By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — 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
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.
“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
“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.
“We are consulting with economists and experts in various fields,” he said.
“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
“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
“Senate President Sotto is right. We cannot solve this through law
enforcement alone. Our approach against illegal drugs should be
holistic,” he said. (ai/mtvn)