MANILA— Presidential aspirant Leody De Guzman on Friday said he would use his background on customs administration to fight corruption in the graft-ridden Bureau of Customs.
Speaking to TeleRadyo, the labor leader said he is well versed in the inner workings of the agency.
"Ang laki ng perang nawawala sa gobyerno dahil sa kurakot diyan sa loob ng Custom," he said.
"'Yang custom ang isa sa pinakakorap na ahensiya ng ating pamahalaan. Dun pa naman nanggagaling 'yung perang dapat napapakinabangan ng bayan."
(So much money is lost from the government because of corruption in Customs. [The Bureau of] Customs is one of the most corruption agencies in the government. It's where the money comes from that should be for public benefit.)
Despite finishing customs administration at the PMI Colleges, De Guzman chose to focus on organizing labor unions and defending the interests of workers and the public because of his "awakening" following the assassination of Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. in 1983.
If elected president, he said he would prioritize a "labor first policy".
De Guzman said he will focus funding projects for fisherfolk and farmers to help in food production needed during the pandemic. Funds will also be placed on employment and support of health care workers.
De Guzman is also bent on ending contractualization, which he said is because of manpower agencies.
"Dahil ako ay naniniwala na kapag ang ating mga manggagawa ay masaya dahil may tamang pasahod, may tamang benepisyo at may makataong trato, magiging masigla 'yan sa pagtatrabaho," he said.
"Magiging productive ang ating mga manggagawa dahil sila ay secured sa kanilang trabaho."
(Because I believe if our workers are happy because of proper wages, proper benefits and humane treatment, they will be happy to do their jobs. They will become productive because they are secured of their jobs.)
In the interview, De Guzman said he also wants the government to regain control of water, electricity, hospitals and schools, and run it as "public service."
—With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News