Our future

DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2021 - 12:00am

The good news is… Vico Sotto, our mayor in Pasig, has been internationally named as an “anti-corruption champion”. The bad news is, he is too young to run for President in 2022.

Instead, there are tarpaulins and motorcades urging Sara Duterte to run in 2022. She and the President have denied any intention for her to succeed her father in Malacanang. But this denial strategy has a familiar ring.

So, if it is not Sara, who will it be? Bong Go seems too visible to miss. One or the other means more of the same. Digong effectively gets a second term.

Are the two the best our country of over 100 million has to offer? No. There is Manny Pacquiao, who also seems interested.

Frankly, if these are the choices, I will go for Pacquiao. At least he spends his own money on his projects. But I worry about his hangers-on, specially because Manny is politically a babe in the woods.

What about Leni Robredo? Yes, she has the heart of a servant-leader. She has shown she can do a lot with the little that her office gets. But she has been so maligned by the Duterte trolls and there is no denying they are a force to reckon with. Does she want to brawl with them some more?

Who else?

I have three names who I think are intelligent, experienced, and have a heart for public service. But getting them elected president is another story.

Joey Salceda, congressman from Albay and chair of the House ways and means committee is on top of my wish list. Not only does he have one of the sharpest minds in Congress today, he was a well-loved governor of Albay for nine years and a congressman for longer than that.

Joey has good political instincts. He knows politics is local. Look at his Facebook page and see how he greets even barangay kagawad on their birthdays.

One of his top achievements was to make Albay the best prepared province for weather disturbances and other natural calamities for which he is internationally acknowledged.

Joey is also probably the most hardworking congressman who makes sense. All his sponsored bills are vitally needed for national development. He knows what keeps the country an economic laggard and his reform measures are the answers.

One of his latest advocacies is to promote vocational technology training for our youth. He is worried we are not producing the right workers for the job needs of the 21st century Fourth Industrial Revolution. As Joey puts it, “No jobs for the unskilled. No workers for skilled work.”

Joey speaks for the current generation. He recently observed that “internet access is like the land reform of this generation. As wealth becomes more and more tech-based, and jobs become more available online, we need to ensure every Filipino has access to cheap, reliable internet.”

Joey is strongly batting for satellite access liberalization because it could help bring prosperity to the countryside.

“In some far-flung areas, it’s too expensive for companies to set up broadband or fiber. Satellites don’t have that problem,” he said.

“Most job opportunities available on the internet do not care whether you’re in the province or in NCR. That is why connecting everyone, even the farthest communities in the farthest islands to the internet is important to me. It’s a tool for social equity.”

Joey is also for liberalizing the entry of foreign investments. He said the Philippines has locked itself out of significant foreign investments and the jobs they create.

One other reason for liberalization of investments, Salceda said, is to end a vicious cycle of undisturbed oligopolies that possess what he described as “excessive domestic player market power.”

“This, in turn, lowers the need to invest in efficiency, pads the domestic players’ profits, and allows them to influence political decisions so that they can remain undisturbed by foreign competition.”

Curiously, Joey also has projects like “Edible Landscaping sa Barangay” to support food security through organic farming technology.

I first met Joey when he was a very hot stock broker and analyst. I was amazed how this Atenean transformed himself into a politician with a strong empathy with constituents so different from the company he kept as a financial hotshot.

Unfortunately, he has not received national attention and he is himself afraid to run in a national contest. Sayang. He is the kind of young blood we need to lead this nation of young people into the new age.

The other name I had in mind is San Miguel’s Ramon S. Ang. But he firmly told me he is not interested in running. He said he has a lot of projects to finish and he thinks he can serve the people more from where he is in the private sector.

But I thought of him because in my many conversations with him, he impressed me with his long-term vision of development for the country and a good plan of how to get there. Best of all, he is now putting his and his stockholders’ money where his mouth is.

The last name I have is politically controversial… Frank Drilon. I knew him from college days in UP campus politics and covered him at the Senate.

Frank is the best experienced politician today to run Malacanang. He had been Labor, Justice and Executive Secretary. He served several terms as Senator and Senate President.

But what impressed me most was how he transformed Iloilo into a city so unlike any in this country. He cleaned up the river, built a river walk and a circumferential expressway that the region needed.

Sure, he used his pork barrel funds but we can see the result. If we were parliamentary, he would have been prime minister a long time ago.

Unfortunately, for 2022, only a miracle can save us from the kind of people aspiring to be president.

And one more thing… if anything happens to the 91-year-old Imelda Marcos between now and election day, BBM may just do a Noynoy and easily reclaim the Palace.

As for our future, what do you think?



Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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