ANOTHER #DutertePalpak Statement — DOTr deletes Palawan inauguration post after Filipinos hit ‘gifts of the president’ speech by Tugade

AdChoiceTV News — Online Filipinos corrected the Department of Transportation for its now-deleted claims that the newly-inaugurated seaports in Palawan were the “gifts” of the president and the duterte administration to the people.

The DOTr last Friday shared photos of the inauguration and blessing of the three seaports in the province, namely the Port of San Fernando in El Nido, the Port of Bataraza in Brgy. Buliluyan, Bataraza, and the Port of Borac in Brgy. Borac in Coron.

The ports are expected to enhance connectivity and mobility in the province. It is also eyed to boost the economic growth of the Mimaropa region and the Philippine archipelago.

It also aims to make maritime travel convenient and comfortable among the sea-riding public and port users.

A newly-inaugurated port by the Department of Transportation in Palawan on this photo shared by the agency on Facebook on March 19, 2021.
(Photo from Department of Transporation-Philippines via Facebook)

The inauguration ceremony was held at the Port of San Fernando and led by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago and Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez.

Tugade said that the projects would enhance the region’s economy by boosting tourism and commerce.

“Ito ay magbibigay ng ugnayan sa Palawan, hindi lamang sa mga islang nakapaligid dito ngunit magkakaroon ng ugnayan—mobility and connectivity—sa Luzon, Visayas, kasama na ‘ho ang Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” he said.

‘Tax namin pinangbayad’ 

Excerpt of Tugade’s speech during the inauguration was initially included in DOTr’s Facebook post and in its news release about the event, which reads:

“As you enjoy the gifts of the president, as you enjoy the gifts of the Duterte administration, please make a commitment that you will take care of these ports, you will take care of these gifts, you will take care of these facilities, because as you take care of them, many more will benefit and much more time will be spent by benefitting from, and enjoying these gifts.”

The excerpts were later on removed from its social media posts but a look at its “edit history” in Facebook reveals that it was initially included.

Screengrabs of the caption, which were verified by AdChoiceTV News, likewise made its way to Twitter.

Prior to the removal of the post, social media users who saw excerpts of Tugade’s speech commented that the projects were not “gifts” but initiatives that were funded at the taxpayers’ expense.

“How about thanking the Filipino taxpayers? Pinasalamatan nila mga sarili nila pwera ‘yung magbabayad,” a Facebook user commented.

“Gifts? Eh tax namin pinangbayad diyan…” wrote another online user with an eyeroll emoji.

“Gifts of the President? Gifts of the Administration? As far as I remember, this was funded by the taxes of the Filipino people, not from the personal money of one individual, or a certain group of people,” a different Filipino commented with a thinking emoji.

“Ang regalo binibigay ng walang kapalit. Buwis po ‘yan ng mga Pilipino at GINUSTONG trabaho niyo pa ‘yan. ‘Di naman galing sa bulsa niyo ‘yan,” another Facebook user commented.

A social media user shared some words of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto where he talked about city scholars not owing anything to anyone, especially to politicians.

Sotto in November 2020 reminded students who have received assistance from the government that they do not owe anyone a debt of honor because public funds were used to fund their studies.

“Laging tandaan na wala kayong utang na loob kahit kanino (lalo na sa politiko) dahil pera ito ng taumbayan. Na-a-appreciate ko naman kapag may nagpapasalamat sa kin pero naiilang ako dahil di ko pera ‘to,” he said in his tweet which have gone viral.

Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan

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