Asian Dragon Magazine gave the five presidential candidates 20 questions, sounding them out on hot button issues such as investments, a business-friendly environment, poverty, climate change, education, the South China Sea and Muslim Mindanao, food security, and state corruption. Readers should get a good idea of the candidates’ priorities and direction. It’s you who would have to discern whether the questions were really answered by the candidates themselves, or by their spin doctors. Sit down with a pad paper, tablet, or computer, note down the pros and cons of each of the five candidates, and ask yourself: Who am I prepared to see at the helm? Who will do right by the country?
How will you address the issue of corruption?
We need daang mabilis (fast path), not daang matuwid (straight path). But if there is a current program worth continuing, we will continue and intensify it.
I will remove officials who are still involved in graft and corruption, but the President is not part of that.
Government shall be operating in a cost-efficient and highly effective manner. Corruption in all levels of government shall be eliminated by full enforcement of the law. Clear systems and procedures will be followed. Transparency in government will be the norm. Regional and local governments will be enjoying greater authority and assume greater responsibilities.
Systemic corruption and breakdown in government systems and services will continue to worsen the vicious cycle of poverty. We cannot let that happen! We must eliminate corruption because corruption breeds poverty. Resources are diverted to the pockets of the corrupt instead of benefiting the people.
We will deliver swift and harsh punishment to corrupt government officials and workers, without favor. We will strengthen the Forfeiture Law (R.A. 1379). We will recover ill-gotten wealth hidden in other countries.
We will plug opportunities for corruption by repairing corruption-prone systems, such as in licensing, registration and frontline service agencies. We will strengthen the Code of Conduct and Good Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
We will pass the Freedom of Information bill. We will enable Filipinos to conduct citizens’ audit of programs, projects, and service delivery.
To institutionalize our efforts to uphold transparency as a founding principle of good governance, we will push for the passage of the Freedom of Information bill.
We will also go deeper into the roots, nooks, and crannies of mid-level corruption in the bureaucracy while sustaining the upward momentum for economic growth and development. By creating a body to rationalize numerous existing government regulations and processes, we make the delivery of government services more efficient and curb corruption among the rank-and-file members of the bureaucracy.
I will support the recent Supreme Court decisions on Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). They espouse the appropriate roles of the president and Congress in the use of public funds. Malacañang, under my watch, will submit to Congress budget proposals that have no lump-sum allocations or congressional insertions. These budget practices contradict the spirit of the Supreme Court decision on pork barrel.
Read the profiles of the five presidentiables and the full Q&A with them inside Asian Dragon Magazine’s April-May 2016 issue, available in all leading bookstores and convenience stores nationwide. You can also purchase the issue from the Asian Dragon Magazine App, free to download on Google Play Store, iTunes, and Amazon. For orders and other inquiries, contact tel. nos. 361-7491 loc. 811, 845, 846.