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Duterte orders first shake-up weeks into presidency.

Summary: President says some appointed officials have engaged in corruption weeks after appointment

Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Manila: Even as appointed officials have yet to warm their seats, President Rodrigo Duterte has already ordered a wide-ranging revamp in government posts in a bid to address corruption.

"If you are there because of a presidential appointment, I will declare all your positions throughout the country vacant," he said on Sunday, reports reaching Manila from Davao City said.

The shake-up was the first ordered by Duterte after formally dispensing his duties on July 1 after getting nearly 40 per cent of the votes in the May 9 presidential election.

According to the president, he had received reports that some of the officials he had appointed have already engaged in corruption just days after having been formally appointed to their new positions.

"Until now in my provincial visits, I still hear corruption being committed by people, especially in the regulatory agencies," he said.

During his campaign for the presidency, Duterte had promised to take steps to address the endemic corruption involving government agencies. The 71-year-old former Davao City mayor expressed disappointment over reports that corruption persists in most government posts, especially in regulatory offices such as the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board and Land Transportation Office, among others.

Charged with issuing permits and licences, these agencies are notorious for corruption.

To ensure the smooth flow of operations of government agencies, the president appointed deputies in the specific agencies to act at officers in charge.

The president, however, clarified that the government revamp will not include those appointed to Cabinet rank positions.

"All of them [government appointees] will be affected. It will number in thousands. Consider yourself in the crucible of the truth about corruption in this country......I hate it [corruption]. I do not want to give the slightest hint of it in any human being ...," he said.

"I will give you a clean government," he added, saying that he is serious on his move to rid the government of corruption.

He also made special mention of acting on the bullet planting modus at Ninoy Aquino International Airport which had victimised dozens in the past.

In the specific modus, unscrupulous airport personnel would surreptitiously slip a solitary or several pieces of bullets in the belongings of a departing passenger.

The corrupt airport personnel would then proceed to extort hush money from the passenger in exchange for not reporting the incident. Carrying firearms and even ammunition is prohibited under local and international aviation rules except when covered by certain permits.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Aug 21, 2016
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