Photo:President Duterte meets with Baguio residents as he tours the areas devastated by Typhoon Magkhut (PCOO)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned that Myanmar will overtake the Philippines if corruption as well as peace and order problem will not be addressed immediately.
If we cannot take care of corruption, mas lalo na talagang ma-overtake na tayo ng Myanmar (Myanmar will really overtake us),” Duterte said during the situation briefing on the effects of Typhoon Ompong in Isabela province.
A report of the World Bank in 2017 showed the Philippines was the third biggest economy behind Indonesia and Thailand in Southeast Asia while Myanmar ranked seventh out of 10 countries in the region.
Duterte said he is now perfecting his proposed amendments to the procurement law that he would submit "one of these days" to Congress.
He did not elaborate but he recently described the lowest bid as the source of corruption from the national government down to the barangay (village) level.
“That lowest bid should be out of the picture. It has not contributed to our national development. It has not contributed anything to the lessening or stopping of corruption. Rather, it is being perpetuated to this day, this moment to just rob government of money,” Duterte said during his visit in Ilocos Norte last Sunday.
Duterte said the peace and order problem is another immediate concern that should be addressed if the county wants to entice more investors and tourists to come in.
He said if the conflict in Mindanao and the problem of insurgency will not be solved, “we cannot have a progressive country”.
“We do not have the riches but we can always struggle, make our country safe so that they can come in, investors or tourists,” Duterte said.
Speaking before troops at Camp Melchor F. dela Cruz in Isabela on Tuesday, Duterte said he is hoping thay peace will be achieved by the second quarter of next year.
“And I think that kung maawa ang Panginoong Diyos (if God will have mercy on us), this will be over by about the second quarter of next year,” Duterte said.
Duterte, meanwhile, lauded the soldiers for their “unwavering dedication” to protect the people and defend the nation.
“By being here, we also honor the sacrifices of our wounded and fallen soldiers who have fought for the freedom we currently enjoy. In fact, the conferment of the Order of Lapu-Lapu to four of you today is proof of your patriotism and bravery in face of danger,” Duterte said.
“Because of your valiant efforts, we have convinced almost a hundred NPA surrenderors who decided to return to the fold of the law and we also successfully recovered 45 firearms,” he added.
He also lauded the military for their assistance particularly in the relief and recovery of communities affected by Typhoon Ompong.
“The Filipino people are grateful for your heroism and as your Commander-in-Chief, I assure you that you are not alone in this fight. You have my full support and I stand by you as we secure a safer future for our children,” he said.
The war against corruption as well as peace and order are two of Duterte’s election promises that made him the first leader of the country from Mindanao.
Others include the campaign against illegal drugs, lower crime rate and poverty reduction.
Duterte fired some of his appointees allegedly linked to corruption and illegal activities.
He told the military that the country needs “reliable and determined” leaders who will continue to fight the ills of society and help in realizing a shared vision of “stronger and safer nation”.
“With your bravery and patriotism, I am optimistic we will one day defeat all threats to our sovereignty, improve the lives of our people and strengthen the foundation of a more inclusive and progressive tomorrow,” he said. (PNA)