There were sparks of personal strikes against each other- but they appeared like firecrackers compared to the missiles detonated during the current presidential debates in America.
That aside, the key issues on poverty, crime and Mindanao as a region , were ventilated by the five contenders. What were the highlights?
VP Jejomar Binay – Since Agriculture provides the least contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product)- Agriculture must be Modernized/ Agricultural inputs as seeds and fertilizers must be Subsidized/ Post Harvest Facilities must be provided since this is where the farmers lose the value of their produce the most (after harvest).
More decisive leadership is needed to stop criminality. Underspending is under -performing. Will increase budget and spend fast for infrastructure and livelihood projects.
Senator Miriam Santiago – Â Everybody has nice plans to alleviate poverty. But to finance such plans, we have to increase taxes and reduce less progressive taxes. The focus will then be on Health- because sick people are not productive people .Education as this is the people’s ticket out of poverty and infrastructure to entice investors.
The Anti-Dynasty Bill is in the constitution and the IRR (Implementing Rules and Â Regulations) must be passed; otherwise amend the constitution on anti-dynasty law. EDCA should be resisted as well as the plan of giants like China and America to impose their sovereignty on RP. The Philippines must lead a 10-nation position vs China on the Spratlys issue.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte-Â Criminality and corruption are the two targets he will eradicate in 3-to-6 months of the presidency, including drug and smuggling cartels. Â “Biyayang Dagat” was a failure for the fishermen because of corruption. The “5-6” usurious lenders must be stopped. Food terminals must be set up for farmers to unload their produce. The Land Bank and the DOTC must combine to provide financing for credit unions and cooperatives nationwide.
Stop the budgetary discrimination vs Mindanao where Region 11 only got P 19-B of the trillions budget. Concentration of budget is in Metro Manila and environs. The answer to the failure of BBL is Federalism that will include even groups like those of Nur Misuari.
Senator Grace Poe – Hunger still stalks the nation affecting 2 million families. The free lunch for public school students and subsidies for the agricultural sector are a must. The Government must immediately activate the P70-B Coconut levy to the direct benefit of the millions of coconut farmers to replant and do high value crops and provide scholarship for children. Cheap power (rehabilitate and new) must light up Mindanao.30% of GAA (national budget) must be given to Mindanao and greater devolution of LGUS adopted with their Â share of IRA increased to more than 40%. First executive order will be to implement the spirit of the FOI Bill or muscle Congress to pass it.
Every nation fights for self interest so RP must be self reliant militarily like Singapore. For Mindanao, a substitute for BBL should be in place to include all ethnic groups and even Christians while Â massive infrastructure program will be done in Mindanao simultaneously as a “catch up” program for its under development. A Mindanao rail system worth Â P70-B Â and 2ooo kilometers of new cemented roads are Â affordable fiscally Â and will Â jump start Mindanao’s commerce and tourism.
Secretary Mar Roxas- Implement new metro rail system as he had opposed the renewal of the corrupted deal (previously) with the private sector. Expand the PPP program to increase the 2M families Â lifted out of poverty and increase those covered by Philhealth to Â more than the current 6.5 million families. Provide financing for fisher folks to get rid of userers, Â advanced technology like the fish-finding radar, post-catch facilities like freezers and infrastructure to enable the poor to bring their products to market.
1.7 milllion drug addicts in the country is a big problem. Will eradicate two ways: annihilating drugs lords and fire corrupt police, judges and public officials in cahoots with syndicates. Intensify sitio to house surveillance of users at barangay levels.
The solutions offered above are not really generic as to be useless . However, in another fora or through media, the candidates can more specifically ventilate the minutiae about their targets: funding source, legislative support needed, legal infrastructure and time line for their suggested programs.
That will make their statements more credible an Â workable. The fact that the GMA & TV Â coverage of that debate was No 1 trending worldwide in the Net Â means a lot of people would take pains to know who they should elect as president of this country.
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