Leading contenders for the presidency share their views on a number of issues in one-on-one interviews with "Asia's King of Talk" Boy Abunda.
During the presidential interviews, candidates answered the same questions and were given equal time to answer them.
The Philippine STAR and PhilSTAR L!fe will be carrying excerpts from the interview with Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, who talked about his plan to recover from COVID-19 pandemic response plan, dealing with cyberpornography, and the accusation that he is a political butterfly, among other issues.
ON MINING & THE ENVIRONMENT
Where do you stand on the issue of sustainable versus a total ban on mining? Why?
Pagtitibayin ko. Because isa sa pinakamagandang asset ng bansa ay ating mga minerals. There is also what you call responsible mining and there is the gold standard and world standard for mining. It has to be applied to everyone, to anyone.
But because of the situation ng ating bayan ngayon, sa hirap ng epekto ng pandemyang ito sa ating ekonomiya, we need to generate more FDIs, more endemic investment, more industry, more jobs, more social income. We cannot keep on taxing our people through this para makatakbo ang ating gobyerno. But we can be responsible for our environment.
And I think there are already rules in this world that are applicable and can be applied to our mining industry.
Q: Sa inyong kampanya will you accept mining money?
Well, kung yung minang pinanggalingan ay hindi illegal at legal at makatwiran yung pagnenegosyo nila, responsableng pagnenegosyo. Why not? Kelangan ko lahat ng uri ng tulong.
ON COVID-19 AND THE PANDEMIC
Given the unpredictability and viciousness of this virus, what would be your program to combat COVID-19?
What we have done in Manila is to really confront COVID-19 and prepare for any worst-case scenario. We acquired medicines, oxygen, facilities and more medical frontliners, pero at the same time, bukas ang ekonomiya, bukas ang gawa. So given the chance, may awa ang Diyos na palarin ako, I will treat it as an endemic, because mas marami ang namamatay sa ibang sakit sa ating mga hospital dala nang hindi nakakapunta dahil napupuno nang napupuno ang ating mga hospital, private or public.
So nowadays if you see a strain in other countries, they are treating it differently, it is like a normal flu. The thing is, we have to strengthen our vaccination because sabi mo nga virus, it has to be approached scientifically. We must continue to believe in these existing anti-viral medicines that are being acquired in the city of Manila that are existing in the world.
We can learn how to live with COVID-19 and go back to work. That is our approach in Manila and that is the approach we are going to do in the entire country.
We have shown you the prototype of how to address this. Manila is the most dense city in the country, not in Asia, but as you can see, siksikan na kami pero bakit hindi bumubulwak. Because lagi kaming naghahanda ahead, may projection. We always think of the worst-case scenario.
How will you deal with the urgent problems of joblessness and hunger in the country if you become President?
Well, in Manila, poverty alleviation yan – pagpapataas ng antas ng pamumuhay ng tao. So we created housing, housing creates jobs. Housing, infrastructure, vertical infrastructure address the perennial social problems, which is homelessness or ownership. Nag-create pa siya ng maraming industry.
There is no shame if the state will borrow money. It’s part of business.
So you must be aggressive; that is why when I said I will continue the “Build, Build, Build” program of President Duterte, but build more schools, build more hospitals, build more housing because this will generate jobs, this will stimulate our economy and this creates opportunity for the businesses and for the people.
When you add housing, innovation, healthcare and jobs this will elevate the status, ang kalalagayan ng ating kababayan.
ON OFW/ MIGRANTS
How will you balance the economic contribution of OFWs and the unquantifiable social cost of migration?
That’s why I said about a few weeks ago that a peso spent in Metro Manila doesn’t give us the same effect as a peso I will spend in the far-flung areas because it will generate more economic growth and opportunity in the provinces. So, parehong pera pero dini-direct .
So when there is an opportunity — because most of these numbers that you’re saying are in the far-flung areas, sa probinsya — kaya yan umaalis ng bansa hindi mo masisisi sa hirap ng buhay. Tapos makukwento ng kapitbahay, ako nga, di ba ako nga nangarap ako maging seaman? ‘Yun ang gusto ko talaga maging kapitan ng barko. Because there is an opportunity there.
Do you agree with the creation of a Department of Migrant Workers?
There are so many laws already. Bago ako gumawa ng batas I’ll make sure na yung isang department na yun kailangan natin.
Ang pinakamabisang tulong natin sa OFW yung POLO (Philippines Overseas Labor & Office). We should put protection abroad, yung labor officer natin. Ilan ba ang agrabiyado nating mga kababayan. Mga programa nila, hindi nirerecognize.
ON SOCIAL MEDIA, PROLIFERATION OF PORNOGRAPHY
How will you handle the issue of cyberporn?
As a parent you always talk to your children. Be reasonable. Explain to them the gravity of the situation. Wala naman perpektong magulang, walang naming perpektong pamilya.
But more than porn, another problem is masyadong palasak, yung abused words and sinasabi mo and social media na ginagamit as porn site. I’ll teach these social media companies. I’ll make them responsible because nagiging outlet yung kanilang mga sites. May plano ako na papanagutin natin yung mga pinagbabaliwala lamang ng mga social media companies. And technically, I’ll block their IP address. I will make DICT a powerful agency to go after these corporations, to go after these websites.
Leadership is all about protecting your people. Proteksyonan mo mamamayan mo. Unahin mo tao mo. That’s how you define yourself. There are things na madalas ko marinig dito, maasim man ang suka kailangan mong inumin. Ganun ang pagiging leader.
ON RAPE-RELATED ABORTION
Is it time to enact a law on abortion that would allow pregnant rape victims the choice of legal and safe abortion?
No, that is life. Same thing that I apply to criminals’ due process, equal opportunity, equal chance. I don’t like taking lives. So, ayoko ng abortion. But I am pro-choice in terms of other things and kung ano man accessible na pwede ibigay ng estado para sa family nila. But when there is life already nobody should take it away. Even if in the law may version, that is my version.
Dahil yung bata na yan sa sinapupunan ng nanay walang kakayanan ipagtangol ang sarili niya. Buhay niya yon. There is a life inside the womb. Life is life. Only God can take it away, not humans.
Bawat buhay ay mahalaga. Ang buhay ng mahirap, ang buhay ng malakas, yung buhay ng mayaman pare-pareho yan. In the same manner yung walang kamalay-malay na bata sa sinapupunan ng ina paano man siya na-conceive in a bad way or in a good way, life is life.
If there is therapeutic abortion that is existing, then let’s have a therapeutic way of dealing with and helping the mother.
There is another way, there are always two sides. We must help as a state and as a family.
Are we already a narco country? What is your program to counter the drug problem?
Well, I don’t believe we are a narco country, unlike the Colombian era in the ’70s; we have not reached that far. But there are drugs and they destroy families, communities, and of course these can destroy a country.
Now in fairness to Pangulong Duterte halos mawala yung droga sa kalsada. When I became mayor meron akong isang rule, you know the way I grew up in the streets kaya ako hangga’t maari talagang dinidiplomasya ko. Basta ako zero tolerance, non-negotiable, drugs are drugs. Kaya ang drugs sa Maynila nagsubside. Masasabi ko hirap na hirap sila.
ON PHILIPPINE DEBT
If you win as President of the Philippines, how will you tackle the payment of our national debt?
We must pay. There is no shame if the state will borrow money. It’s part of business, it is part of stimulating a hurting economy because you need to stimulate itong ating bansa kasi sobrang ginigiba tayo ng pandemiya. There is no bad thing about it, as long as it provides opportunity and business kasi gusto mo lang stimulate yung ekonomiya ng bansa. But I think we can still pay kasi di ka naman papayagan pautangin kung di mo kayang magbayad.
We must create sources of income to offset whatever debt servicing that we can do so that we can lessen the debt servicing in our GAA, then we can create more development and investment for our country.
We need to encourage foreign investments, we need to cut some corners to generate and attract. Kelangan natin ibalik yung sigla ng pagpupuhunan sa bansa. We have to be competitive.
ON THE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
If all diplomatic efforts fail, as President, do you think the Philippines is strong enough and prepared to fight a defensive war against China to protect our territorial soil?
Militarily, no, you know that already. But, I do believe in a civilized world in a civilized time. We are guided by law. In fact that is why we are participants of international organizations like UN and in this case, the law of the sea. The court has decided it is ours, no question. Historically it’s ours under the Velarde map, 1737 map, technically it is ours. We are a signatory with other countries, so then those countries that are signatories of the law of the sea must come together and help us.
Those countries that are signatories of the law of the sea must come together and help us, because the sauce for the gander is the sauce for the goose.
We will be fearless in dealing with the West Philippine Sea; at the same time, we will prepare in terms of trade with other countries, that includes China. We must coexist in economic relations. But we will always be loyal to the Philippines.
As far as we are concerned it’s ours, and under existing rules and laws it is ours.
You are part of the UN and you agree. But for now, my interest is makapangisda ang Pilipino doon and that I guarantee to every Filipino makakapangisda sila doon.
ON PRESIDENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS
Is it high time to amend the Constitution on the qualifications to run for President of the country?
These are the things na di naman kailangan pagtuunan ng pansin. Basta the Filipinos can choose, yan ang bisa ng demokrasya. I think what we should bring out is paano nating gagawin mas mature yung ating mga mamamayan sa pagsisiyasat ng ating mga kandidato. Paano tayo maging responsableng mamamayan sa pagpili.
Kasi ang qualification yung dapat may prueba. Hindi yung ginawa ng tatay ko, kaya gagawin ko. Hindi naman yung ginawa ng asawa ko kaya ito yung gagawin ko. Hindi yung ginawa ng kamag-anak nila.
ON PERSONAL ISSUES
Your critics accuse you of being a political butterfly, what do you have to say?
I am the one of the founding fathers of Asenso Manileño and I never left Asenso Manileño. Why is it that you are mentioning these alliances with the local party, which I belong to and founded with Danny Lacuna as president and chairman? Never kaming nawala sa Asenso Manileño.
Hindi ako maghihiganti kanino man. Sa dami ng problema, sa bilis ng problema kailangan natin mga tunay na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon.
Eighty percent ng local party is Asenso Manileño. We started with six in 2007. It is now 2022, about 15 years na, and we continue to be Asenso Manileño. Kasi nag aalliance kami. Kami ang kinukuha. “My loyalty to the party ends where my loyalty to the country begins,” sabi ni Manuel Quezon. Loyalty ko sa tao no matter what.
POLITICAL FAST TALK
Q: Bakit hindi dapat iboto si Ping Lacson?
A: Okay naman siya.
Q: Manny Pacquiao?
A: Mabait din siya.
Q: VP Leni?
A: Maghihiganti sa mga Marcos at Duterte.
A: Maghihiganti sa mga dilawan.
Q: Bakit ikaw?
A: Hindi ako maghihiganti kanino man. Sa dami ng problema, sa bilis ng problema kailangan natin mga tunay na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon.
Q: On Duterte and the ICC’s desire to investigate crimes against humanity for the sake of the victims. Will you allow ICC?
A: Welcome kayo dito wala naman tinatago. Our justice system continues to work and is effective. You can come here to investigate and do what you have to do. We must continue to recognize our agreement. We are a signatory of this agreement whether it is ICC, The Hague, the UN, we must continue to recognize and welcome these people.