Find out why Duterte is ‘eternally grateful’ to Manila Bay reclamation proponent Kitson Kho
President Rodrigo Duterte was all out in giving lavish praise to a Chinese-Filipino businessman, Kitson Soriano Kho, who donated P500 million to build the country’s biggest drug rehabilitation center in Bukidnon.
“I am eternally grateful to a great philanthropist together with his son, si Mr. Kho. I said, kanina pagdating ko, ‘Look at this man, he has a very good soul’. Unfortunately, there are (only) a few of them in this planet,” said Duterte in a speech during the opening of the five-hectare Northern Mindanao Wellness and Reintegration Center (NMWRC) in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Duterte contrasted Kho’s generosity to selfish Filipino oligarchs who have contributed zero to helping the poor.
“Wala ngang Pilipino na sige graft and corruption diyan, mga putang inang ‘yan na nagbigay ng ganito (kalaki). Ano ba naman ito, pittance lang sa kanila?” said Duterte.
On top of his initial donation through the Chinese-backed Friends of the Philippines Foundation (FPF),Kho has also pledged to contribute P13 million annually for the rehab facility’s budget for 500 to 800 drug dependents.
Kho, through UAA Kinming Development Corp., is building a 408-hectare reclaimed island next to the Baseco compound in Tondo, Manila using government state funds.
UAA’s main backer is Citic Group Corp. Ltd., the state-owned investment company of China, which has also sought Duterte’s approval for the construction of a world class airport at Sangley Point, Cavite.
Kho, his son, and business partners made a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacanang last January. A month later, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the Philippine Reclamation Authority approved Kho Manila Bay reclamation project.
But Duterte was adamant that he does not intervene in matters involving government contracts.
“Walang transaction about the Philippines whether it is a reclamation, whether it is ‘yung mga casino,” said Duterte in the same speech.