By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — What is the status of the government’s vaccination program, and its
fight against corruption? Are we better off than when President
Rodrigo Duterte started his term in 2016? What can be done in the last
year of his term?
These are among the questions that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson hopes the
President will address in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA)
“After five years, where are we now, or what is the situation in the
many aspects of his administration such as peace and order, fight
against illegal drugs, corruption, economy, and foreign policy,
particularly the West Philippine Sea? We want to hear what happened in
the last five years – and moving forward for the last year of his
administration, what can still be done?” Lacson said at a media forum
in Manila on Sunday.
“But it is critical to update us on the government’s response to the
pandemic. This includes the status of the government’s vaccination
program. This is important because many Filipinos still do not trust
the vaccine. In the meantime, the government must continue its
campaign to gain the people’s trust in vaccines, based on science,” he
Lacson agreed with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III’s call to put
more emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation, in its fight against
illegal drugs. Also, Lacson noted former President and Manila Mayor
Joseph Estrada had arranged with the Los Angeles-based DARE
International to train police personnel to inform students of the ill
effects of illegal drugs. DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a
school-based drug prevention program.
He also said the government may need to consider digitalizing the
economy and automating government processes, to ease transactions and
Lacson said he has talked to experts who informed him that in
countries like Estonia and Ukraine, even the agriculture sector has
been digitalized. “Digitalization will vastly improve revenue
collections and make more effective and efficient monitoring of public
expenditures,” he stressed.
In the Philippines, he said that while the Bureau of Customs is
computerized, there is still no automation of processes such that
there are big discrepancies in our import records with the export
records of our trade partners such as China.
“We should consider these. In this age of modern technology, we should
be in the process of digitalization. It is not too late, but we should
act soon,” he said.
“To recap, what we need to hear from the President is what has been
done in the last five years. Are we better off than when he stepped in
as President on June 30, 2016?” he added. (AI/MTVN)