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A no-nonsense public servant for more than 40 years, SENATOR PANFILO “PING” MORENA LACSON has been circumspect in matters of public interest and committed against various forms of corruption and wrongdoing, in line with his personal credo: “Ang tama, ipaglaban. Ang mali, labanan. (What is right must be kept right. What is wrong must be set right).”

Lacson first earned a tough, no-nonsense reputation while serving in the Philippine National Police: solving high-profile crimes including kidnap-for-ransom cases in the 1980s and 1990s; and reviving the PNP’s glory days as Chief, PNP from 1999 to 2001.

In the Senate, Lacson is an untiring, tenacious watchdog of the national budget, making sure dubious congressional insertions (a.k.a. pork barrel) and useless appropriations are checked and deleted during plenary debates. More about Senator Lacson here.

This website has official photos, videos, speeches and statements of Senator Lacson. The #PingBills section contains his bills, resolutions and committee reports in the 18th Congress. The #Usaping Katotohanan section seeks to correct misimpressions about Sen. Lacson and his advocacies.

Simple, Cheap and Effective: Contact Tracing Solutions from LGUs that the DOH Can Adopt

contact tracing

Simple technologies that we now take for granted may yet be the biggest help in fighting the spread of COVID-19, as shown by the initiatives of at least two local governments.

In Carmona, Cavite, the local government under Mayor Roy Loyola has developed a contact tracing app – the Carmona COVID-19 Tracker. The app, which works on Android and iOS, can use the mobile phone’s GPS to track users’ location history.

The app allows users to log interactions with other people; and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.

Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under Mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live – similar to that which he introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.

Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.

With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the COVID-triggered lockdowns, among others.

Our national agencies, including the Department of Health, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.

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On the Concerns Raised About the Anti-Terrorism Bill

As a responsible member of the community of nations, we are duty-bound to improve upon our laws towards ensuring we are able to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions, meet international standards, and fulfill state obligations with the UN – while putting in place safeguards against possible abuse.

The concerns being raised by the progressive and leftist groups as well as human rights advocates have been adequately addressed during the Committee on National Defense and Security public hearings, as well as the debates and interpellations in plenary.

Enough safeguards are in place. The critics – some of whom had been extended the opportunity to help craft the bill – should read first the bill itself to see for themselves what I am saying.

That said, once the House of Representatives approves the adopted Senate version of the Anti-Terror bill on third and final reading, they will then transmit it to us for enrollment and subsequent submission to the President.

Since it is a certified urgent measure, the three-day rule restriction as required under the Constitution is lifted. That gives the bill a chance to be enacted into law within 30 days unless vetoed by the President, which is very unlikely considering the certification that he issued.

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‘VIP Bill’ vs COVID-19 at Ibang Virus Threats, Isinampa ni Ping

Dahil siyensiya at teknolohiya lamang ang tamang gabay para malutas ang mga problemang dulot ng pandemya gaya ng COVID-19, isinulong ni Senador Panfilo Lacson ang pagtatag ng isang institusyong tutuklas sa mga solusyon para sa sakit na ito.

Sa ilalim ng Senate Bill 1543, layon ni Lacson na itatag ang Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Ayon kay Lacson, kada araw ay patuloy sa pagtaas ang bilang ng mga nahahawaan ng COVID-19. Sa Pilipinas lamang ay hindi bababa sa 873 na ang kumpirmadong namatay. Dahil din dito, nagkaroon ng malawakang suliraning panlipunan at pang-ekonomiya ng bansa.

“These problems can only be addressed using science and technology, specifically through research and development (R&D). It is therefore imperative that we establish a Research Institute that delves into the study of viruses of the field of virology. The country needs diagnostics to detect and limit the spread of the existing viruses; vaccines to provide long-term protection; treatments to save lives in the shorter term, and social science to understand their behavioral and societal implications,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa panukala.

Related:Β Lacson Bill Establishes Philippine Virology Science and Technology Institute to Fight Novel Virus Threats
Continue reading “‘VIP Bill’ vs COVID-19 at Ibang Virus Threats, Isinampa ni Ping”

Lacson Bill Establishes Philippine Virology Science and Technology Institute to Fight Novel Virus Threats

Stressing the importance of science and technology in addressing the problems caused by novel viruses such as the coronavirus, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a bill establishing the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

Lacson, in Senate Bill 1543, noted the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has infected more than five million and killed more than 340,000 worldwide, including 14,319 infected and 873 dead in the Philippines alone.

Worse, he said the health crisis from COVID-19 has resulted in widespread social and economic crises, “the impacts of which are devastating, especially to the poor.”

“These problems can only be addressed using science and technology, specifically through research and development (R&D). It is therefore imperative that we establish a Research Institute that delves into the study of viruses of the field of virology. The country needs diagnostics to detect and limit the spread of the existing viruses; vaccines to provide long-term protection; treatments to save lives in the shorter term, and social science to understand their behavioral and societal implications,” Lacson said in his bill.

Related: ‘VIP Bill’ vs COVID-19 at Ibang Virus Threats, Isinampa ni Ping
Continue reading “Lacson Bill Establishes Philippine Virology Science and Technology Institute to Fight Novel Virus Threats”

On the Appointment of Wilkins Villanueva as PDEA Director General

Director General-designate Wilkins Villanueva is such one good and professional officer who is fit for the job, having a long career in drug enforcement.

The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA.

With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him.

I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others.

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On the Possible Easing of Quarantine Restrictions on Business Activities in Metro Manila

ncr-lockdown

Considering that the economy is reeling from a prolonged lockdown which directly affects not only individual and family income but the country’s revenue collections as well, thus draining the coffers like an open faucet, it is wise for our policy makers to ease up the restrictions currently being imposed.

As long as physical distancing and other protocols are strictly observed and enforced by authorities, I support this latest plan to allow business activities to resume, even on a limited scale.

Having said that, I hope the finer details of the decision to ease the quarantine restrictions would be based on sound data, and not just that of the Department of Health, whose limitations in handling data may potentially lead to wrong decisions. After all, we all do want to stay alive even during a lockdown.

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#PINGterview: DOH, Epicenter ng Kapalpakan vs COVID; IATF, Dumiretso na sa Pangulo!

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* overpricing at DOH amid COVID-19 threat [0:19]
* DOH insiders provided information on irregularities [4:12]
* expose is meant to put DOH on notice [5:58]
* wrong decisions due to wrong data [11:12]
* IATF members dismayed with DOH performance [22:50]
* proposed tax on Netflix [25:48]

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: DOH, Epicenter ng Kapalpakan vs COVID; IATF, Dumiretso na sa Pangulo!”

#PINGterview: DOH Overpricing, NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas, Bayanihan Act Extension

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* second wave of COVID? [0:21]
* pattern of overpricing at DOH [3:05]
* day of reckoning vs those behind overpricing [7:46]
* need for extension of Bayanihan Act [12:17]
* fate of NCRPO chief Debold Sinas [13:21]
* ABS-CBN franchise issue [16:50]

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: DOH Overpricing, NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas, Bayanihan Act Extension”

Seeking Clarifications on the PhilHealth’s COVID Tests

At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the government’s response against COVID-19, Sen. Lacson relayed to the appropriate officials some questions from the public on the tests by PhilHealth and Philippine Red Cross. “We’re not finding fault here… Nang lumabas na 45% ng tests ang na-conduct ng Red Cross, maraming natuwa (kasi ang) impression na dumating sa kanila, libre. Mabuti at maliwanagan ang kababayan natin na may protocols na dapat sundin.”

For his part, PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said they will publish guidelines to clarify the issue on who can qualify for free COVID-19 testing under PhilHealth, “so the public will be informed.”

‘Bakit Higit Doble ang Presyo ng Gobyerno Kesa Private Sector?’: At the Senate Hearing on the COVID-19 Situation

At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the government’s response against COVID-19, Sen. Lacson questioned the seeming overprice in the purchase of equipment to address the pandemic.

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “‘Bakit Higit Doble ang Presyo ng Gobyerno Kesa Private Sector?’: At the Senate Hearing on the COVID-19 Situation”