By Genalyn Kabiling
PORT MORESBY — An idyllic lakehouse awaits President Duterte if he decides to spend a rural retirement life in Papua New Guinea.
According to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, East Sepik Governor Allan Bird has offered to find a perfect retirement place for the Philippine leader in his province after his six-year term ends.
East Sepik, where the great Sepik River and several lakes flow, is the second largest province in Papua New Guinea.
“Sabi niya kung seryoso si Presidente na mag-retire dito sa atin, hanapin ko siya ng isang area dito malapit sa lake at pagawan ko siya ng resthouse. [He said if the President was serious in retiring here, I will look for a place here near the lake and build a resthouse for him’],” he said during a media interview at the rice demonstration farm here.
The President earlier said he was eyeing Papua New Guinea as his possible retirement spot after his six-year presidency. Duterte said he might travel to Papua New Guinea to “hide” and enjoy a simple life amid facing complaints over the alleged crimes linked to his deadly war on drugs.
“Maybe after the end of my term, I will catch the next available flight to reach Papua New Guinea. Magtago na lang ako doon sa bukid na [I will hide there in the farm],” he said before an assembly of Filipino community here last Friday night.
“I’m sure the governor can arrange for a simple living there,” he said, referring to Bird who was present at the event.
Piñol said the President was probably joking about retiring in Papua New Guinea.
“Biro niya lang ‘yun [That was just a joke,” said the agriculture chief.
“Actually yung kinukwento niya na governor, governor ng East Sepik, yun ang probinsya na mayroon isang ilog flowing from the Indonesian side of Papua, mga 1,600 kilometers long at saka napakalawak, ang daming lakes. [Actually, the governor he mentioned is the governor of East Sepik. That’s the province where there is a huge river flowing from the Indonesian side of Papua, around 1,600 kilometers long. There are many lakes too],” he said.