Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte ordered authorities to spare foreigners from harassment as he said a number of visitors had complained of extortion attempts.
“I’m ordering now all of you from the Immigration and police not to approach any tourist under the guise of questioning about their stay or the validity of their travel documents. You are not supposed to … Stop it. I do not want this,” he said on Wednesday during an event in Oton, Iloilo in the Western Visayas Region, where he inaugurated a local mall.
The President said some Koreans and Chinese had complained of being uncomfortably questioned about their stay in the country.
“So also with the Immigration people. Once the foreigner’s travel documents are stamped and they are admitted into the country to stay for a certain number of days, they would be badgered (by immigrations personnel),” the President said.
The President also urged foreigners and locals to call 8888 should they feel abused by government personnel.
“Anything that contravenes the policy of government, all you have to do is report it on our 8888 hotline and I will take notice of that and I will take action,” he said.
The Philippines in the past had been notorious for having corrupt personnel manning at the airports.
In the same speech, Duterte also assured businessmen that his administration was ridding the country of corruption.
“Here in my administration, all those who (big businessmen) owe taxes had settled with the government. I do not have to mention their names, but all those who owed government a total P7 billion had already paid … A number of Presidents had … [ignored it], and it is only now that the government has been able to collect from them. I gave them three days to settle,” he said.
“As we make our country more attractive to businesses and investments, the national government will streamline our processes, providing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to targeted sectors, enhancing the competitiveness of micro-, small and medium industries and intensifying the fight against illegal drugs, crime and corruption or anything,” he added.
In late May, Duterte signed a law, the ‘Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018’, that aims at addressing the tedious and unnecessary requirements in the public’s dealings with the government.