Robredo eyes P216-B stimulus; Lacson: no more death penalty

VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo has pledged to push for a multi-billion stimulus package if she wins the presidential election next year.

Ms. Robredo vowed to allocate about P216 billion in next year’s national budget for pandemic aid.

This would curb hunger and boost household spending, according to the presidential aspirant’s pandemic recovery plan.

Ms. Robredo said she would also push for a measure providing P100 billion worth of grants to micro, small and medium enterprises.

Her administration would push for a national unemployment insurance program to help those displaced by the pandemic, she added.

She also highlighted the importance of strengthening the country’s farm and fishery sectors amid the health crisis.

The vice president said she would “double” the annual fund of the Department of Agriculture, increasing its share from the national budget by up to 3.4% in 2028 from the current 1.7%. All sectors in the industry “will not be left behind,” she said.

To bail the country out of the pandemic, Ms. Robredo said the next administration should focus first on the country’s healthcare system.

If elected, Ms. Robredo said she would form a team of experts to advise the government, reorganize the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., ensure sufficient salaries and benefits for health workers, support hospitals, roll out broad-based coronavirus testing, and set aside enough funds for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines.

LACSON
Presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, meanwhile, said he is now against the reimposition of capital punishment, citing concerns over potential wrongful convictions.

“It holds more weight to save the life of someone wrongfully convicted,” Mr. Lacson said in a media briefing Thursday with his running-mate, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III.

Instead, they plan on “creating or establishing a national penitentiary for high-level drug traffickers and heinous criminals.”

Mr. Sotto said criminals in the facility will be placed in separate cells and communication will be highly restricted.

“They will suffer for the rest of their life and will have nothing to do but regret,” said Mr. Lacson, “until they die in prison.”

Mr. Lacson is also open to reinstituting the Philippines’ membership to the International Criminal Court, which has launched an investigation on President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s drug war.

“We still need to consult our foreign policy managers or advisers,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino, “but my initial reaction is yes.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Alyssa Nicole O. Tan