By Genalyn Kabiling
Government officials must show a sense of delicadeza and never waste public funds especially in foreign travels or else risk getting fired, President Duterte warned recently.
The President said he previously dismissed officials engaged in excessive trips abroad and would not hesitate to dismiss others who abuse taxpayers’ money.
“Even those innocent travels, travels, if you have exceeded something like 20 travels a year, I will ask you to resign,” Duterte said before an assembly of newly elected barangay captions in Laguna last Thursday.
“There are so many things that out of delicadeza we should have — even the smallest… Respeto sa tao na huwag naman gastusin na ‘yung pera left and right na ganun na lang [respect to people not to waste funds left and right],” he added.
Duterte argued that he does not tolerate abuses in power, including misuse of public funds for excessive foreign travels. “I hate all of these things because I do not do it,” he said, citing his aversion to long-term flights abroad.
Duterte vowed anew that his anti-corruption drive would continue under his watch.
He said he has fired many officials “because simply I did not like the way the money was spent.”
“I will stop corruption in government. And mind you, ginagawa ko araw-araw ‘yan. Walang araw dito na walang opisyal na pinapatalsik ko [I’m doing it everyday. There is no day when I don’t fire an official],” he said.
The President also reminded fellow government workers about heir duty to serve and protect the Filipino nation.
“We protect the people and that includes taking care of government welfare, property, funds, and all others that would make the life of a Filipino at least a comfortable one for the next few months,” he said.
The last official dismissed by the President were Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) interim president Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna, who was accused of taking costly travels while the agency was in financial trouble.
Also fired by the President was Customs Deputy Commission Noel Patrick Sales Prudente over alleged frequent travels abroad.