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Where does Lacson stand on human rights and other issues? A quick look

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Where does Lacson stand on human rights and other issues? A quick look
Sen. Panfilo Lacson visits Imus Cathedral prior to the kick off of his presidential campaign.
Facebook / Ping Lacson
This is part of a series of articles about the top presidential candidates and their policy views. Read the rest in the series:

Ping Lacson
| Bongbong Marcos | Isko Moreno Domagoso | Leni Robredo | Manny Pacquiao

 

MANILA, Philippines — This isn't Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson's first presidential bid. He first ran for president in the 2004 polls, which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo — serving the unserved term of ousted President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada — won.

Now, he's vying for the same position again, armed with over four decades of experience as a public servant. 

Lacson envisions an administration run by good governance and free of corruption, where he can advocate "leadership by example."

His running mate is Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, who has earned a reputation of consensus building at the Senate, a chamber that has been said to have 24 independent republics. Together, they have a combined 83 years of public service.

Behind Lacson-Sotto's campaign team is former Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo "Ronnie" Puno, who chairs the National Unity Party. Puno is said to have supported the presidential bids of eventual winners Fidel V. Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem is still discussing who else to include in their senatorial line-up or in their "Magic 12", but have already endorsed some candidates so far. 

 

  • Dr. Minguita Padilla- She is an opthalmologist and health advocate who advocates for reforms in Philhealth, a faster response against COVID-19, and the elimination of corruption in the government, among others. She leads the Eyebank Foundation of the Philippines which helps blind individuals regain their eyesight through corneal transplants. 
     
  • Emmanuel Pinol- He formerly served as the Agriculture Secretary and the Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) before running for senator. Pinol earlier said that running for elections gives him a chance to present his advocacies to the public, and that in itself is a victory.
     
  • Guillermo Eleazar- He previously led the Philippine National Police as its chief before resigning to run as a senator. Among Eleazar's advocacies include: securing employment opportunities for senior citizens who are still fit to work, and pushing for the support system for the elderly when it comes to their basic needs and health. 
     
  • Monsour del Rosario- He served as a city councilor for the 1st District of Makati from 2010 to 2016, and later as a congressman representing the same district from 2016 to 2019. He authored the Telecommuting Act, which puts in place alternative work modes for employees who live in traffic-congested and overcrowded areas in hopes of helping them a work-life balance.

Lacson, the standard-bearer of Partido Reporma, has made clear his stand on several national issues:

Human rights

Lacson said he believes there are many ways where human rights and human rights can both be upheld at the same time, when asked about his thoughts about President Rodrigo Duterte's earlier remark that he only concerned himself with protecting the lives of people in his controversial war on drugs amid reports of extrajudicial killings. 

It should also be recalled that Lacson sponsored the Anti-Terrorism Act, which seeks to penalize and prevent terrorism.

Late last year, the Supreme Court struck down portions of the law which criminalizes various forms of dissent and protest if undertaken with the intention to harm, and granting the Anti-Terrorism Council the authority to adopt requests for terrorist designation by other jurisdictions or supranational jurisdiction.

The SC siad these sections were unconstitutional "for being overbroad and violative of freedom of expression."

Lacson has said since then that "we should honor our own processes", adding he was "happy" with the decision of the Supreme Court.

The senator, who was with Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group during the Martial Law years, denied his alleged involvement in human rights abuses, saying he was part of the police intelligence branch that handled criminality, and not with the security branch that dealt with the communist insurgency and other security concerns

Education

On his campaign page, Lacson said he wants to roll out a program called "Edukasyon Plus" that will keep youths in school and help them break the cycle of poverty.

Under the program, senior high school students will receive free tuition, placement in a government internship program, and a P5,000 monthly allowance. With "Edukasyon Plus" in place, students do not have to worry about choosing between going to school and helping out with their family, according to Lacson.


Land reform and land use

In 2019, Lacson filed "The Land Administration Reform Act" which will consolidate the government's functions for land administration and public land management. For him, unifying the government's land functions under one agency will drive up economic growth, promote sustainable development, and help in alleviating poverty.

The bill has been pending in the committee since July 2019. 

Nine years ago, Lacson sought for a probe into the allegedly questionable transfers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) after reports of unscrupulous individuals who were able to secure land titles belonging to private individuals with the cooperation of some officials of Department of Agrarian Reform and the Register of Deeds without going through the procedures. 

The government's agrarian reform program is in place to grant landless farmers and farmworkers the right to own the lands they till, or receive a fair share of the profits.

Jobs creation and retention

For Lacson, the issue of joblessness cannot be addressed if the country does not reopen the economy.

He earlier pushed for job opportunities for Filipino students and women. 

The presidential bet advocated for an emergency employment program that will provide more opportunities to students to work with the government and private sector, according to an interview with DZRH last year.

Under the arrangement, the government can also ask the private sector to hire graduates and undergraduates with higher qualifications. For him, the program will build on the skills of young Filipinos.

Lacson also vowed that women will have more chances of securing key posts in the government under his term, according to his campaign website. But the senator said he will still put a premium on the key qualifications of integrity and competence.

He promised gender equality would be one of the highlights of his presidency, if he is elected. 

Public services and social safety nets

Lacson has committed to continuing the best features of the "Build Build Build" and the Public-Private Partnership program (PPP), the flagship infrastructure programs of the Duterte and Noynoy Aquino administrations, respectively, as he recognized that having a good infrastructure program in place will bode well for the economic recovery.

In an interview with GMA News, the presidential bet said he is leaning more towards Aquino's PPP, noting the country is deep in debt at P5 trillion, indicating that working with private firms in implementing projects can compress expenditures further. 

"A shift to PPP will enable the government to keep building roads, bridges and other public infrastructure projects that remain in the pipeline without sacrificing other areas of governance that equally need appropriate budgets," he told the “The Mangahas Interviews."

As the pandemic continues to pummel the country, Lacson noted it is very clear there is no trade-off between the people's health and that of the economy. According to him, the national government "cannot" solve the pandemic on its own, as certain degree of control must be entrusted to local government units and the private sector who will both be in charge of rolling out free and robust vaccination campaigns against COVID-19. 

He also said he intends to ramp up funding for the Universal Healthcare Act (UHC), with the 2021 budget reaching P173.5 billion which he described as "low-cost."

"We will fund the 'high-cost' requirement of the UHC to cover all barangays, provide subsidies for all indirect contributory populations, ensure optimal benefits for healthcare workers, and achieve the target of 1 hospital bed per 800 population," he said as he presented his economic platform to the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines in October last year.

2022 ELECTIONS

PING LACSON

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