While the Philippines should monitor the European conflict, Sen Lacson stressed that there are many local “wars” to fight in the Philippines like corruption, poverty, drugs and many more

          Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said Filipinos should keep track of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine although it is happening on another continent.

          Lacson said the Philippines should keep an eye on the European conflict, but he also stressed there are many local “wars” to fight like corruption, poverty, drugs and many more

The presidential candidate expressed his views on the Russia-Ukraine conflict during the presidential debate organized by CNN and moderated by Pia Hontiveros. Lacson was one of nine presidential candidates who attended the debate.

He said, directly or indirectly, Philippine imports of certain essential commodities would be affected by the conflict. He added that the Philippines’ membership in the United Nations also gave the country certain responsibilities.

Lacson demonstrated during the debate and the ones before it that, as President, he would not only work to solve local problems but also keep an eye on issues in other parts of the world, knowing they could have a significant impact on the Philippines.

          Lacson pointed out that the Philippines is already feeling the pinch of rising gas prices. A protracted European conflict could only worsen things, as Russia is a major oil exporting nation.

          He disagreed with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that the Philippines do not have to be bothered by the conflict between two European nations.

          “We are a signatory to the UN Charter and Article 1 of that document says we should stand up against any form of aggression. We have the right to denounce Russia’s actions,” he said.

          Lacson added, “While we renounce war as an instrument of foreign policy, as provided for in our Constitution, we also have to speak up against aggression as a signatory to the UN Charter. Besides, there is nothing wrong with joining other peace-loving nations in denouncing what is truly an invasion.”

          He expressed his admiration for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for being a true leader, who is ready to die together with his country’s soldiers in the fight for democracy.

          While Lacson said the Philippines should keep an eye on the European conflict, he also stressed that there are many local “wars” to fight in the Philippines like corruption, poverty, drugs and many more.

          In the seemingly unwinnable war against corruption, Lacson pointed to his success in ridding the Philippine National Police of corruption. His priority was public service and never accepted bribes that would cause him to betray his oath of office.

          As a Senator, he refused to accept his share of the pork barrel for legislators knowing that people would assume any projects supported by this fund would mean huge commissions for him.

          If elected President, Lacson said the first agency he would look into as part of his campaign against corruption in government would be the Bureau of Customs.

          On the health crisis caused by the Covid-19, Lacson said the Philippines should prepare for what would happen next, as he expected Covid-19 to become endemic, or a continuing health problem.

          Although he has no persons in mind yet, he said he would choose an economic team that would be ready to deal with that situation and also be ready for the next pandemic. “There should be no trade-off between health and economy,” he stressed.

          He also underscored the need to keep health workers in the country by paying them decent salaries.

          Lacson called for a shift in infrastructure program from the current Build, Build, Build to public-private partnership, which would be less costly for the government.

          The presidential candidate also underscored his belief in leadership by example and promised that, on his first day in office, “I will sign a waiver of my rights under the Bank Secrecy Act. That will set the tone of my presidency. In the first 100 days, I will do an internal cleansing of the inept, corrupt, and undisciplined government officials and employees”.

          Lacson added, “And at the end of my term, when the Filipino looks back, he will say, ‘I’m better off now than when this administration started’.”

          If a leader did not have moral ascendancy and he could not practice what he preached, he would not be effective, the Senator said.

          “It is very important for the President to set the right tone for his leadership for the country’s peace and economic success,” he said. 

          Lacson’s vice presidential candidate is Senate President Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III. For more info on Ping Lacson, follow https://www.facebook.com/PingLacsonOfficial.