PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Thursday, Dec. 21, he will put an end to junkets starting Jan. 1.

“January 1, wala akong pakialam kung (I do not care), if it’s personal reason, namatay ka ng tito mo, mother, o ’yung isang asawa mo namatay doon (whether a family member died)…I will fire about 49 policemen and 3 superintendents,” Mr. Duterte said in his speech at the commissioning of BRP Lapu-Lapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy at Sasa Wharf in Davao City.

“Dito sa akin (For me), no travel now. I’ll cut it except (for) the diplomats, ’yung mga (the) ambassadors,” he added.

Mr. Duterte said it’s “time to stop” the extravagant travels of government officials, and vowed to show to the Filipino people that their “money is spent properly.”

“You just find it easy to go back and forth every month. Sinu-swerte kayo (How lucky you are),” Mr. Duterte also said, adding, “So let us be very clear on this: we are all friends,…but when it comes to the government interest, medyo kalimutan mo na muna (Let’s leave out that friendship).”

Mr. Duterte also noted that he had fired a number of government officials who used to work and campaign for him over corruption.

“Bibigyan mo naman trabaho, wala pang isang buwan, dalawang buwan, nandun na sa corruption. That’s the irony of it all,” he said. (You give them work, not one month or two months have passed and there’s corruption. That’s the irony of it all.) — Arjay L. Balinbin