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Philippine’s incoming president urges cabinet to embrace austerity measures


Manila   –   Incoming Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has urged his cabinet members to tighten their belts and embrace austerity measures.

He also advised them to live simply like ordinary Filipinos, according to Social Welfare Secretary, Judy Taguiwalo, in Davao City on Thursday.

Taguiwalo told newsmen that Duterte had made it clear to his cabinet members to live a frugal lifestyle and not to waste public funds.

“He said no luxury vehicles, no taking economy class flights and no using government funds for junkets,’’ she said.

Incoming Press Secretary, Salvador Panelo, also said that Duterte had deemed it very important to pursue austerity measures during his six-year administration.

Panelo added that the cabinet members were all 100 per cent agreeable with Duterte’s policy.

Incoming Education Secretary, Leonor Briones, revealed that the president was also against so-called pork barrel, a perk that members of Philippine Congress enjoyed in the past administrations.

According to Briones, Duterte does not want pork barrel.

“He said that he will abolish congress if it persisted,’’ Briones disclosed.

Duterte has marked government bureaus that he tagged “most corrupt’’, including customs, internal revenue, immigration and land transportation office.

He has also ordered his economic advisers to make sure that economic progress would trickle down to the poor.

Ernesto Pernia, incoming chief of the National Economic and Development Authority, told newsmen that Duterte’s administration would make sure that the high economic growth would be maintained.

Gross domestic product of the Philippines grew 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, while the poverty rate with a population of over 100 million remains at more than 20 per cent.

“So our policy would be to make sure that economic growth is more pro-poor, more biased toward the lower-income groups,’’ Pernia said.

Duterte has repeatedly stressed that he would be harsh when it came to corruption and even make sure that all the people to be working for him would also practice austerity.

He had told newsmen that only finger foods would be served during his oath-taking ceremony at the Malacanang Presidential Palace on June 30. (Xinhua/NAN)

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