Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has allayed fears he would become a dictator.
Duterte assured that he was just after a new Constitution that would address corruption in the country.
“Do not be afraid of dictatorship. I am not aiming for it. I do not ask [for] it and I do not like it,” Duterte said in a speech.
“In the event that Congress comes up with an anti-corruption Constitution, I will step down at the end of the year. That is a commitment, a guarantee. Make me a Constitution that would do away with a long suffering corruption-ridden country and I would be willing to just step out so you won’t be afraid that I am just after being a dictator,” Duterte said.
In a separate message on the November 30 national holiday honouring Filipino revolutionary Andres Bonifacio, Duterte called on Filipinos to unite against corruption, criminality, illegal drugs and terrorism.
In his message marking the 154th birth anniversary of Bonifacio, Duterte paid tribute to the “Father of the Philippine Revolution” as he sought the active involvement of all to help bring about “real and meaningful” change in society.
“On this day, we pay tribute to Andres Bonifacio, the ‘Father of the Philippine Revolution.’ It was Andres Bonifacio who ignited the fires of revolt that led to the foundation of our nation and brought freedom to our people. As the heirs of his revolution, it is our solemn obligation to bring life to his aspirations and usher in an era of civic consciousness and nationalism,” Duterte said.
“At a time when the future of our country is at stake, all of us are called to become actively involved in nation-building. Let us fight to free ourselves from the grasp of corruption, criminality and illegal drugs; to liberate our people from the clutches of terror and violence; and to preserve our ideals, values and way of life,” he added.
The President also urged Filipinos not to “lose sight of our shared vision for a better and more progressive Philippines” as “we strive to give a peaceful, orderly and comfortable life for all.”
“Like Bonifacio, let us light the flames of change that will bring about real and meaningful transformation in our nation,” he said.
Various cause-oriented groups will hold activities and protests across the country during Bonifacio Day.
Supporters of Duterte are set to hold rallies, also nationwide, to declare support for the President’s proposal to establish a “revolutionary government.”