DAVAO CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte assured on Sunday that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community would not suffer from discrimination, oppression and bigotry under his administration.

Duterte gave his assurance as he graced the 7th LGBT Davao’s Year-end Gathering at the Tent Azuela Cove here.

“Let me just say thank you for the celebration and you have my guarantee that everybody, at least during my term, will be protected and nurtured as a human being,” Duterte said.

“There will be no oppression and we will recognize your importance in society,” he added.

The President said he is willing to accept members of the LGBT community to become part of his administration as long as they are qualified.

He then encouraged the LGBT group to nominate a representative who will serve as one of the commissioners of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).

“I’d like a gay there somewhere or a lesbian. And mag-usap kayong lahat all over the Philippines. You nominate somebody who is honest, hardworking. And I would like to show that any, ma-bakla man o ma-tomboy, can always work just like an ordinary human being,” he said.

Duterte said he would give the LGBT community until the second week of January next year to submit their nomination.

The President dismissed all the commissioners of PCUP including its chairman Terry Ridon for alleged unnecessary trips and supposed failure to hold regular meetings as a collegial body.

Duterte also renewed his commitment to the LGBT community that he would try to solve the major problems besetting the country such as corruption and illegal drugs during his term.

He also issued a strong message to people engaged in human trafficking and slavery.

“Slavery must stop. I will take a strong stand against this. I will not tolerate it. I said, kayong mga kidnappers ‘pag nahuli ko kayo I will treat you just like a drug lord,” he said.

Meanwhile, the President said he would visit the areas devastated by Tropical Storm Urduja on Monday, December 18.

“There’s so much destruction there. There are places na-cut ‘yung bridge. And I would like to see for myself what government can do better than what they are --- these guys there are doing now,” he said. (PND)