MEXICO, Pampanga – Each Filipino, even those just born today, is already in debt by at least a whopping P120,000 even as the national debt has reached P11.92 trillion as of end-September, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson lamented on Friday.
Lacson, who personally addressed attendees at his and Senate President Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III’s Online Kumustahan here, noted the national debt is projected to reach a staggering P13.42 trillion by June 2022.
This is compounded by the problems brought by the pandemic, which has negatively affected Filipinos’ health and the country’s economy, he said.
“Ang pandemya di natin alam kailan matatapos. Pangalawa, dulot ng pandemya, lumobo ang ating pambansang utang (We do not know when the pandemic will end. Second, because of the pandemic, our national debt has ballooned),” Lacson said.
He said that while the debt stood at P5.9 trillion when the Duterte administration started in 2016, it is projected to swell to P13.42 trillion by June 30, 2022.
The Bureau of Treasury said Friday that as of end-September, the national debt has ballooned to P11.92 trillion.
“Pag ganito kalaki ang utang natin, ang projected nating population sa June 2022, 111 milyon na tayo – bawa’t isa sa atin, pati ang pinapanganak sa oras na ito may taglay na utang na P120,000 (If our debt is this big, each of us – even those born now – will be in debt by P120,000),” he said.
Worse, Lacson said this is only one of the problems facing the next leader, with the other problems including peace and order and sovereignty at the West Philippine Sea.
Lacson – who is running for President under Partido Reporma alongside Sotto, who is running for Vice President under the Nationalist People’s Coalition – said the next leader must face all these problems while leading the nation to recovery from the pandemic.
He reiterated his call to empower this municipality, along with all local government units in the country, with proper funds for them to implement their local development projects – such as livelihood programs for drivers and senior citizens, as well as improved “ayuda” that will empower families amid the pandemic.
Lacson has championed empowering LGUs through his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) advocacy.
“Walang nakakaalam ng prayoridad at pangangailangan more than the local government officials (No one else knows the needs and priorities of LGUs than the local officials),” he said.
Also, Lacson stressed anew the need to make judicious use of limited public funds, including the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022.
He likewise reiterated his commitment to get rid of corruption through tight discipline of the bureaucracy, combined with leadership by example.
Lacson said Pampanga is memorable for him as he and his men spent Christmas 1992 and New Year 1993 there, conducting technical surveillance against Alfredo “Joey” de Leon, leader of a kidnap-for-ransom gang.
At the time, Lacson was head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission’s Task Force Habagat, which was tasked to stop kidnapping, holdups and other heinous crimes.
“Our then chairman, then Vice President Joseph Estrada, gave us until yearend 1992 to stop the gang. We got the job done in February 1993 when de Leon was killed in an encounter at the boundary of Pampanga and Bulacan,” he said.