In his first few days in office, President Rodrigo Duterte has promised that the Malacañang Palace will be open for the poor. He has also announced hotline 8888, a special number that people can call if they want to get in touch with the government and complain about its services.
Duterte said these in his message to families residing in Tondo, Manila.
“You can enter Malacañang, especially the school children,” said Duterte during a “solidarity dinner” with about 500 residents at the Del Pan Sports Complex.
Duterte even said that the children could “bring their pillows and bedsheets and sleep” in the Palace.
“If I can invite the whole Manila to Malacañang, I would,” he added.
Meanwhile, hotline 8888 will be the means by which the public can air their grievances regarding government offices or if they have any special concerns.
“If you were abused, raped or if you have a complaint against the government, call night and day and the important problems that I would see, I would address them,” said Duterte.
He was, however, quick to point out that in cases where he is unable to personally call the complainant, he will get in touch with the community officials and the police.
During the solidarity dinner, pancit bihon, fried chicken and pichi-pichi were served to those in attendance. The crowd was mostly composed of crowds from Isla Puting Bato, Vitas and Happyland.
During his day of inauguration as the newly-elected president, Duterte took the time to meet with rallyists from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) who protested near Malacañg.
Instead of being threatened by dispersal, however, the militants were surprised when the presidential guards invited them for a dialouge with Duterte at the Palace. The protesters were welcomed to the Osmeña Room although most of them were merely wearing t-shirts and jeans.