Next leaders must get us out of Covid mess and toward economic recovery: Pangilinan

July 8, 2021

WITH ten months to go before the 2022 Philippine national elections, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reiterates the need for leaders that can address the pressing problems of Covid, recession, hunger, and economic recovery.

“Palagay ko dahil pinag-uusapan na rin ang halalan, napakagandang oportunidad na rin mapag-usapan yung halalan sa konteksto kung paano natin masosolusyonan ang Covid at kawalan ng hanapbuhay at trabaho. And I think that should be the focal discussion when we discuss 2022,” said Pangilinan, when asked about the plans of the Liberal Party (LP) for the coming upcoming elections.

“Bigyan natin ng focus kung sino ang tatakbo sa konteksto kung paano ba malulutas –moving forward — ng susunod na administrasyon ang problema ng Covid, ang problema ng hanapbuhay at trabaho, ang gutom at syempre itong stimulus package at recovery ng ekonomiya. Hindi natin pwede ihiwalay yan,” added the LP president.

Pangilinan praised the Covid response efforts of Vice President Leni Robredo, saying that she is the most suited candidate with her experience and proof of work.

“Walang sawa at walang tigil si VP sa paghahanap ng solusyon sa problema as they arise mula pa noong umpisa ng Covid. Si Vice President Leni ang ating pambato,” he said.

When asked whether he would run for the vice presidency, Pangilinan said that he is seeking re-elections in the Senate.

“My plan is to run for re-election. Because the Covid challenges are huge, ang ating mga karanasan nitong mga nakaraang taon ay makakatulong para sa mas mainam na economic recovery kasama na ang ating advocacy na food security at agriculture,” he said.

“Naniniwala pa rin tayo hanggang ngayon na we will not be able to reach first-world nation status unless we address poverty which is primarily a rural-agricultural phenomenon,” he added.

Pangilinan said that given the worst economic crisis since World War II and the worst health crisis in 100 years, there is a need for a broad coalition that aims for more efficient Covid response, economic recovery, and stimulus package.

“We have to come together, we have to set aside our differences and solve these challenges. We need a strong unity of forces who are capable of delivering competent, science-based programs and interventions,” he said.

“This requires leadership that will squarely address rather than minamaliit yung problema o dinadaan sa biro o pabagu-bago ang desisyon. Hindi na pwede yun because we deserve better. We need to get out of this mess,” he added.

According to which monitors Covid cases worldwide, over 25,000 of about 1.4 million Covid-infected Filipinos have died as of July 8.

In its June 2021 economic update report, World Bank said the Philippine economy “contracted by 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 amid prolonged implementation of containment measures. The country registered the worst growth performance among peers in the region such as Thailand (-2.6 percent), Indonesia (-0.7 percent), Malaysia (-0.5 percent), and Vietnam (4.5 percent). The growth contraction was fueled by weak domestic demand, driven by the combination of containment measures, weak confidence, and rising inflation.”