Trillanes admits being weak in Visayas
Kristine B. Quintas/JMO (The Freeman) - February 23, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Independent vice presidential bet Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has admitted that he is weak in the Visayas but said he is not losing hope, especially among Cebuanos and residents of Visayan-speaking areas.

“To be honest, Visayas is where I am weakest. So I need to pay extra attention to the Visayas like having more advertisements, more sorties and ground operations,” he told reporters after a forum at the University of Cebu-Main Monday.

He said he may have to frequent the Visayas especially Cebu, the province with the most number of voters.

If elected VP, Trillanes promised that Cebu, having a “serious drug problem,” would be the top beneficiary of anti-illegal drug programs, which includes youth empowerment, pro-active information drive, among others.

 He said he will address the supply and demand side of the prevailing problem. The demand side could be treated through aggressive information dissemination drive; re-integration of drug users by placing them in rehabilitation centers instead of killing them. Trillanes favors death penalty to aid supply side as well as establishing special force and special detention facilities for the offenders of the anti-drug program.

 “Should I be elected as vice president and appointed as DILG secretary then our programs will encompass the whole country,” he said.

 He explained he also wants to be appointed as DILG secretary because it’s “within my area of competence and advocacies.”

 Trillanes said he will make the Philippine National Police a “potent fight force without violating the rights of the citizens.” Aside from that, he said he will modernize PNP’s crime solving method, strengthen internal affairs, provide increase for their benefits, and additional intelligence funds for their operations.

 He said he will lobby for the institutionalization of a national ID system, which is a database of all citizens’ basic information.

 “With this, believe me, yung mga criminal will have little space to maneuver once we already have the database. The authorities can immediately locate you,” he said.

 He said his platforms and advocacies center on peace and order, anti-corruption, and poverty alleviation.

 Moreover, Trillanes sees the need to develop the three engines of economic growth of the country – tourism, agriculture, and business process outsourcing to spur economic growth.

 Comparing Philippines to Malaysia, he said the latter gets around 27 million tourists in a year, way higher than the former with but five to six million tourists annually.

 He said if the country’s peace and order will be improved and infrastructures like airports, roads, and seaports are in place, tourists will start coming in. He said 10 million tourists will translate to P10 billion money inflow and more jobs for Filipinos.

 On the aspect of agriculture, Trillanes said there is a need to adopt and modernize the country’s farming method to produce cheap crops and huge profits for farmers.

 “Agriculture is a labor intensive. However, we have yet to modernize our farming method that’s why our farmers and their families remain poor. If we replicate the developed countries, wherein their farmers are rich, we can improve and change the lives of our poor farmers,” he added.

“Competent”

While courting Cebuano students, Trillanes said he is competent to serve the country as vice president, pointing out that he has been a public servant since 1991.

 He said that in course of his public service, he was able to push for the interest of public sectors such as policemen, retirees, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, fishermen, farmers, government employees and nurses.

 “I did my job and fulfilled my mandates. That is something should be looked into in comparison with other candidates,” he said. 

 Trillanes, a member of the Nacionalista Party, was first elected to the Senate in 2007 and is the first Philippine senator to be elected while in prison for staging the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, but he was pardoned by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

 He will join the vice presidential derby against co-Nacionalista Party members Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and other candidates from Bicol, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo. An addition to the vice presidential race is Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. – (FREEMAN)

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