Lacson and Sotto present budget reform, a “holistic” anti-drug campaign

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 9) – While they have yet to confirm their intention to run in tandem in the 2022 elections, Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gave an overview of their possible platforms during their so-called “Tour de Luçon”.

They began their visits to various provinces of Luzon on Thursday. In a 17-minute video released by Lacson’s office, the potential running mates met with local businessmen in Pampanga and discussed the country’s biggest problems – the COVID-19 pandemic, a national debt exceeding 11 trillion yen and the West Philippine Sea problem, among others.

“Some of these issues that we have highlighted are unfortunately not really addressed directly by the current waiver, so we would like to take everyone’s pulse and when the time is right, toss our hats into the arena and offer what we have, offer the solutions that we think we have, ”said Sotto, President of the Senate.

Lacson and Sotto said earlier that they had also consulted with former and sitting government officials to help them decide whether they would run in the presidential and vice-presidential elections, respectively.

Lacson, who made an unsuccessful bid for president in 2004, said the country should learn from the business sector and be more like Singapore in terms of fiscal discipline or balancing income and spending.

“Ito yung gusto naming idiscuss sa inyo, is it a good … governance concept that has nothing to do with natin sa paghandle in a private [corporation]”Lacson said.” Yung Singapore for example. Ang Singapore is a big company, actually. ‘Pag sinabi nating corporation, hindi naman ito kundi’ yung for profit babalik investments in the form of social services, public service.

[Translation: This is what we want to discuss with you. Is it a sound concept in governance to liken it to a private corporation? Singapore for example, is actually a big corporation. When we say corporation, we do not mean profit oriented but the investments return in the form of social services, public service. ]

He added that in preparing the national spending plan, the government should not impose a budget cap and “start from scratch” every year.

In a statement, Lacson said that in a separate consultation in Tarlac on Thursday, he lobbied for his proposed village empowerment budget reform bill, which aims to secure millions of pesos for the annual development fund of local government units.

Meanwhile, Sotto has said he will campaign for a “holistic” drug program different from President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

“I am proposing a program to really solve the problem of illegal drugs and drug abuse in the country and not as it is currently being done. It is lacking in many ways. There has to be a holistic approach to doing this, ”Sotto said.

After visiting Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac on Thursday, Lacson and Sotto held consultative meetings with local officials in Pangasinan and La Union on Friday. Over the weekend, they are expected in the provinces of Ilocos and Cagayan.

Sotto heads the Nationalist People’s Coalition, a political party aligned with the administration. Sotto said the party can adopt Lacson if the former Philippine national police chief decides to run for president. He also doesn’t see a problem in running against Duterte if the president also runs in the run for vice-president, saying he wants to offer an “alternative” to the people.


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