By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte warned the newly elected barangay captains to always keep to their respective areas safe and clean or face dismissal.
The President made the statement as he swore in at least 4,000 newly elected barangay captains in Calabarzon in Sta. Rosa, Laguna Thursday.
Duterte, in his speech, said he will really suspend or outright dismiss barangay captains for neglect of duty if illegal drugs and criminality thrive in their area.
“‘Pag ang barangay ninyo palaging lumalabas sa intelligence community na maraming transaksyon na droga ibig sabihin hindi kayo gumagalaw (If your barangay always comes up in intelligence reports that there are illegal drug transactions there, that only means that you are not doing anything),” Duterte said.
“I will give you a chance. Ang pinaka (The gravest) is gross neglect of duty and I can either suspend you or dismiss you outright,” he added.
However, Duterte hopes that the barangay captains will not hold it against him as he said he is only doing his job.
“Gagawin ko talaga ‘yan. Pero kaibigan tayo. Pero gagawin ko ‘yan hindi dahil kaibigan tayo, dahil may trabaho ako (I will really do that. But we are friends. I will do that not because we are friends, but because it is my job),” he said.
Duterte also said that barangay captains have the same powers as a president and that he expects them to help him fight illegal drugs.
He also encouraged them to ask the local government for help if they find fighting illegal drugs and criminality in their area difficult.
“Kung sabi niya medyo mahirap. Paalamin mo yung local government level. Ang chief si (If you say that it is difficult, inform the local government, and Interior Secretary) General [Eduardp] Año and we will talk about it and we will solve the problem for you.” Duterte said.
The President swore in 4,018 newly elected barangay chairmen from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon on Thursday. Of the 4,018 punong barangays who took their oath Thursday, 829 came from Cavite, 681 from Laguna, 1,078 from Batangas, 188 from Rizal, and 1,242 from Quezon.
Thursday’s event was the third of a series of mass oath-taking rites that the President has attended, first in Cebu last week and then in Clark, Pampanga, early this week.
During the three events, he rallied the new barangay captains’ support for the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
Earlier, Duterte assured barangay officials that he will protect them if they get in trouble for doing their job.
“Pero og motrabaho mo, magkugi lang mo, unya mao na, magkasabit-sabit mo (But if you are just working hard and somehow get entangled), then you go to General Año. Explain to him,” he said.