A two-pronged strategy centering on health and the economy will highlight the response of Sen. Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson and Senate President Vicente "Tito" C. Sotto III to the Covid pandemic and its lingering effects, should they win in the May 2022 general elections.
Lacson said this on Tuesday even as he stressed vaccination will be the first step to all these, as the efforts to reopen our economy cannot take place without achieving herd immunity first.
"Dalawa ang napakalaking problema sa pandemic: Health at economy. Vaccination ang Number 1 solution dahil nakita natin sa ibang bansa pag mataas ang vaccination rate nakapagbukas sila ng ekonomiya. Yan dapat pag-ukulan natin ng pansin (The pandemic has brought two big problems, to our health and our economy. Vaccination is the Number One solution because in other countries, economies will reopen if the vaccination rate is high. So that is what we need to focus on)," he said in an interview on DZRH radio.
"Maraming pagkakamali sa simula, pero pwede pang i-correct yan (Our authorities may have taken many missteps at first, but hopefully there is still time to correct the situation)," he added.
Lacson is running for President under Partido Reporma, while Sotto is running for Vice President under the Nationalist People's Coalition.
Presently, Lacson said he and Sotto are in the process of consulting health experts to find alternatives to lockdowns that have crippled the economy but failed to stop or even slow down the spread of Covid.
On the other hand, Lacson said he and Sotto are studying ways to reopen the economy, including improving our competitiveness and offering incentives to attract foreign investors.
He said they have to factor in the high costs of power and labor while implementing the digitalization of our economy and the interoperability of agencies in the bureaucracy.
"Ito dapat tumutulong sa aming ekonomista at iba't ibang expert sa iba't ibang field (We are consulting with economists and experts in various fields)," he said.
"Ang iba digitalized na, may interoperability ang kanilang national at local government agencies. Tayo naiwanan diyan (We have been left behind. Other countries have digitalized their economies where their national and local government units have interoperability)," he added.
Lacson also reiterated it is time to put more resources into research and development to improve our competitiveness, "in this day and age of modern information technology."
This is aside from bringing down corruption, which Lacson said can be done by imposing a single standard of governance - and more importantly, leadership by example.
Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated that should he become President in 2022, he will appoint key government officials based not so much on their background but on their qualification for the job, competence and integrity.
"In appointing people to handle matters like health and the economy, you cannot base your choice on the person's background. You have to look at the person's qualification and competence for the job, along with his or her integrity," he said.
He also said that while the war on illegal drugs will continue, it will follow the holistic formula of Sotto, where authorities will concentrate not only on law enforcement but also on drug abuse prevention.
"Tama si Senate President Sotto, hindi lang puro law enforcement. Dapat holistic ang approach laban sa droga (Senate President Sotto is right. We cannot solve this through law enforcement alone. Our approach against illegal drugs should be holistic)," he said.