marami itong pinatay kaya hindi naman kasi lahat ng pulis corrupt. Meron talaga ‘yung ayaw or… It’s a matter of principle, konsensya na itong [inaudible] trabahong ‘to. ‘Wag tayong pumasok diyan. That’s treason actually.

You go against the interest that pabilihin mo ang tao tapos pulis ka. Dito marami ‘yan sa ano. Bantay kayo diyan. Pero paabutin mo lang sa akin. Kaya hindi… Hindi ako mamili kung pulis ka o ano. Wala akong pakialam sa’yo.

Tutal kung barilin ko ‘yan, kaso pa man ‘yan. Abot pa ng sampung taon ‘yan. At tsaka itong ano… Lahat na. Ayaw ko talaga ‘yang… Itong minsan you talk about the Ombudsman. With due respect to the one sitting there now, si Morales.

Alam mo ‘yang corruption sa local governments, ‘yung delay-delay ng permit. You… You tell me. At tsaka makita ko talaga ‘yung Ombudsman, sige lang ‘yan file ng kaso left and right. You know the batting average of winning a case for the government?

It’s almost about 2—2 to 8, 8 acquitted. Ang masaktan mo diyan… Ikaw, kung alam mo talaga, ganito. Kasi pagka municipal mayor or governor, lalo na itong kagaya ni Parojinog. Itong… ‘Di ko lang ma-mura kasi patay na eh. ‘Yung magsabi ‘yan siya na “i-approve mo ‘yan”, o pati ‘yung treasurer “i-approve mo”.

‘Yung mga treasurer, walang—walang nakukuhang pera ‘yan. But ‘pag sinabi ng mayor na walang-hiya, t******* na, corrupt, ‘yan. “I-approve mo ‘yan”. Wala ‘yan silang choice, pipirma ‘yan. Pagdating ng demandahan, itong mayor, mayaman, maraming abugado.

Itong mga treasurer, auditor, makita mo pumunta ng Sandiganbayan, magsabi pa na, “Sir,”—minsan kasi—Mayor, kilala nila Davao City but sa region—“O, bakit nandito ka?” “Sir, may kaso ako, sir.”

Makita mo ‘yung damit nila na—barong nila na… Sabi ko, “Bakit?” “Sir, nademanda kasi ang kaso ng… Si Mayor man ‘yun, sir. Nagpirma lang man kami. Wala kaming magawa.”

Tapos makita mo, maawa ka na… “Nangutang pa kami ng pamasahe, sir. Ako nag by land lang ako, sir. From Davao talaga, ano… Diabetic pa ako, sir. Sige ako ihi.” T*** i**. Tapos nandoon, only to be acquitted. ‘Yung mga ganon na ano.

‘Yan ang… ‘Yun ang madali ba. Ako fiscal ako. Tamad. There being a prima facie… file the case. Ayaw ko nga. ‘Yun lang, there being a prima facie case. Let this case be filed in court. Tapos. P*****.

Ang ano diyan ang mahihirap. Eh ‘yung mga mayaman, lahat, lahat na. Ilan taon ang… Hindi marunong mag ano. Ako nung nag-fiscal ako, pagtingin ko I do not have the evidence… Kaya kita mo mga komunista. Why are we talking to each other? Bakit ‘di nila masunug-sunog ‘yung effigy ko? Doon pinuntahan ko sila sa EDSA, sabi sa akin, “Minumura ka doon ng ano.” Sabi ko, “Ano?”

Eh ‘di nung nagpunta ako, I was not there to look for a fight. I was just asking. “Bakit, anong nagawa ko sa inyong…?” Na tama ‘yung minsan, ‘yung leader badly reform… I ask… I suggest ito nalang. Magastos talaga ang Constitutional convention.

Constitutional body

Now, do not tell me that the composition of that constitutional body would be wiser, would be more honest, walang pinoprotektahan na vested interest. Ako, I suggest that we appoint 24 commissioners. Kung gusto ninyo lahat ng ano… lahat ng nag-retire na mga justices, ilagay natin. Few civilians, about five. Be prepare in your… Kagaya kay Cory. Then they submit it to the constituent body sa… We get rid of some of the—‘yung mga offices diyan na ‘di mo na kailangan.

But this is my—my take. Mag-Constitutional convention ka. Magbayad ka naman eh. ‘Pag dalawa per district, maghingi ng opisina, tapos mag-debate diyan wala namang utak ‘yung mga g***** ‘yan. Pareho lang rin eh.

I’m to… I’m sure we will end up with something like the same structure—No, no, the same embodiment of a—maybe a democracy. ‘Yung… Maybe structural change. But you will remember me for this. I am sure when I am gone, and everything is not all right, you will remember me.

If you do not reconfigure the unitary type of government now, which is the one that we’re using, and if there is no change in Mindanao, there will be no peace until the end of time for the Philippines. I hate to repeat it again and again. But ‘yung imperialistic practices both in the Middle East and here in the [inaudible] created so much trouble for everybody.

You know, while ahead of Magellan in 1521, when he brought in Christianity, Mindanao was already Islam, ahead by about 70 years. Sabi nila, 100 years, but when I read the archives sa Malaysia, ‘yung ano ng mga—diyan sa Sulu, ayan—ang ano nila was the—the coming in of the Islam missionaries took place ahead of Magellan.

Pinilit nila ‘yung Mindanao eh. But they were never able to conquer Mindanao. At that time, it was not territorial. It was about religion. ‘Hindi talaga nila matumba because there was a poste. And that post was really Islam.

Not ready to go federal

Ngayon kung pilitin natin, ang MI ngayon is just—we were able to—Dureza, Bebot. They were just—hintayin natin. We will come up with something. If we are not ready to go federal, let us begin with a regional structure that’s change and give to the Muslims. Bahala na sila. Just like the Christians, marami ring corrupt na Muslim. Eh bahala kayo. Some are corrupt, some are not. Same here with us. Marami man ring corrupt na Kristiyanos and others. But bigyan mo talaga, bahala na kung anong gusto mo. Give them the peace of territory na ang sabi nila, “Nauna kami, bakit ngayon wala kami?” So, we’ll have just to redefine, including the acquisition and/or the transfer —you acquire then you give or just by arbitrarily—na sabihin mo talaga na, “This is it.”

Otherwise, if you do not force the issue, there will always be war. And remember that this time, there is a new element that has entered the picture—ISIS. And during the first meeting of the Cabinet—I distinctly remember—and during the first meeting with the—sa command conference ko sa lahat, sila. When after all the discussions, nobody really was saying something about it. Sabi ko, “Gentlemen, meron…” I’m sure they remember, alam niyo ‘yan. “There’s a dark cloud looming ahead.”

ISIS plan in Mindanao

Ang sabi ko, “ISIS”. Pagka nag-mix ‘yan ng mga extremist sa Mindanao, there will be trouble. And they will tell you that I was telling the truth. Exactly on the dot, to a T. They—they did come. Eh ‘di sabihin ko, “Oh, see?” Kasi taga Mindanao kami eh. You can feel the ground. And most of us are related to each other, na hindi lang full blood. But you know, my mother, my grandmother, my mother… Alam namin kasi, alam namin.

Ang sinasabi ng mga pinsan na, some of them, marami ‘yan diyan sa evacuation center. Kaya ‘yan ang tandaan niyo. Remember that one. You will remember me, tingnan mo. “Ba, sina—sinabi ni mayor noon eh.” At ‘yung MI pati si Nur, dahil ‘yung personal rapport now, magkaibigan na eh, sa katagalan ka ano …

Sabi niya, “O, sige, mayor. We’ll give you a chance.” “Give me a chance? It’s my time.” So, out of—sabi ko lola ko, Maranao. So give me time. Pero itong ‘pag pumasok, ‘pag sumunod ito sila sa ISIS, wala na. Good and very good. We are lucky because si Murad of the MI at pati si Nur, ayaw talaga. They are not into extremism, too. Ayaw talaga nila.

That is why ‘yung two main na ano natin, hold sila. Eh ‘yan ang nagbaliktad or they will join eventually—or desperate na na, “Ganito pala, eh ’di…” Wala, I don’t know where I… Dapat ninyong malaman ‘yan. Itong governance, we will take care of that. I said in the next meeting, Sonny can maybe give us a nutshell—‘yung mga… And we will…

Pero dito sa amin, corruption, wala na ‘yan. Pagka nag-corrupt… Kasalanan na ninyo ‘yan. Ibig sabihin, ginusto mo rin. Ginusto mo rin na lokohin ka ng… You know, I said we are just workers of government. We are not even addressed as officials. I do not want the title. Nako-kornihan ako.

We are just—we are workers of government and we work for the people. And we—as much as possible—we want to earn, honestly, what’s our keep for the day. Maski na kaunti.

Pero ito, sabihin ko sa inyo, kulang talaga sa pulis pati sa… ‘Pag ang pulis mag-ano—mag-first year, second year college o kaka-graduate lang, ang pulis hindi na mapag-aral ang anak niya.

That is why we’ll just have to take care also of those guys there who are dying. What will happen to their children? I promised them that I’ll put up a P50-billion fund —sabi ko ‘yung—so that… Alam mo, ayaw ko namang insultuhin. Everybody is listening all throughout the country. My apologies, but I do not mean to offend anybody.

‘Yung silang mga graduate lang kung saan-saan diyan. But if they go for higher learning, eh limited schools lang ang talagang merong—you have Ateneo, UP, La Salle—hindi nila kaya ‘yan eh.

But kung meron sana lang silang enough to sustain alam mo ‘yung—the grey matter between the ears, tawag nga diyan eh—if they have that, they can always aspire for a higher…

Warning to tax evaders

They can make use of the 50 billion. Meron na akong 20. All I have to do is—kaya gusto ko marami, mag-evade ng taxes. Pagka may nalaman ka nag-evade ng taxes, okay lang, hayaan mo. Ma-one-time ko ‘yan, tingnan mo.

Kaya Sonny? Sabi ko, “You know, Sonny, I need money.” “We will look for it. Maybe…” Sabi ko nga eh, the favorite sabihin is, in the fullness of God’s time, we might be able to get it.

Gusto kong mag-iwan ng 50, kasi kung ‘yung 50, hindi nila maubos ‘yan. Because that is intended for a higher learning nga. Libre naman ngayon. So, Sonny has to sit on his a** thinking every night, anong gawain niya to…

Kasi universal education ‘yan eh. Kapag sinabing libre, libre. Kaya mas gusto ko ‘yung maraming bugoy, dahil hindi na mag-aral. Mas menos gastos natin. [laughter]

May… Saan ba ‘yun ako nagsabi na ano, talking about Masteral? Sabi ko, “How many years did you finish?” Sabi niya, “I took Master’s, ganun.” Sabi niya, “Almost seven years.” Sabi ko, “Ah, pareha pala tayo.” “Ah,” sabi niya, “Kumuha ka rin ng Master’s?” Sabi ko, “Hindi, seven years ako sa high school.”

Nauna na ito si Sonny, nag-graduate na kung saan-saan, ako nag-aaral pa, l****.

Pero okay rin ang Master’s degree. As you can see, Tugade, bright valedictorian —Sonny—top… Pero mga bata-bata ko lang ‘yan.

Wendel… They are all working for me. It’s good to have a Masteral even in high school.  Okay na. Salamat po.



By Carlos G. Dominguez – Secretary of Finance

(Opening statement during 2017 Sulong Pilipinas Press Briefing, EDSA Shangrila Hotel, Mandaluyong City,  Aug. 9, 2017)

We expected Sulong 2017 to be as productive as Sulong 2016. The participants in this forum concluded just now worked hard to ensure this would be a productive dialogue.

This is how public-private partnership works. The government side delivers the medium. The private sector delivers the content. It is a productive symbiosis.

You will recall that in the first Sulong meeting last year, we arrived at 10 actionable points. Those actionable points have been substantially complied with by the Duterte administration.

In this day-long discussion, we have initially worked on another set of action programs which include:

  1. Identifying Best Competitive Advantages vs other countries in ASEAN and rally both government and private sector to drive growth and competitiveness;
  2. Improving ease of doing business through the convergence of different agencies including local government units;
  3. Completing C-6 (from Skyway/FTI in Taguig to Batasan Complex in Quezon City) to ease Metro Manila congestion;
  4. Allowing new players in the telecommunications industry; and
  5. Improving agricultural support infrastructure and services such as farm-to-market roads, cold storage, and irrigation to facilitate the distribution of agricultural products and increased farmer incomes

Discussions are currently ongoing on the improvements that we need to implement in the social sector. These include the following concerns:

  1. Improving health services by expanding public access to healthcare which would entail expanding Philhealth coverage, providing more free medicines, and strengthening rural health units.;
  2. Addressing the job-skills mismatch through the joint identification of of job profiles needed by per industry by government, industry and the academe;
  3. Improving land tenure security in all areas;
  4. Intensifying and speeding up resolution of the conflict in Marawi; and
  5. Providing entrepreneurial education for farmers, fisherfolk and other agricultural workers.

This is a running list. But then consultations between government and the private sector should be an ongoing affair.

On our part, we will study closely the suggestions and see what specific policy actions might be taken.

This has been a productive day and I thank all of those who have made this possible.



By ERNESTO PERNIA – Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

 (Speech delivered during the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017, EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, Aug. 9, 2017)

It has been a little over a year since we last gathered in Davao City to review the then incoming Administration’s 0-10 point Socioeconomic Agenda, and discuss how these can materialize in the medium-term and, hopefully, sustained beyond.

Since then, one concrete step forward by this administration is the completion and adoption of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, or PDP.

The PDP is the Duterte Administration’s blueprint for change, which is anchored on the President’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda and geared towards the realization of the Long-Term Vision or AmBisyon Natin 2040. It will guide public programs and policies for the next five years. The Plan is designed to be the first of four PDPs expected to lead to the long-term vision.

The Plan is the output of not only interagency consultations at the national and local levels, but also consultations with the various social sectors and stakeholders across the country’s subnational regions. Before it was finalized, we also made its draft available online through our website to gather inputs from the general public. Therefore, it is the People’s Plan.

The Plan was officially launched on June 2, 2017 on the back of the President’s Executive Order No. 27 (June 1, 2017). The E.O. directs all agencies at both the national and local government levels, including GOCCs, “to adopt and disseminate the PDP 2017-2022, [align their programs], and undertake efforts leading to its [full] implementation.”

On October 11, 2016, the President likewise issued Executive Order No. 5, adopting the Ambisyon Natin 2040 as the guide for reaching the long-term vision for the Filipinos. All plans of government agencies, including GOCCs and the Local Government Units, are mandated to be consistent with Ambisyon Natin 2040.

The hope is that, with such collaboration between and among national and local government agencies – further buttressed by the private business sector and the citizenry – our country will be able to achieve a matatag (strongly rooted), maginhawa (comfortable), and panatag (secure) na buhay, which is the aspiration of Filipinos by 2040.

Briefly, let me summarize the framework of the PDP 2017-2022.

Upper middle income country

The PDP aims for the Philippines to be an upper middle income country by 2022. With GDP growth expected to strengthen further to 7%-8%, the economy will expand by about 50% over the next six years. Growth will also be more inclusive as manifested by lower overall poverty incidence, declining from 21.6% (2015) to 14% in 2022, which is equivalent to lifting about six million Filipinos out of poverty by the end of this Administration.

These objectives will be achieved through the Plan’s strategies, categorized into three major pillars of Malasakit (enhancing the social fabric), Pagbabago (inequality-reducing transformation), and Patuloy na Pag-unlad (increasing growth potential). All of these will be achieved with a strong foundation of Peace and Security, strong infrastructure development, and a sustainable environment.

We identified 10 Actionable Recommendations – from a list of 20 submitted by the private sector for the government to consider at the Sulong Pilipinas 2016 forum – in the context of the 0-10 points Socioeconomic Agenda.

Today, we review these recommendations in light of the Philippine Development Plan.

First, Comprehensive Tax Reform

We fully support a long overdue tax reform that is progressive, efficient and internationally competitive. Tax reform is crucial to help us attain upper middle income country status, and reduce poverty incidence to 14% by year 2022. The gains from tax reform will also help fund high-impact infrastructure projects, as well as programs in education and health (including full implementation of the RPRH law).

For these reasons, we have included a Tax Reform Program in the priority legislative agenda of the PDP.

As you all know, Congress has already approved the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program’s (CTRP) first package on third reading last May, upon the President’s certification of the proposed legislation as “urgent”. We now look forward to its approval in the Senate within the year.

Second, the National ID System

Chapter 5 of the PDP, which centers on clean and efficient governance, recognizes that implementing a National ID system will facilitate the delivery of public services, especially to marginalized groups like IPs and the poor. The national ID system will be harmonized with the civil registry system as well.

Accordingly, I am pleased to note that the proposed Unified National ID System Act was endorsed by the Executive Committee of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council for certification by the President as “urgent”. The bill is included in both the Common Legislative Priorities of Congress (CLPC) and the President’s Legislative Agenda (PLA).

Third, the ease of doing business

In the same Chapter 5 of the PDP, improving the ease of doing business is highlighted as a development priority of this administration by simplifying government transactions through the reduction of documentary requirements, steps, processing time, and number of signatories for registration documents. These should cover passports, driving licenses, BIR and LGU processes, and services for overseas Filipino workers, among others.

Compliance-cost analysis and time-and-motion studies are being conducted to determine the impact of select government services.

Furthermore, we are targeting full implementation of the Philippine Business Registry (PBR), by 2020. Twenty LGUs are being prepared this year to be connected to the PBR for them to facilitate start-ups and help reduce transaction costs.

The Ease of Doing Business Act was identified as among the necessary legislations to support the achievement of goals. Accordingly, it was endorsed by the LEDAC-ExCom for certification by the President as “urgent”.

Fourth, Internet and telecommunications services

Chapters 9 and 19 call for the formulation and implementation of a National Broadband Plan.

Likewise, Chapter 14 mentions the need for more S&T and innovation, (STI) initiatives on telecommunications. Public investments will be channeled to cybersecurity and other technology-related innovations.

The PDP also mentions as a key reform the adoption and enforcement of open access and effective competition in the telecoms market.

The NEDA Secretariat supported in principle House Bill No. 2871 on Open Access in Data Transmission Act, which is in line with this key reform.

Fifth, support services to the farmers

As agriculture remains a significant sector to the economy and employment, this recommendation was well taken in the PDP. Chapter 8 of the plan supports increasing access of small farmers and fisher folk to value-chains, innovative financing, technology and land and water resources.

This means physically linking production areas to markets through road and rail-based transport and logistics systems, promoting weather index-based and area-based yield insurance, revisiting the Agri-Agra Law to enhance its effectiveness, and raising investments in R&D for production and post-harvest technologies, among others.

Chapter 14 of the PDP also promotes the implementation of the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda, or HNRDA. The HNRDA consolidates and promotes basic and applied research in agriculture, aquatic resources, and natural resources, among others.

Sixth, responsible mining

Chapter 20 of the PDP points to strengthen environmental and social safeguards for mineral resources development. This means that the mining industry should strictly comply with existing laws, rules and regulations to safeguard the integrity of the environment and mining-affected communities.

This will be done by strengthening the environmental impact statement system and guaranteeing a just and equitable distribution of mining benefits. Resource valuation studies will also be conducted to identify the most beneficial and sustainable use of land in support of national development.

The President’s pronouncement in his recent SONA to promote value-adding and development of downstream industry for minerals is embodied in Chapter 9 of the PDP, particularly the strategy to develop high-value added, competitive, and sustainable industry and services sectors (including mining).

While, at present only the roadmap for the copper industry has been completed, the government is working on the roadmaps for gold, nickel, chromite, and iron. These roadmaps will ensure that processing of minerals is based on the location, availability, quality of metallic ore including the demand of its products.

Seventh, developing regional industries and local workforce

Chapter 9 of the PDP pushes for the implementation of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy. This strategy is aimed at upgrading our manufacturing, agriculture, and services industries, while strengthening their linkages with domestic and global value chains.

The PDP also calls to adopt a cluster-based approach, emphasizing the comparative advantage of each region in the country to develop high-value added, competitive, and sustainable industry and services sectors.

The National Industry Roadmap Localization and Consultation, which was recently conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry, has already identified priority sectors for each region.

Eighth, improving the transport network across the country

Chapter 19 of the PDP identified the adoption of a National Transport Policy to synchronize decisions and investments of all transport-related agencies and better coordinate efforts between the national and local levels. Accordingly, the NTP has been approved by the NEDA Board, chaired by the President, in its last meeting on June 27, 2017. The NTP envisions a national transport system that is “safe, secure, reliable, efficient, integrated, intermodal, affordable, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and people-oriented.”

The PDP likewise supports the creation of independent regulatory bodies for railways, airports, and seaports in order to establish a more streamlined transport sector. This should efficiently and effectively carry out the identified development strategies.

Also, to fully utilize existing ports, we will explore establishing a more direct connection between the Manila and Batangas Ports and implementing co-loading (modified cabotage) to encourage shipment between domestic ports.

Pursuant to the realization of inclusive development through a regional and rural development strategy, the Plan espouses a National Spatial Strategy, which, among others, aims to connect the settlements to form an efficient network by improving linkages among settlements and key production areas, connecting rural areas to growth centers, or strengthening urban-rural linkages.

Accordingly, regional transport infrastructure, such as airports, and mass transport infrastructure that will facilitate ingress and egress of goods and people in metropolitan centers, are among the priorities of this Administration.

Ninth, reviewing the Conditional

Cash Transfer (CCT) Program

Chapter 11 of the PDP calls for the enhancement of the CCT Program. The conditional cash transfer approach of the government will be continued to ensure that the rights of poor children are upheld. However, it will be enhanced specifically to help child beneficiaries and their families become self-sufficient and self-reliant. Programs that will link beneficiary households with social enterprises will be pursued to capacitate them to engage in livelihood opportunities.

And, lastly, reducing bottlenecks, particularly on the implementation of PPP and infrastructure projects, as well as respecting the sanctity of contracts

The PDP proposes, as part of its legislative agenda, the Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer Law and its IRR. The bill was among those endorsed by the LEDAC-ExCom for adoption by the full Council. The amendment will introduce reforms to address bottlenecks in PPP project implementation, further encourage private sector participation, and keep the policies attuned to the changing business environment.

We have adopted new policies to improve and streamline the approval processes of major public investment projects. These include the raising of the ICC project review cost floor from P1 billion to P2.5 billion; and streamlining of approval procedures for minor changes in scope, cost, financing, and extension of implementation or loan/grant validity of projects. We have likewise streamlined the membership of the ICC and NEDA Board to ease the approval process.

Lastly, we all remember that the President himself, in his inaugural speech, directed the heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules of contracts already executed, under the presumption that these were entered into in accordance with the law and in good faith.

To summarize, I am pleased to note that your recommendations from last year’s forum have been well-taken by this Administration in its medium-term development plan.

I would like to further underscore that the Philippine Development Plan will not remain a plan. In fact, it has been translated into specific programs and projects that will be implemented by the national government to respond to the PDP’s societal goals and strategies. These will be contained in the PDP’s accompanying document, the 2017-2022 Public Investment Program (PIP).

The PIP serves as a mechanism to improve resource mobilization by ensuring the linkage of the planning and budgeting processes towards the achievement of our goals.

While we are currently finalizing the PIP’s write-up, the list of priority programs and projects under the 2017-2022 PIP is now available to the public online via the NEDA website, www.neda.gov.ph.

As I end, let me echo what President Duterte said in his Executive Order No. 27, to quote: “The successful implementation of the PDP rests on the support of all stakeholders.”

With an upbeat prospect for the country’s economy, we do hope that with joint efforts and collaboration among the government, the business community, and all sectors of society, we will be able to ensure that Filipinos will achieve their aspiration of a Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay.

Thank you and may you have a fruitful day ahead.