While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need.
For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident – and even making plans to exploit it.
These enemies of the State and our people, through their legal fronts, are very capable of fanning the flames of animosity between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police by creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.
In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]
In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: * criticisms vs Anti-Terrorism Bill, including high-profile personalities [24:23]
* how National ID system can speed up contact tracing [21:45]
I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.
NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.
The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.
We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* extension of ECQ/lockdown [0:19]
* need for discipline during ECQ [4:07]
* barangay officials’ problems [10:02]
* sayang ang National ID system [14:04]
* May 4 session resumption; options on legislative calendar [18:09]
* test period for DOH Sec Duque [22:40]
“Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, several elective officials are calling for a ‘full-blown’ and immediate implementation of the National ID System as this would not only aid in the efficient distribution of the social amelioration program currently being implemented by different government agencies, but would also help our law enforcement agencies in fighting crimes and facilitate key government services and transactions, among others.” (co-author with Senate President Sotto)
It is a most difficult decision to strike a balance between flattening the curve of COVID-19 and the looming economic recession due to a wide swath of business inactivity.
Thus, it is better left to those who have almost unlimited access to all the relevant data to decide which is the best course of action to take moving forward.
Having said that, I am sure that if Congress is provided with all those data, we can help in the policy direction.
On the other hand, there is no perfect system of distribution of aid considering the number of families involved in the cash dole-out, further complicated by a less efficient database due to the late implementation of the National ID system.
Just as intelligence information can spell the difference between success and failure in my previous life in intelligence and law enforcement work, data is the key for our policy makers to make the right decisions at this critical time.
But if public figures like Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, Tom Hanks, Christopher de Leon and several of our own legislators had voluntarily and publicly declared they are or were infected, maybe it is time for the “man on the street” – the ordinary Filipinos – to do the same in order to alert those who they had interacted with to take the necessary measures, so that the infection does not spread further.
If their identities are made public voluntarily, even through their barangay bulletins, homeowners’ associations or any social media platforms available, then people who they directly got in contact with can come forward to be tested and treated if needed.
As an elected Senator of the Republic, I appeal to our citizens to practice that selfless act of responsibility to society and do our part in hastening to flatten the curve by thwarting the spread of the virus even in our own little way.
COVID-19 may not be like the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), where there is social stigma attached to the afflicted because it is sexually transmitted in most cases. Nevertheless, it does not diminish the threat that COVID-19 poses not only to those vulnerable but those around them.
A crowd like this always evokes a strong feeling of sentimentality. Like most of you in this hall, I am certainly at the point in my life where I often turn my gaze back over the past and see if those years have really mattered — not only for myself, but for the people who have entrusted me a seat in public office, and for my country that has given me so much in my present life.