President Duterte has said that foreigners will not be harassed by officials in the Philippines — but warned that they “better behave”.
In a speech yesterday (Tuesday, July 10) the president warned foreigners about criticising his government, saying he would accept attacks or insults from Filipinos only.
“If you are a citizen of another country and a tourist here, you better behave,” he said. “You know, I can take any criticism however bad it is, however discourteous or rude, as long as it comes from a Filipino, I will accept it.” His comments were made during an entrepreneurship summit in Clark, Pampanga.
“You’ re a tourist then you come here under the cloak of what religion and start to blabber your mouth and attack us. ‘Mga g*** kayong mga…’ Who gave you that right to do it in my country? I’m not doing it to you. We are not doing it because we are afraid of going to prison,” he added.
The president emphasised that only Filipinos had the right to criticise his government because they pay his salary. “If you begin to attack me because I am not credible or I am incompetent or I have fallen short of my promise to you, then, by all means, do it,” he said.
The president issued the reminder to foreign tourists after immigration authorities pushed for the deportation of Australian nun Patricia Fox for allegedly engaging in political activities.
The president, however, assured that he has prohibited immigration officers from accosting foreign tourists in the country unless they commit a crime. The same directive, he said, has been relayed to the police and the military.
The president said he made the directive after the 2016 murder of South Korean businessman Ji Ick Joo was raised during his recent visit to Seoul.
In October 2016, Ji was abducted for ransom and later murdered inside Camp Crame, the national police headquarters in Quezon City.
“So when I arrived I said, ‘no more.’ I am putting on notice everyone in the Immigration. Stop f****** the visitors,” he said.
“Once there is a stamp on the passport, accepted for 45 days, you do not, you do not question. It’s beyond question anymore unless he commits a crime or there is a special order from [Immigration chief Jaime] Morente.
“Nobody but nobody — police, military, or Immigration — can accost in public.”
He added that tourists were rarely bothered in other countries such as the United States.
“You have been to the States almost all of you here. You’ve seen it. Were you asked questions at the hotel? All they ask is the passport then you check in. But nobody really messes you up when you go around visiting,” he said.