DIALOGUES with various sectors across the country have been paying off for Partido Reporma presidential candidate Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and running mate Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, not just in terms of voter support for the May 9 national elections, but also in learning the problems of majority of Filipinos that can truly be solved with relevant changes in governance.
Lacson revealed this in a radio interview over the weekend as he said his and Sotto’s campaign sorties across the country, and in the largely agricultural provinces of Quezon, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon this past week, opened their eyes to the real woes Pinoys raise in their town hall meetings.
“Mabuti rin itong lakbay-lakbay, napakaraming natututunan, actually. Kasi kami sectoral e, hindi kami ‘yung rally na nagsasalita lang kami, nakikinig o hindi nakikinig,” the longtime public servant told host Cesar Chavez on radio DZRH’s “Special on Saturday” program.
“Kami talagang mas gusto namin naririnig namin ‘yung hinaing sa baba, natututo kami sa kanila e. Ang dami naming natutunan ni Senate President pati ‘yung kasama naming mga senatorial candidate. Mainam e, mainam ‘yung talagangtown hall meeting,” the Partido Reporma chairman added.
One such meeting in Quezon, for instance, strengthened Lacson’s resolve to push for devolution of funds and functions to local government units instead of these being held hostage by the national government or its agencies, to the detriment of the agricultural sector.
“Sa Quezon halimbawa, Ka Cesar, alam mo biglang magkakaroon ng water district doon sa may bandang itaas ng Banahaw—Bundok Banahaw—e mababawasan ng 50 percent ‘yung irigasyon; 700 hectares ‘yung tatamaan… So, sa ngayon at least nakakuha sila ng TRO at hinahangad nila sana maging permanente,” the three-term senator told DZRH’s Chavez.
It was moves like this, Lacson noted, that slowly killed the agricultural sector, as in exchange for building the water district on Banahaw, a reservoir would be built that would trap the streams of water coming down from the mountain, which naturally irrigated the farmlands below it.
“Hindi na inalintana ‘yung plight naman ng mga magsasaka sa bandang ibaba. Napakarami, ilang barangay ‘yon e, 33 barangays sa isang bayan, meron pa ring ibang bayan ng Quezon na tatamaan,” he said of the water district project normally overseen by the Local Water Utilities Administration.