Backers of the oligarchs whom President Rody Duterte has been making to account for their greed, which has placed Filipinos at the losing end, are using the loss of investor confidence card to stop the Duterte juggernaut.
Of course, the President, as his character, has no plans to back down and is now preparing even heavier ammunition.
The shaking of the tree, as Rody puts it, is producing results as billionaire businessman Isidro Consunji said he is now paying 150 percent of the cost of each collapsed condominium unit of Ecoland 4000 as a result of an earthquake that hit Davao City in October 2019.
Rody had ranted against Consunji for showing his arrogance during a meeting with the hapless condominium owners.
Instead of a retreat, Rody said all prejudicial government contracts with private entities would be reviewed, saying the welfare of Filipinos and the interests of investors are not even a choice for him since he would always side with protecting the small people.
“(They warned) that they will be getting out of the Philippines. Fine, be my guest. I will not be intimidated or even fear the possibility of reduced investment in this country. What I’m after for is justice for the Filipino people,” he said.
It’s a matter of dignity, according to Rody, which is a valuable attribute that has been denied Filipinos for so long.
In the past, the level of corruption in the country is a source of shame for Filipinos traveling or working overseas to the extent that some would pretend to be from another country when the topic is brought up.
Before the rant against the Davao City condominiums, Consunji stated the government’s move to draw up a new water distribution agreement with Maynilad and Manila Water was sending a negative signal to investors.
“When there is uncertainty, sentiment turns negative. The situation like today creates uncertainty,” Consunji said.
“All contracts that are prejudicial to the Filipino people will be corrected. That’s what you can expect within the limited time left for me in office,” Rody said.
Majority of the people, or more than 80 percent, have their backs covered by the simple mayor from a Mindanao city who wanted a comfortable life for Filipinos and has been asking since taking the presidency why a nation rich in resources suffers.
Rody’s call for a fair shake of the oligarchs was consistent, from the poor services of telcos, he went to recently calling out concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water to remove onerous terms in the contracts with the government as he warned tycoons Manny V. Pangilinan and Fernando Zobel de Ayala of possible detention for syndicated estafa.
The water concessionaires are being offered new contracts which Rody said would remove the onerous terms that prejudice water users.
“If you do not sign the contract, then there is no contract because we have terminated it for all intents and purposes. I will take over both Maynilad and Manila Water. I will nationalize them,” Rody warned.
Rody presented a clear option to those who have been used to having their way with government in maximizing profit generation — Shape up or ship out.