Lacson convinced that experience, track record makes him most competent 'presidentiable'

1/29/2022 5:30:00 PM

The Nation's Leading Newspaper

Interviewed during Manila Builetin’s ‘’MB Hotseat’’ forum, Lacson said his track record and experience in his 30 years in the military and as PNP, and 18 years as a senator make him qualified to man the helm of government.

The Nation's Leading Newspaper

Interviewed during Manila Builetin’s ‘’MB Hotseat’’ forum, Lacson said his track record and experience in his 30 years in the military and as Philippine National Police (PNP), and 18 years as a senator make him qualified to man the helm of government.

‘’Between us ni SP (Senate President), we have 83 years of experience as legislators and executive branch. We’re banking on that. While iba siguro di matawaran ang kakayanan (our capacity). We are presenting ourselves as your President and VP aspirants with concrete implementable and future-proof strategy to steer this country to where it should be come 2022 onwards to 2028. So yan lang sa amin. We prepared long for this and our track record, without sounding repetitive, can speak for itself,’’ he said.

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Lacson said. ‘’I think I have the experience and my track record can speak for itself. I believe this may be self-serving but I believe I am the most competent among those who are running,’’ he added. Interviewed during Manila Builetin’s ‘’MB Hotseat’’ forum, Lacson said his track record and experience in his 30 years in the military and as Philippine National Police (PNP), and 18 years as a senator make him qualified to man the helm of government. He ran for the presidency in 2014 but lost.

His 2022 running mate is Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). ‘’Between us ni SP (Senate President), we have 83 years of experience as legislators and executive branch. We’re banking on that. While iba siguro di matawaran ang kakayanan (our capacity).

We are presenting ourselves as your President and VP aspirants with concrete implementable and future-proof strategy to steer this country to where it should be come 2022 onwards to 2028. So yan lang sa amin. We prepared long for this and our track record, without sounding repetitive, can speak for itself,’’ he said. Asked what are his advantages over other candidates, Lacson replied: “Tulad ng sinabi ko (As I have said)…track record, experience, competence. And I have always taken pride in my long years of service, ang aking (my integrity).

When I was Chief PNP di ako tumanggap ng suhol (I did not accept bribes). Even now as a legislator it is a known fact I don’t avail of my pork barrel.’’ On the question of which of his opponents right now he respects most, here is what Lacson said: ‘’All of them. Because di naman sila ang kalaban (They are not the enemies). Mali ang notion na porke’t sila competitors o katunggali (it is a wrong notion that just because they are our competitors) … we don’t look at them as kalaban (enemies).

Ang kalaban natin dito, pandemic, joblessness, kahirapan. Ang daming kalaban (Our enemies are pandemic, joblessness, poverty. We have many enemies).’’ Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security committee, sees corruption as the biggest problem of the Philippines. ‘’Corruption.

Kasi day to day.. We see it in the streets, we see it in government t offices, we see it even in the highest echelons of society or even in govt. kaya formula ko lagi, let’s start with government (My formula is, let’s start with government),’’ he pointed out. ‘’The solution lies in the face of the problem itself, it is also government.

Nobody can correct government except government itself. So everything starts with government. Over time nawala ang trust and respect Yan ang aim namin ni SP Sotto (Over time, the trust and respect were lost and that is my and the Senate President’s aim)… restore the trust and respect of the people sa government. Without that trust, government cannot function well. Kasi laging suspect (We are always suspect),’’ he added.

On the question of who should Duterte anoint as his chosen one in the current presidential race, Lacson said he could not divine what the President is thinking ‘’but between now and May 9 is still a long time.’’ If chosen as the next President of the Republic, Lacson said he would continue with President Duterte’s ‘’Build Build Build’’ program so that investments would come in. He also said he would continue with Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs and anti-crime campaigns but these need tweaking, a different approach. ‘ ’Huwag masyado sa law enforcement. Tignan natin holistically ang problema (We should look at the problem holistically,’’ he added.

`And then ang fight vs corruption ni PRRD (Duterte) ituloy (it should be continued). Kaya lang may variation, huwag ang double standard (But there is a variation.. no double standard)… Kasi alam natin Pharmally, Philhealth, Bureau of Customs). Parang sa halip na involved ka na sa pumasok na shabu tapos corruption mga tara, tapos ilipat mo lang ng opisina kasi kaalyado (Although you are involved in ‘shabu’ (illegal drug), allies are just transferred to another office).

So yan ang mga dapat ituloy pero dapat i-improve (So that should be continued but must be improved upon),’’ he explained. Queried on whether he would welcome a Duterte endorsement in his presidential bid, Lacson replied: ’’Yes of course.’’ ‘’Pag tinanggihan mo, parang napaka-arrogant mo naman (If you reject it, it would appear that you are arrogant.) An endorsement especially from the president but not just from the president, pag ikaw tumatakbo maski anong position, huwag lang sa demonyo, tatanggapin mo ang endorsement (If you are running for any position, you have to accept it but not from a demon),’’ he said. On moves to revive the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), Lacson said he favors it because it would enhance our patriotism.

On his plans for the unvaccinated in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: ‘’Maximize vaccination and information campaign. “Make the vaccines available but equally important..make the vaccines accessible,’’ he added. Lacson said the current 36,000 plus shortage of teachers (out of 865,000 teachers) should be filled up by making it attractive.

He proposed to upgrade the salaries of teachers. Lacson said there are good education-related laws but the problem is ‘’implementation.’’ ‘’And that’s where we can contribute. Galing kami sa legislation (We – Lacson and Sotto- came from legislation). We know the laws we passed and we are in a better position to implement the laws,’’ he emphasized.

Lacson said he supports the transition period in the Bangsamoro political jurisdisdiction. On the composition of a Lacson Cabinet, he said there should be ‘’skills matching’’ to put the right person for the job. He cited the case of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) chief who came from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and replaced a military officer. He earlier insisted that the PhilHealth should be headed by finance-minded person. On his rejection of the pork barrel system and his refusal to use the P200 million year pork barrel alloted to him, Lacson said his staff came up with an estimate of P300 billion that he saved by not using his pork barrel the past 18 years.

He said his pork barrel were either deleted, not given or realigned for the Research and Development (R&D) program of government because this is not given much importance by the national government. Lacson listed his five priorities in his first 100 days 1. Reform the budget system by adopting the bottom up scheme. For the past 10 years unused appropriations, P328 billion on the average from 2010-2020 so sayang (it was waste). Ang nade-deny mo roon ang dapat nabigyan ng social services, ang dapat mabigyan ng livelihood, at ang entire country dapat bigyan ng infrastructure (You deny social services to those in need, you deny livelihood opportunities and you deny infrastructures that the country requires).

2. In this day and age of ICT, mag-digitalize na tayo, naiwan tayo rito, di tayo automated sa BOC, BIR (we should digitalize, we are being left behind, we are not automated at the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue). Pag hindi digitalized, ang corruption will always be there kasi may human intervention (If you are not digitalized, corruption is always there because there is human intervention). 3. Corruption.

Ito tingin ko pumapatay sa atin for the longest time (I think this is the one that is killing us the longest time). We eliminate or minimize corruption in government, we solve at least 50 percent of the country’s problems. 4. Agriculture must get national government support. Filipino farmers and fishermen are being strangled by government-authorized importations when their produce are available.

5, The Philippines has 3.12 million irrigable hectares but are not irrigated. Agriculture has three components sa agriculture: seeds, patubig, pataba (seeds, irrigation and fertilizers). ‘’Ito ang support ng government, bakit di natin ibigay? (This is the government support but why are these not given?). I authored the Free Irrigation act but it’s wanting in implementation,’’he explained.

Asked if government could be more efficient if there would he dismissals, Lacson replied: “”There are 1.3-1.4 million government employees and officials. So even if I am left with 500,000 government employees so long as they are performing and honest employees I’m ok with that.’’ If after a one-year ban, will you accept a Cabinet post should he lose in the May 2022 presidential race? ‘’Sa ngayon (As of now, my mindset is to rest (pahinga talaga),’’ he said.

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