Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has assured investors and donors that their money is safe in the archipelago, saying he was cracking down on corruption and enforcing economic reforms.
Duterte said his good governance had created an enabling environment that allowed businesses and investments to prosper.
“Who wants investments? Who wants it? My country needs it. Now the investor, be it a Japanese, a Chinese, the first thing is: is our money safe? Well, in my term, it is safe,” Duterte told the Nikkei Future of Asia Conference in Tokyo.
“Is there no corruption? There is no corruption. I have killed all of them already. Some but not all,” the outspoken president said, to laughter.
“Your return of investment is yours. You can take your money anytime out. Do not be afraid. We will not stop you.”
Despite his promises, critics have pointed out that figures sacked during Duterte’s anti-corruption campaign have been reappointed.
Duterte also said that he hoped Filipinos could emulate the Japanese and their high regard for laws and proper manners.
“I love, we love, Japan … I won the presidency on a platform of law and order. I wish to see the Philippines that is like Japan,” he told the conference.
“The people’s commitment to follow the law where civic-mindedness is so developed that people instinctively refrain from actions that are detrimental to society as a whole,” said the leader who has ordered thousands of executions of street-level drug pushers and addicts.
‘Cured’ of homosexuality
Duterte told a separate event in Japan that he was “cured” of homosexuality by beautiful women.
The 74-year-old told Filipino expats in Tokyo that he “became a man again” after meeting his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman.
Duterte mocked his opponent, Senator Antonio Trillanes, because someone told him the way the senator moved suggested he was gay, according to Rappler.
“Good thing Trillanes and I are similar. But I cured myself. When I began a relationship with Zimmerman, I said, this is it. I became a man again,” Duterte said.
Their marriage was annulled in 2000.
“So beautiful women cured me,” the populist firebrand added. “I hated handsome men afterwards. I now prefer beautiful women.”
Duterte then invited lucky women on stage to kiss him.
“First, you shouldn’t be married, OK? Second, you’re not a minor,” CNN Philippines quoted the populist saying. Duterte pointed out four female “volunteers”.
His partner, Honeylet Avanceña, was also at the event.
Duterte in January 2018 condemned the Philippines’ Catholic bishops, saying most of them were gay, in response to religious criticism of his bloody war on drugs.
“Only I can say bishops are sons of bitches, damn you … Most of them are gay. They should come out in the open, cancel celibacy and allow them to have boyfriends,” he said in the heavily Catholic country.
Last September the non-PC leader said: “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.”
Lady’s man: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Picture credit: Wikimedia