Duterte to ‘unimpressed’ businessmen: I will hire economic minds

Pia Ranada
Duterte to ‘unimpressed’ businessmen: I will hire economic minds

Alecs Ongcal

The Davao City mayor reminds businessmen he is willing to copy the best programs of the Aquino administration and even those proposed by rival presidential bets

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential bet Rodrigo Duterte reacted to feedback from some top Filipino businessmen, who said in a business forum held in Makati last April 27, he “lacked substance”.

“If they are not impressed with me, I’m sorry. Because I never pretended to be a Wharton graduate,” he said on Monday, May 2, during the television show of religious leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.

He admitted he’s no expert on economic policies, having risen to fame more for his approach to fighting crime in Davao City. Which is why, he said, he will seek the help of the “economic minds of the country” should he win on May 9.

“My economics grade, if I remember in AB [Bachelor of Arts], around 78. Why would I attempt to be a smart aleck if I am really not? If I get to be president I would employ the economic minds of the country, maybe offer them a higher salary,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He said he would be willing to match the salaries that these economic experts get in the private sector to entice them to work for government.

“You don’t get good guys to work for you because the salary is terribly, terribly low. Kaya walang mga bright diyan. Pero kung ipantay mo ang suweldo or taasan mo (That’s why there’s no one bright in government. But if you match their salary or increase it), consultants, give them P300,000. ‘Just advise us on what to do,’” he said.

Willing to copy

The Davao City mayor also repeated that he won’t hesitate to continue existing programs or copy those proposed by his rival presidential candidates if they have a good chance of being effective. (READ: Duterte, Cayetano platform focuses on crime, economy)

At tsaka ‘yung kay Roxas sabi niyo maganda, o di kopyahin ko. Bigyan mo ako ng speech ni Roxas, pati ‘yung kay Poe, pag-ipunin ko, tapos kopyahin ko,” he said.

(And you say Roxas’ proposals are good, then I will copy them. Give me his speech, also Poe’s, I’ll consolidate them and copy them.)

He would not have qualms about adopting those plans because they were crafted by people serving in government.

“It was a program worked on by men in government, so bakit hindi? (So why not?) Idagdag ko yung inadvise sa akin ng economic advisers ko. (I’ll add what my economic advisers have told me),” he said.

Duterte has been known to seek advice on economic matters from US-educated UP economics professor Ernesto Pernia and former finance minister Cesar Virata. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.