Businessmen laud Duterte's economic team

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Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte admits he will rely on his Cabinet in the implementation of his administration's economic plans.

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Right off the bat, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday made it clear: he is no expert on the economy.

Speaking before hundreds of businessmen who have been discussing economic policies with his Cabinet since Monday, Duterte stressed that he's a lawyer.

He’s aware that it's a common observation that he doesn't present an economic agenda in such forums.

But Duterte stressed that's what his Cabinet is for, saying he has no doubt about the people he has chosen.

"I would have to rely on the Cabinet members kasi wala nga ako... If you want me to deal with crime and criminality, ah wala, champion tayo," Duterte said.

[Translation: "I would have to rely on the Cabinet members because I don't have... If you want me to deal with crime and criminality, we are champions in that aspect."]

Duterte hardly talked about the economy but he often reiterated his disgust over corruption and drugs.

“Ayaw ko talaga ng corruption. It makes me sick," Duterte said.  “If you do not do something with the situation, seven years from now this country will become a narcopolitics. 'Yung mga mayor na may droga or who are into drugs, nananalo sila.”

[Translation: "I despise corruption. It makes me sick. If you do not do something with the situation, seven years from now this country will become a narcopolitics. Those mayors who are behind the drug trade are winning."]

Duterte's men, on the other hand, impressed the businessmen in attendance.

Ed Lacson of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) lauded Duterte's team.

"Maganda naman 'yung team niya, eh. His team will do all his technical work for him," Lacson said.

[Translation: "He has a good team. His team will do all his technical work for him."]

Related: Duterte's economic adviser broadens eight-point agenda

Donald Dee, also from ECOP, said he's "impressed" and that they're ready to give the Duterte administration a chance.

"We are impressed – very impressed – and we will give this administration the opportunity and the space to implement this," Dee said.

Incoming Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade also had a strong message to businessmen hoping to eradicate corruption in government.

"Tell your people not to corrupt any of our people of the same rank and of the same level," Tugade said.

“The change of culture must be equally danced. Not only by the people in government but equally so by the people in business."

But Mindanao Business Council Chairman Vicente Lao claimed ending corruption won't be easy – unless the government ensures the fast processing of government permits.

"It's a tall order because sometimes the business sector who's really in need for a permit and things like that," Lao said.

Related: Duterte, business leaders to discuss country's economic future