Duterte threatens frontline agencies: 'Simplify transactions or I'll kill you'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — President Rodrigo Duterte identified five agencies which he said need "drastic" changes to their services, threatening death if they do not get their act together.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte tagged the Land Transporation Office (LTO), Social Security System (SSS), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Land Registration Authority (LRA), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) for offering perennially slow transactions with the public.

"I reiterate my directive to government, including the LGUs (local government units) and government corporations: Simplify just like the others. You can do it electronically, you do not have to go to the office. I've been asking that from you since three years ago. 'Pag hindi niyo pa nagawa 'yan ngayon, papatayin ko na talaga kayo [If you don't do that, I will kill you]," Duterte said in his speech.

"Make your services client-friendly. Your client is the Filipino, your employer from where the money in our pockets come from, our salaries," he added.

These agencies handle driver's licenses, pensions and benefits for private sector workers, tax collections, land titling, and home loans for Filipino workers.

Duterte said he signed the Ease of Doing Business Act last year specifically to fast-track government transactions, and cracked the whip for those agencies which are yet to follow suit.

Duterte also called on Filipinos to "make a scene" and report to the 8888 hotline if they encounter any government employee asking for bribes or grease money.

He added that he personally beats up reported extortionists inside Malacañang.

Duterte started his speech at 5:15 p.m., more than an hour late compared to the appointed time of 4:00 p.m.

The President also asked Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to ensure that all LGUs release clearances and business permits "at the very least" in three days. He said that in his bailiwick Davao City, permits are out after an hour.

"You do not do that. I am directing Sec. Año: I want three days, unless there is an exceptional reason, para hindi na magpabalik-balik. Diyan ang tirahan eh," Duterte said. He even told business-permit applicants to slap the government worker who refuses to release their permits.