MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidates on Sunday, February 27, bared their plans for their first days in office if elected as chief executive of the country.
During CNN Philippines’ Presidential Debates, moderator Pinky Webb asked the candidates this question: “If you become the 17th president of the Philippines, gaano po kabilis mararamdaman ng Pilipino ang impact ng inyong leadership o pamumuno? Sabi po kasi dati ng ating Presidente in 2016, three to six months he is going to wipe out drugs as well as end corruption. So kayo po?“
(If you become the 17th president of the Philippines, how soon would Filipinos feel the impact of your leadership? You see, our President in 2016 said that in three to six months he would wipe out drugs as well as end corruption. How about you?)
Nine of the 10 presidential candidates took part in the debates. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the survey frontrunner who had skipped interviews and debates sponsored by major news organizations, didn’t show up at the CNN Philippines event. Since filing his candidacy in October 2021 and kicking off his official campaign on February 8, Marcos has yet to bare his platform of government.
Ernesto Abella, who also served as a spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte before he was appointed to the Department of Foreign Affairs, said he would encourage civil society groups to take part in his governance. He said that he could do this in three to six months.
“Unang-una, ang mag-participate sa local government dahil may puwang po sa Local Government Code na 25% dapat ng sumasali sa pamamahala ay galing po sa civil society. So gusto po natin hikayatin sila, to look after local enforcement, to look after trades,” Abella said.
(First, I will encourage civil society to participate in governance because Local Government Code mandates that 25% of those who participate in governance should come from them. We want to encourage them, to look after local enforcement, to look after trades.)
Civil society comprises organizations that are not associated with government, like schools and universities, advocacy groups, professional associations, churches, and cultural institutions.
Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson did not give a timeline for what he would accomplish during his first days in office. He said that he didn’t believe in deadlines. But there’s one thing he would want to focus on: government cleansing.
“I will sign a waiver of my rights of the Bank Secrecy Act that will set the tone of my presidency. In the first 100 days, I will do an internal cleansing of the net corrupt and the discipline of the employees. Tuloy-tuloy po ‘yan sa simula ng first 100 days (This will be continuously done during the start of my first 100 days). And, at the end of term, when the Filipino looks back, sasabihin n’ya (they would say), I’m better off [since] this administration started,” he said.
Lacson was part of the Senate blue ribbon committee that conducted investigation into the government’s anomalous multi-billion pandemic contracts with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.
Faisal Mangondato said he would change the leadership of agencies and appoint qualified individuals for the positions.
“Katulad sa eroplano, lumilipad maski wala ang piloto. Ang ibig sabihin, ang hahawak ng ating gobyerno ay ‘yung mga propesyonal na may civil service. Sila ang mga undersecretaries na may security of tenures. May eksperiyensiya na nanungkulan sila sa mga naunang mga administration hanggang sa kasalukuyang administration,” he said.
(Just like an airplane, our government can fly without a pilot. This means, those who will lead are the professionals who have civil service [eligibility]. They are the undersecretaries who have security of tenures. They have experience serving past and administrations.)
Jose Montemayor Jr.
Physician Jose Montemayor Jr. said he would focus on pandemic response, specifically on economic recovery. He said Filipinos would feel the economic recovery in one year under him.
“[On] unemployment, we will plan to reduce that from 9 million to 3.4 million, pre-pandemic levels. [In terms of] job creation, we will be dynamic with that para sa ating manggagawa (for our laborers). Tunay at tapat sa mga manggagawa, ‘yan po ay ibaba natin from 3.9 to 2.4 million nal ang (True and faithful to our laborers, we will lessen unemployed Filipinos from 3.9 million to 2.4 million). So that will be felt within one year,” Montemayor said.
Boxing champ-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao said he planned to put up a mega prison in his first three months in office.
“Dahil gusto ko makita sa kulungan ang mga kawatan d’yan sa gobyerno (Because I want to see corrupt government officials in jail),” Pacquiao said. He added he would order the audit of government employees from local government governments up to national offices.
The senator said he would provide livelihood to Filipinos by helping micro, small, and medium enterprises. “Kapital para makapag-start sila ng business at makapagbigay ng trabaho sa ating mga kababayan dahil trabaho po – income, kita – ang kailangan ng mga kababayan natin,” he added.
(I will give startup capital for businesses so they could provide jobs to our countrymen because jobs and income are what they need.)
Vice President Leni Robredo said that, if she wins the presidency, she would push for an executive order on full disclosure during the first days of her office.
“Ang lahat na government offices and instrumentalities, ire-require po natin to make public, lahat na public transactions.” she said. (We will require all government offices and instrumentalities to make public all their public transactions.)
Robredo, however, acknowledge this might not be enough but it would be an important step to let the public know that she is serious about fixing the government.
The Vice President also said she would appoint public servants who have good track records and expertise.
Robredo also said she would prioritize providing jobs, quality education, and improving basic health services.
Norberto Gonzales, who also served as defense secretary and national security adviser during the Arroyo administration, said he would push for charter change during his first 100 days in his office.
“Titingnan natin kung kailangan tayong maging parliamentary system. ‘Yun pong ina-advocate ng iba na federal, hindi po ako pabor diyan, pero puwede ring pag-usapan. (Let’s see if we can shift to a parliamentary system. I’m not in favor federalism, like others are advocating, but we can talk about it.) Perhaps we could convert our regions into autonomous ones,” he said.
Leody de Guzman
Labor leader Leody de Guzman said that, if elected, he would start his agenda of labor first policy as he planned to end contractualization.
“Pasensiya na ‘yung mga malalaking negosytante, hindi ito para inyo. Una, sa labor first policy – ititigil ko ‘yung contractualization. Ipasasara ko ang lahat ng mga manpower agency,” he said.
(I’m sorry for the big businesses, but this is not for you. First is the labor first policy – I will put an end to contractualization. I will close all the manpower agencies.)
De Guzman also said he would increase the minimum wage to P750. Aside from this, he would fund local farmers, and even triple the budget, so that they would be encouraged to produce more. Just like Lacson, De Guzman did not give timelines for these, but said these would be his priorities during his first days in office.
Moreno did not give time frames for his agenda either, but said he would focus on improving the livelihood of Filipinos.
“Maitawid lang namin kayo, itatawid lang namin kayo. Ang hirap ng buhay. Tataas ang gasolina, tataas ang bilihin. ‘Yun bang maramdaman ninyong may gobyerno kayong maasahan, masasandalan. ‘Yun po ang pangarap ko sa inyo. Makatawid tayo, makaraos tayo sa pandemyang ito. Then, there will be certainty and predictability in our policy, sa ating pamamahala,” he said.
(The goal is to improve your lot in life, to just pull you out of where you are now. Life is difficult. The prices of oil and commodities are increasing. I will make you feel that there’s a government that you can depend on, you can lean on. That’s my dream for you. We can get through this pandemic. Then, there will be certainty and predictability in our policy, our governance.)
What do you think of these priorities of the candidates? Tweet us @rapplerdotcom using #WeDecide and #PHVote! – Rappler.com