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Duterte thanks airline tycoons for flying OFWs from Kuwait home

A Cebu Pacific aircraft prepares to land while a Philippine Airlines plane taxis at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in this 2014 file photo. RUDY SANTOS, file                                                                                                              
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday thanked Philippine Airlines chairman Lucio Tan for helping fly home distressed overseas Filipino workers and promised that he would no longer talk about the airline's previous liabilities.
 
Duterte said he and Tan had political differences but he is setting them aside because of the PAL owner's willingness to bring home the distressed workers. 
 
"We had a feud but it was not that deep-seated. He made up for it during the subsequent events in the life of a Filipino. They offered to deploy their planes for free," the president told the OFWs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. 
 
Duterte assured Tan that he does not have ill feelings towards him, even promising to protect him and other businessmen from harassment. 
 
"We all have a choice as to who we will help. It's over and you already made up for it several times. Because of this incident, Mr. Lucio Tan, I'm going to shut up forever. You won't hear anything from me that you did not pay," the president said. 
 
"Mind you, I am ready to protect every businessman like you. There is no corruption in this government. If someone asks money from you, tell me and we will send them to Kuwait to have them killed," he added. 
 
PAL, the country's flag carrier, has settled P6 billion in navigational charges it owed the government after Duterte threatened to shut down its operations
 
Duterte also thanked Cebu Pacific chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei for also offering free trips to the distressed OFWs. 
 
"I'd like to just say to Mr. Lucio Tan and the Gokongwei family, Lance, in behalf of my... in behalf of our countrymen, thank you. I will remember you for all time," the president said. 
 
Duterte said the Gokongweis always make available their airplanes in times of crisis. 
 
"I'm happy. They are doing this in the spirit of being a Filipino," he said.
 
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