Duterte tells Lucio Tan: I'll shut up on your past gov't debts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 14) — President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to forget about the past debts to the government of Lucio Tan who provided help to returning overseas workers (OFWs) from Kuwait.

"Because of this incident, Mr. Lucio Tan, I'm going to shut up forever. Wala ka nang marinig sa akin na salita na 'di ka --- hindi ka nagbayad ng… Okay na sa akin 'yan, tapos na (You will not hear anything from me, that you did not pay. That's a thing of the past now)," Duterte said at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as he welcomed 150 OFWs from Kuwait Tuesday night.

READ: Duterte welcomes repatriated OFWs from Kuwait  

The President said all the unpaid taxes of the chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines (PAL) had been settled.

"Nabayaran mo naman 'yung taxes mo at 'yung ipinakita mo (You already paid you taxes, and you did something good). And mind you, I am ready to protect every businessman, kagaya ninyo (like you)," he assured further.

Tan had provided PAL planes to fly Kuwait-based OFWs back to the Philippines in the wake of reports about the abuses they suffered in that country.  The Gokongwei family, which owns the budget carrier Cebu Pacific, did the same. 

READ: Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific mount special flights for OFW repatriation from Kuwait  

"On behalf of our countrymen, salamat po (thank you)  and I will remember you for all time," Duterte said, referring to both Tan and the Gokongweis.

The President also thanked Tan for extending help to Marawi City.

"Marami kang ibinigay sa Marawi na tulong (You gave a lot of help to Marawi). I really appreciate you and your family. Simula ngayon, pangako ko, wala ka nang marinig sa akin. Tahimik na ako. Tapos na eh (From now on, I promise, you'll hear nothing from me. I'll keep quiet. It's done)," he said.

In October last year, Duterte slammed PAL for its unpaid navigational fees. He warned the flag carrier to settle its debts or he would shut down of NAIA Terminal 2, which PAL uses exclusively for most of its regional and international flights.

The following month, the airline paid nearly P6 billion to the Department of Transportation.

READ: PAL pays gov't ₱6B to settle unpaid fees  

The President said Tan has nothing to worry about as he is not taking anything against him.  

"Just do the right thing and I will do the right thing and we will be all right. Huwag kayong mag-alala na meron akong masamang loob, wala po. Kasi ganun lang ang pulitika. Kanya-kanyang choice 'yan kung sinong gusto mong tulungan (Don't think I have grudges, I have none. That's really the way politics works. You choose who you want to help)," he said.

Duterte said he did not tolerate corruption and urged Tan to report any government worker who would ask for bribes.