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.
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]
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible supplemental budget to deal with COVID-19 [0:26]
* at least P989B unused from 2019 budget [2:40]
* local officials naipit sa Social Amelioration Program [17:39]
* DBM circular barring release of 35% of 2020 budget’s appropriations [19:45]
* lockdown until June? [24:17]
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 DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson cited the reasons for Senate Resolution 362, which sought the resignation of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III for his “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate as DOH Secretary, resulting in poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that endangered and continues to endanger the lives of our health care professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people.”
The issues raised by the senators against Secretary Duque as stated in Senate Resolution 362 have commonalities as they are glaring and have bearing on the country surviving COVID-19.
We all agreed not to recommend any replacement. In case Sec. Duque quits, it is all up to the President being the appointing authority. We are simply for a competent Secretary of Health. Take note: not more competent, but simply a competent one at the helm.
Having said that, the resolution does not involve the President. It is virtually an appeal – demand, if you will, to Sec. Duque to resign and the reasons are stated in the resolution. It is his call.
Definitely, the President’s warning to have “troublemakers” during the enhanced community quarantine shot was exaggerated and harsh. But coming from this President, what else is new?
However, having been immersed in intelligence and law-enforcement work for more than two decades in my previous life, I couldn’t help but suggest to authorities to thoroughly investigate if the “riot” in Quezon City involving protesters demanding aid – but in violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine – was indeed a valid “hunger-driven” spontaneous act of people who simply lost their patience out of exasperation, or a politically instigated act of violence by sinister groups out to take advantage and destabilize the administration and duly constituted authority.
As such, concerned authorities may opt to look into the possibility that Wednesday’s incident could be a “dry run” to test public sentiment as well as the ability of law enforcers to respond. At least one group, Kadamay, has posted on its Facebook page an “invitation” to an event scheduled for April 1.
There is no saying however, that all protests during the ECQ should be presumed as politically instigated. Yet, it cannot be denied that there may be groups with motive to exploit the volatility of the situation to advance their own political agenda.
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed at least P200B in assistance to poor families affected by the COVID19-triggered quarantines should be distributed soonest, with scrutiny from the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.
In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for lawmakers to prioritize help for daily wage earners amid the COVID19-triggered lockdowns, while preventing corruption in the implementation of aid for those affected.