CABUYAO, Laguna – Experience, more than anything, will be needed to lead the Philippines out of the dire straits made worse by the pandemic, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said Saturday afternoon.
Lacson likened the country to a patient in the Emergency Room of a hospital, having to choose between a “smart-looking” fresh graduate from medical school or an experienced surgeon with a successful track record.
“Kung sa ER kayo at lucid pa kayo, ang pipiliin nyo bang duktor ang matikas na bago o yung sanay sa opera? Siyempre pagkakatiwala ko buhay ko sa mas maraming karanasan (If you are in the ER and you are still conscious, who will you choose to work on you – a smart-looking doctor who just graduated, or one who has a track record of many successful surgeries? Of course you would entrust your life to the one with the experience),” he said at a gathering he and his running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III attended here.
Lacson – who is running under Partido Reporma – said he and Sotto – who is running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition – have more than 80 years of public service between them.
He said this includes 42 years of legislative work as senators of the Republic – and thus ready to perform the proverbial surgery.
“Yan ang maihahain namin sa inyo ni SP Sotto – may Kakayahan, Katapatan, at Katapangan (That is what Senate President Sotto and I are prepared to offer you – our talent, loyalty and courage),” he said.
Meanwhile, Lacson stressed anew the need to empower local government units (LGUs) so they can implement their development projects. This is in line with his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE), where local governments receive much-needed resources to implement their projects.
The national government can give leeway to the local governments and limit its role to policy supervision and guidance, he added.
In Cabuyao, Lacson noted the local government unit set up two hospitals and two schools without help from the national government.
But he said this is not the case in many other parts of the country, adding that in the national budget from 2010 to 2020, an average of P328.25 billion went unused.
“Ito ang dapat natin itama, kasi mali talaga (This is what we have to correct because it is simply wrong),” he said.
Lacson also emphasized the need to allot enough resources to fully implement the Universal Health Care law, which would allow quality healthcare to all — at no cost to the public.
Should he be elected President in May 2022, he said his administration would fully fund the requirement of the “high-cost” stage of the Universal Health Care Act to cover all barangays – as well as subsidize Philhealth premiums for all especially for indirect contributory populations, and ensure optimal benefits for healthcare workers.