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RENATO SALUD DE VILLA
Manila Times and Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs

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The clone on his own, a firebrand too late



On raising campaign funds:

Based on what we have seen in the past even in urban barangay elections,
the set amount as attributed by law would be short. Probably Congress or
the next Congress should have the political will to face the reality of
increasing the limits on election expenses. Of course, it goes without
saying that if you are a person of character, you want people to believe
in you, you want people to follow you... in accepting money,
contributions, from dubious sources that can give you millions and
millions. You can't neglect it. So that when you are there, they can hold
you by your nose or tail. I think it will be a disservice to the
country.

On Ramos' social reform agenda:

Makakapagsabi kayo, makakapag-follow-up kayo sa pamahalaan doon sa mga
labindalawang batas na hindi pa nailabas (on social reform). Ngunit ang
nasasaisip ko'y in terms of governance, in terms of policy. Gusto ko
sana, kung ako'y naririyan, at makarating tayo sa katungkulan na iyan, ay
magkaroon ako ng regular consultation with a body, or bodies of the
private sector who cannot get themselves elected into the formal
structure of government, and use this as an additional mechanism to
provide for truly democratic governance. And, ang nakikita ko ay, gusto
ko sana kung maaari, kung ito ay magagawa natin in a period of time ay
magkaroon ng complimentary structure, para maka-support. At gusto kong
magkaroon ng regular consultation. Ako mismo, para alam ko kung ano ang
hinaing, ano ang hindi ibinibigay, ano ang pinangako at hindi nagagawa.
At siguro sa pamamagitan nito--at least siguro mga once a month, para
ma-balance--kasabay ng formal structure, mayroon nang pinanggagalingan
ang information and advice from another structure, especially from the
basic sectors, from those sectors who cannot get themselves elected into
office. They must have access to government and they must participate.
And this is one of the ideas I thought they can participate in. There
are other sectors that have to be attended to.

On the major mistakes of the Ramos administration:

Some appointments did not pass public expectations. They did not pass
the Commission on Appointments which is a confirmation of not passing
public expectations. We should not make this mistake again. I think
somehow, the SRA was started somewhere in the middle already, and before
they could take root, his term is over. It should have been right from
the beginning together with the NIChood effort. Maybe it could have been
a two-track system--one which would take of improving our economic growth
and one for improving the lot of our less privileged people.

On how he'd like to be remembered:

If not elected or not chosen by my party, I will go back to private life
and leave public service. But even in that position, I will continue to
help government promote ideas that I really intended to do before
entering politics. I'd like to be remembered if elected, that I presided
over a successful administration. I'd like to be remembered as a leader
who truly helped the masses of our people, helped form the country into a
much, much better country than what it is now.

On the cordon sanitaire around the President:

To prevent shadows from hovering in Malacañang we should light the
hallways, so that there will be no shadows. This cordon sanitaire, the
difficulty of seeing the President, I talk of developing a new structure,
a new channel to get to the people. I hope to get to directly work with
them, nothing in between. I'd like to set that up.

On graft and corruption:

First, we must admit that graft and corruption still plagues our society
because of many, many factors. But let me just say that when a
government official accepts a bribe for personal gain, he commits graft.
But when a citizen offers a bribe to get away from government regulation,
from punishment by law, he commits corruption. And therefore it is
really a two-way system. My idea on the matter is to get and mobilize
the people against graft and corruption, to involve both the government
and the citizenry and establish mechanisms, in order that, those who
commit will be adverted and under the law, brought to court and punished.
Now I believe that out of the 70 million in this country, there are
righteous people who will stand for good government, honest and clean
government, and lay their lives on the line, commit themselves to helping
eradicate this menace in our society. And I have in mind organizing what
I think should be a citizens' anti-graft committee, if possible, it
should have to be manned by people of great courage, proven integrity and
true patriotism. Because it is only by mobilizing our people, like my
goal for mobilizing our people, that we could really attack this thing.
I'm thinking of Citizens' Anti-Graft Committees, maybe starting on the
regional level and in large cities where these are prevalent. And
they'll be the ones to ban, to prosecute, and government will be behind
them, when it comes to actual physical arrest, actual physical handling.
I think mobilizing society and making the people participate, making them
take the risk, in order to transform ourselves, we could change once and
for all. We could change, we should do it.

On Charter change:

I am against amending the Constitution at this time, because of what I
foresee to be a very dangerous effects it might have especially on the
gains that we have already made. On retail trade provisions... it might
trigger an inflow of capital that might catalyze competition
domestically, but we must be careful about totally dislocating small
entrepreneurs, especially the livelihood of small families. As to the
effects of the local government code, I think I mentioned in my speech
that I would like to ask the local government units, making use of the
IRA and other resources of the government to get themselves involved in
the actual implementation of our anti-poverty program. Meaning, that we
will give them the power and the authority to implement some of the
anti-poverty programs because they are there in the front line. They know
the poverty situation in their cities and provinces and give them
national funds together with their own funds and again designate a
department to monitor them regularly, so that we will know where poverty
incidence is being remedied and where it is not. And this will be
directly equated with the performance of the local government units. The
character, quality of the leader at that level reflects on his attitude
towards the basic sectors.

What is more important: education or security?

It's going to be education, in accordance with our Constitution and in
accordance with the long-term needs of our miserable country. Because if
you invest in education, you invest in security.

On leveling the playing field for agriculture, industry and services:

One of the important dividends of following an administration that has
succeeded in solving many of our problems and that has brought a number
of reforms in many ways is that you can build on them. You can correct
mistakes, and you can add more to what has succeeded. But that is not all
that must be done. You ask for a level playing field that involves
agriculture, industry and services. In industry, basically, I think we
have failed to level the policy environment. But it depends upon the
industrialists to build themselves up for competition, and even more,
cut-throat competition out there, because that would be the name of the
game. And I think the private sector especially the industry have the
talent, the skills, and the means to prepare themselves for it. They
should not depend on government anymore to give them additional cuts.
Government on the other hand, probably, should come in strong in
agriculture, which is being currently threatened right now and would need
a great amount of assistance. Here, the question is in the area of
productivity and providing various forms of assistance to farmers and
making their products more competitive. But in the meantime, we should
develop productivity and clearly modernize the agriculture areas. 'Yung
parati kong tinatanong doon sa mga dalubhasa at doon sa talagang
magagaling sa agrikultura ay
, 'Kailan ba natin papalitan iyung ating mga
kalabaw at araro para tayo ay maging competitive
.'

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