A FEDERAL type of government is the solution to the long-term problems of the country, vice presidential candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano told Thomasians in the first of an election series titled Filipino Youth Vision held yesterday.
Speaking on behalf of his running mate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who was not able to make it to the event despite earlier confirmations as he was in Pampanga, Cayetano said their tandem’s platform would revolve around fighting crime and corruption, improving regional development and imposing equality under the law.
In pursuit of economic and political federalism which will take three to four years to materialize, Cayetano noted that at least 15 percent of the country’s national budget goes to Metro Manila alone, leading to the congestion of the metropolis and leaving the development of provinces behind.
“19, 137 people per square kilometer [live] in Metro Manilla, everyone else below 500 people per square kilometer. So everyone is in Metro Manila, kaya traffic, kaya masikip, kaya baha, diba?” he said, adding the Philippines is a “Metro Manila-centric country.”
The Duterte-Cayetano tandem also plans to establish tourism and industrial hubs in the countryside to foster the creation of jobs and move the different departments of the national government outside the National Capital Region to eradicate the centralism mentality.
Furthermore, should he and Duterte be elected as the top officials of the country, they will create new departments namely Emergency Response for full time operations during disasters, Fisheries for struggling fisherfolks, and Foreign Employment for the concerns of the Overseas Filipino Workers.
“In the first 100 days, we want you to see that the budget and the programs reach the grassroots, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, hindi lang dito sa Metro Manila,” Cayetano said.
Citing Taguig City’s free education program, Cayetano said they will formulate a seven-year program aiming to make education free in the country.
“And if Taguig can do it, why can’t the other 50 big cities do it? There’s so much resources going on in the Philippines but there’s no leadership, there’s no coordination, [and] no working together.”
He also said they wanted the Filipino people to feel safe by lighting up the different parts of the country and placing CCTV cameras on the streets.
Moreover, he defended his absent partner from his detractors, denouncing Duterte’s involvement in extrajudicial killings.
“There is no fear of extrajudicial killings in Davao. There is no fear na pag babae ka [na] naglalakad ka ng 2 am hihipuan ka, aagawan ka ng bag,” Cayetano said. “Those are all concepts that mayor’s detractors want to sell to you.”
Moreover, he vowed that if given the chance to be elected in office six months after assuming the post, people will start feeling the change, saying, “Nagbabago na ang sistema, na ang gobyerno ay hindi [na] pangpahirap sa tao kundi ang gobyerno ay partner [na] at tumutulong sa tao.”
However, if it would be a Binay-Cayetano administration, the senator jokingly said “hindi ko alam kung nasaan ang first 100 days ko.”
He then urged Thomasians to participate in the polls and continue being active and empowered. “Make your predecessors, ancestors, alumni of UST proud by being a big part of this election.”
The forum which featured Cayetano is just a first for the Filipino Youth Vision election forum series. It was spearheaded by AKTIBOTO, a student-initiated voted education program of UST together with local media organizations and student councils. F – Christian De Lano M. Deiparine