TALK TO THE PEOPLE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with key government officials prior to his weekly "Talk to the People" at the Malacañan Palace on Monday night (Feb. 21, 2022). Duterte said the Talk to the People is a very important communication line for the government to report to the people where people’s taxes go. (Presidential photo by King Rodriguez)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said his weekly “Talk to the People” is a very important communication line for the government to report to the people where their taxes go.

Duterte made the remark as he urged the Filipinos to directly complain to the Office of the Ombudsman should they have any doubts on how his administration spends the people’s money.

"If you have the evidence, the better. Bigyan mo ng xerox copy kami dito yung original taguin ninyo (Just give us a photocopy with the original documents kept by you) and if you think there is a good case to prosecute, I leave it up to you to decide kung saan ninyo gusto i-file (where would you like to file it)," Duterte said during his prerecorded Talk to the People.

"Pero ako 'pagka ganoon—taga-gobyerno, lalo na nandito sa mataas papunta sa akin diretso na kayo sa Ombudsman para mas madali at malaman ang totoo (If I were you, since it's government, especially against high officials up to me, just directly go to the Ombudsman to make it easier and find out the truth)," he added.

Duterte said there is a need to regularly brief the public on the government's projects and programs.

"As I have said, the government is run by the money of the people, taxes and we would like you to know and to ask even kung paano nagastos ang pera ng bayan at anong pinag-gastusan (how the people's money was spent and what was being spent for)," Duterte said.

"Iyon ang importante, yung hindi kayo nagdududa na ninanakaw ang pera ninyo. Gusto namin kung may duda man kayo eh di tanungin ninyo (That’s what is important, when you don't doubt whether you money was stolen. We want you to ask us if you have doubts) and we will give a straight answer. Hindi na kami magpapaligoy-ligoy, diretso (We're not going to make alibi, we’ll be straight-forward)," he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he inaugurated the PHP14-billion elevated extension of South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) northbound entry connected to Skyway system in Alabang, Muntinlupa City last week.

"It is expected to improve the connectivity and the mobility in the Sith Luzon Expressway and spur economic recovery," he said.

The SLEX elevated extension infrastructure project undertaken by the government with San Miguel Corporation will connect the SLEX to the Skyway system and is aimed at addressing the traffic congestion along SLEX going to Southern Metro Manila.

Motorists will now have direct access to and from the elevated Skyway or from Susana Heights to Sucat, Parañaque City, and vice versa, which will significantly ease at-grade traffic in the Metro.

The project is a 19-lane kilometer that can accommodate up to 200,000 vehicles daily which will provide motorists efficient travels, transport of goods, and trade with less time spent in traffic.

'Do not be too hard-headed’

Duterte reminded the public anew to only buy medicines from pharmaceutical stores duly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

He said people should be cautious and discreet against buying medicines in non-licensed establishments or sari-sari stores.

"To say it again. Uulitin ko sa isang sentence, huwag kayong bumili (I will repeat in one senctence. Don't buy)," he added.

Duterte cited the harmful effects of taking expired drugs or fake medicines.

"The best here is to give really a serious warning to our constituents," he said. "Just a warning na makakuha kayo ng expired, iyan ang problema (Just a warning that you might get expired products, that's the problem). Do not be too hard-headed." (PNA)