MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo said on Friday if she succeeds President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2022 elections, she would fight narcotics as intensely as he did, but with a different approach.
Asked in a press conference how her policy on illegal drugs would compare to that of Duterte, Robredo said, “Ganoon katindi, pero sa ibang paraan.”
(It will be as intense, but in a different way.)
The opposition leader said the current administration's drug war is too "heavy on enforcement." She said she saw problems in the program "up close" during her short stint as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) in 2019.
She said noted the committee is chaired by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) whose mandate leans toward enforcement. She argued the body should be led instead by the Dangerous Drugs Board so that its approach will be “more holistic”.
“Hindi puwedeng enforcement lang kasi nakita natin over the past 5 and a half years, sobrang daming namatay. Pero ang question, nawala ba [ang droga]? Ang sagot hindi,” Robredo said.
“Ang paniniwala ko ‘pag DDB iyong umupo na chair, ang plano niya hindi lang patay, patay, patay. Ang plano niya talagang very comprehensive, heavy on prevention, heavy on rehabilitation.”
(It cannot be just enforcement because we've seen that over the past 5 and a half years, so many have died. But the question is, have drugs been eradicated? The answer is no. My belief is DDB served as chair, the plan will not just be kill, kill, kill. Its plan is very comprehensive, heavy on prevention, heavy on rehabilitation.)
Robredo said she was "okay" with a Senate contender's call for 2022 candidates to undergo drug testing.
“Ready ako anytime. Hindi sa akin problema ‘yon. Kung ire-require iyon okay lalo na dahil maraming mga kuwento na, ‘Eto ay lulong ganito.’ Mas mabuti na clean slate kami,” she said.
(I am ready any time. That is not a problem fo me. If that will be required, it’s okay, especially since there are many rumors that, ‘This or that candidate is addicted to this.’ It’s better that we are a clean slate.)
ROBREDO SAYS TO PRIORITIZE PANDEMIC, KEEP DUTERTE INFRASTRUCTURE DRIVE
Asked about her campaign platform, Robredo said she would focus on recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
She compared the country's current situation to a “rollercoaster” in which lockdowns are imposed every time infections spike.
“We did such a terrible job in the last one and a half years, na kahapon lang lumabas ulit iyong Bloomberg na ranking, pinakahuli ulit tayo,” said the vice president.
“Kailangan ayusin natin ‘to. Kailangan ayusin natin na ‘yong ekonomiya natin makabukas na. Kailangan siguraduhin natin na may enough na pondo na inilalaan doon sa mga tao, organisasyon, negosyo na pinakanaapektuhan,” she continued.
(Just yesterday, the new Bloomberg ranking was released, and we are last again. We need to fix this. We need to open our economy. We need to make sure enough funds are allotted to the most affected people, organizations, and businesses.)
Robredo batted for conditional grants for MSMEs, the “immediate” reopening of schools, the vaccination of more people, and reforms in the healthcare system.
She said she would also prioritize programs that "will help alleviate poverty" and will continue the Duterte administration's infrastructure drive.
“No amount of success, magagandang edifice, magagandang infrastructure projects, iyong pagtaas ng income ng mamamayan—hindi siya sapat kung marami pa rin iyong naiiwan sa laylayan,” Robredo said.
“Ipagpapatuloy natin iyong Build, Build, Build. Pero sisiguraduhin natin iyong napupuntahan ng pera para sa infrastructure, meron na itong direct impact sa pag-angat ng mga nasa laylayan.”
(No amount of success, beautiful edifice and infrastructure projects, and salary hikes will be enough if many are left on the fringes. We will continue the Build, Build, Build. But we will make sure the the money that goes to infrastructure will have a direct impact on the rise of the marginalized.)
She said infrastructure projects should include farm-to-market roads, cold storage facilities, solar dryers, and mass transport improvements, among others.