By Lilian C. Mellejor
DAVAO CITY (PNA) – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has given his marching order to the members of his incoming Cabinet secretaries during their meeting on Wednesday night at the PICC in Manila.
“No corruption,” he told his would-be Cabinet.
Duterte further assured them he will not interfere with their job, stressing that he will give them a free hand to select their people to work with.
However, Duterte is holding the Cabinet secretaries answerable when things go wrong in their respective offices or if their chosen officials become involved in illegal activities.
This was revealed by incoming Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol, who said the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday was the second meeting with Duterte on a bigger scale in terms of number wherein many issues have been discussed.
Piñol said no corruption was the general instruction of Duterte. “We are held accountable – he was clear that there should be no corruption. There is no indispensable,” he added.
Stopping corruption, crimes and illegal drugs were the centerpiece of the Duterte campaign.
Among all issues, Duterte took special concern on the implementation of the K-12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Piñol said Duterte was worried of the impact of K-12 program. Even in previous interviews, Duterte was concerned of the problems from the aberration created because of K-12.
He said there are many students that could run to hundreds who cannot enroll for senior high school and the teachers who will be displaced from their jobs.
Piñol said Duterte asked incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones to closely monitor the implementation of K-12, which Briones said it was already too late in the day to suspend the program because there is a law.
But Duterte and Briones were reportedly open to improvements in the implementation of the K-12 program.
In the meeting, incoming Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also presented a proposal to address the traffic problem. One of the practical solutions was to get rid of colorum vehicles especially in the streets of Metro Manila.
Piñol said an emergency power for Duterte to address traffic was briefly discussed but this was referred to newly-named Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo to study.
It may be recalled that in 2014, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) implemented a massive crackdown of colorum vehicles even imposing stiffer fines on vehicles and public utility vehicles operating without the necessary franchise from government regulatory agencies.
Violators will have to pay fines ranging from PHP6,000 for illegal motorcycles to as high as P1 million for buses operating illegally. The higher fines were stipulated in the joint administrative order (JAO). Colorum vehicles will also be impounded for a minimum of three months.
Piñol said he has presented his report from his travels in the rural areas to assess the farms, talks to farmers and fisherfolk. He has also presented upcoming programs such as cash-for-work, feeding, coastal clean-up to involve the sea gypsies, all aimed at addressing poverty and improve food production.
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Overall, Piñol said the meeting went well with Duterte steadfast in bringing change in the country.