Marcos Jr. takes swipe at rivals’ platforms, praises father’s Masagana 99, and says most Filipinos now indifferent to controversies about his family
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he was encouraged to run because he found the platforms of other candidates lacking, as he gave credit to a flagship agriculture program of his father, former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, that left hundreds of rural banks to go bankrupt, while saying that most Filipinos now do not care about controversies about his family.
Aside from laying down his plans for the presidency, here are some of the highlights of Marcos Jr.’s interview with acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar and broadcast personality Erwin Tulfo that was aired on March 19 on the state-owned PTV4 and conducted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)
Why Marcos Jr. decided to run for president
Marcos Jr. said he decided to run for the presidency due to the lack of programs of his fellow candidates when it comes to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected the country’s economy.
“‘Yung nakita ko ang ibang tatakbo [at] nakikinig ako sa kanila. Sabi ko, ‘hindi ‘yata napag-isipan nang mabuti ‘yung kanilang sinasabing plataporma o plano para sa COVID o para sa ekonomiya,” Marcos Jr. said.
The former senator added that his fellow candidates focused on aligning with the opposition while he supported the programs of the current administration. “Siguro, kaya na rin natin ipaglaban ito. Kaya at some point, sabi ko n’un, ‘I’ll go ahead and run for president.”
Marcos Jr.’s wife Liza Araneta-Marcos said in an interview with media personality Boy Abunda that he decided to run for president after watching the superhero heist film Ant-Man.
Pushing for regional health units
Marcos Jr. admitted that he’s also not satisfied with the country’s pandemic response, saying the government should have focused on building centralized hospitals and regional health units instead.
“Wala na tayong itinayong malaking [government hospital] since 1985 kaya kailangang magtayo pa tayo ng mga ospital para makatulong sa mga pasyente,” Marcos Jr. added.
The former senator also pushed for an “overhaul” of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Bringing back the ‘Masagana 99’ program
Marcos Jr. also gave credi to his father's "Masagana 99" agricultural program when asked by the hosts if he has any plans of resurrecting it if elected.
"Kung tayo dati ang nagte-train sa ibang mga bansa, hindi naman natin ‘yun makakalimutan. Hindi lang natin siya na-implement,” said Marcos Jr.
“Agriculture should be high in the next administration… para at least napapakain mo [ang mga Pilipino]. We have to assure food supply, food security, then food sovereignty,” Marcos Jr. began. “Kahit wala [silang] masyadong trabaho, as long as hindi sila gutom.”
The Masagana 99 agricultural program, which aims to solve rice shortage in the country, was branded as a “success and failure” by experts. Though it had a short-lived success in bumping up rice production in 1975-76, the program eventually collapsed and led to hundreds of rural banks losing money after leaving small farmers in debt.
In May 2020, finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III debunked the claim of Marcos’ Jr.’s sister Imee in a hearing where she described the program as “effective and successful.”
Addressing his family’s controversies
Marcos Jr. also responded to critics “focusing” on his family’s controversies instead of his presidential campaign, saying they should address the country’s problems instead.
“Tatlumpung taon na namin sinasagot ‘yan eh. Kaya kapag tinatanong, pareho pa rin ang sinasagot namin. Hindi naman nagbabago ang sagot namin. Pero hindi ‘yan ang iniisip ng taumbayan” Marcos Jr. said.
The former senator said critics should put his family’s controversies to rest, stressing that it doesn’t address issues that matter.
“Ang iniisip ng taumbayan, ‘Paano kami magtatrabaho?’ ‘Yun ang gusto nilang pakinggan, ang sagot sa mga tanong na ‘yun. ‘Paano kami magkakapera ulit? Paano naman ang mga anak namin.’ That’s what people arte worried about, that’s what they need to hear. Kung uulitin ang tanong, uulitin ang sagot,” Marcos Jr. said.
Marcos Jr. said he prefers to focus on “old-school” campaigning instead since “‘yun lang ang alam kong gawin.’”