Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two hours after swearing in his Cabinet members on Thursday, newly-installed President Rodrigo Duterte buckled down to work and met in Malacañan Palace for the first time with his official family to give his marching orders.
The various department secretaries were in complete attendance for the closed-door meeting.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea earlier told the media that the agenda included organizational matters, as well as typhoon and emergency preparedness.
Reporters, though, caught some of the matters discussed through RTVM‘s live feed.
Duterte had a laundry list of tasks for his Cabinet.
He said he wanted to set up a 24-hour complaint office, manned by 10 operators and covering the whole country.
“The number would be 8888… And they can report to me any complaint and there will be a manager who will re-direct the complaint to the proper office, ” the country’s 16th President said.
To decongest passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Duterte said he’s eyeing Clark International Airport for domestic flights. For this, he asked Transporation Secretary Arthur Tugade to study a road network heading to Pampanga.
Knowing how airport congestion burdened the ordinary travellers, the President said he didn’t want any special treatment whenever he would take a flight.
He told the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that he should not be treated differently from the other suffering Filipino passengers.
Aversion to gambling
Known for his no-nonsense stance on illegal drugs and criminals, the President now added another item to his hit list: online gambling.
He directed Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chief Andrea Domingo to cancel “sometime soon” the licenses given to online casinos which have sprouted across the country.
Duterte cited the adverse effects of gambling to a person.
“In Davao they’re at it but I stopped it on time. Mahirap yan puro sugal ang alam,” he said (It’s not good to be gambling all the time).
“And there is no way of collecting taxes there online.”
The former Davao City mayor also reiterated his disdain for corruption. He said he didn’t want fixers at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).
“Pag ayaw nilang maniwala, eh di (If they won’t take this seriously) we’ll just have to arrest them and lecture them somewhere else,” he warned.
He also repeated his order for government agencies to fast-track the processing of documents: that it should be finished within three days.
Change of combative tone
In the wake of an announcement that a decision on the Philippines’ maritime case would be out by July 12, Duterte said he didn’t want to pick a fight with China — and he would rather wait and study first the ruling before making his next move.
Before this, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay had aired similar sentiments — saying Manila should not come out with strong statements against Beijing even if the Philippines won the case.
It can be recalled that during the third and last presidential debate, Duterte had said that he would take a jet ski and plant a Philippine flag in disputed territories should China refuse to recognize a favorable ruling for the Philippines
CNN Philippines’ Ina Andolong contributed to this report.