NPC alliance with PDP-Laban a 'working partnership' – Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines – With the elections over, it's now a time to move forward and cooperate with the new administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
This was how senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian explained the alliance between the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the political party of Duterte.
The NPC, the country's second largest political party, had supported the presidential bid of Senator Grace Poe. Several days after the May 9 polls, the NPC announced that it would sign an "Agreement of Support" with PDP-Laban.
Gatchalian, a member of NPC, said the alliance is an expression of cooperation with and support for the new administration.
"Of course pagkatapos ng (after the) election we want to help out each other. Tapos na eleksyon eh (Elections iare over). We have to move forward. We believe that cooperating and supporting the new administration is the right thing to do, in order for our country to move forward," he said in a Rappler Talk interview on Thursday, June 2.
Asked if the party spoke with Poe before it allied with PDP-Laban, Gatchalian said: "Senator Grace was gracious enough to concede two or 3 hours after the election. I think she also broadcast that she will support and cooperate with the new administration. With that, I think everything follows. NPC signed a partnership with PDP-Laban. This is a working partnership to support the legislation of the new administration."
NPC is the 3rd political party to coalesce with PDP-Laban, following the Nacionalista Party of former Senate President Manuel Villar and Lakas-CMD of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Working under Duterte admin
As a new member of the legislative chamber, Gatchalian said he expects that it won't be "business as usual" when it comes to the work of Congress under a Duterte presidency.
"It's not going to be business as usual, because there's going to be a lot of discussions, debates about certain policies and certain legislation, as well as certain actions. For example, the death penalty will be quite a discussion in the Senate and in Congress," he said.
As a first-time senator, Gatchalian said his legislative agenda would focus on 3 issues: education, one of the central messages in his campaign; promoting small and medium enterprises; and empowering local government units.
Gatchalian has earlier said that he wants to provide free higher education in all state universities and colleges, an undertaking which would require at least P15 billion to implement. (READ: The Leader I Want: Sherwin Gatchalian’s to-fix list for 2016)
The senator-elect said this would ensure that many Filipino students will be better equipped and educated to land jobs.
"In many countries – Latin America, Europe – they have already abolished their tuition fees because higher education is becoming a need rather than an option for many countries. The world is getting smaller and competitive, so we need to make sure that our workforce has the best education and the best training to prepare them to get better jobs," he said. – Rappler.com
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