Ilocos Norte representative and senatorial candidate Bongbong Marcos on Thursday said that infrastructure, education and agriculture will be his main priorities in the Senate if he is elected.
In an interview with local media in Camarines Sur, Marcos said that he would prioritize the construction of more school buildings, creation of additional farm-to-market roads and improvement of the country's agricultural system.
“During my father's time, developing the infrastructure system in the country was his top priority,” he said. “The need remains as urgent today. Infrastructure is not only about roads; it also includes power generation, communication, construction of schools and irrigation.”
Marcos stressed that the government must give a bigger share of the national budget to education. He said that over the past years, the budget given to the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education, (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA) have been decreasing instead of increasing.
“We are seeing bad results,” the Ilocano congressman said. “What is needed is to increase the funds so there will be good training.”
Marcos noted that Filipinos should open their minds to learning more about new technologies and systems in order to solve the power crisis in the country.
“In Ilocos Norte, wind power was the solution to one practical problem; we always had brown-outs and low-quality wind power,” he said. “I'm not saying that we should put windmills all over the Philippines. That won't be practical. We have to think of new solutions to our present problems because the world is different now.”
He told the media that Filipinos can do many things now that were impossible to do ten years ago. “I call it 'diskarteng Pinoy' because even if there's scarcity, lack of money, lack of training, lack of time, foreigners will say that it is impossible because all is scarce,” he said. “But we Filipinos we are used to being wretched that's why we always find a way. That's 'pag-asikaso.' That's what we did in Ilocos.”
The congressman from the north said that during the past years, agriculture was forsaken by the government because officials liked to import agricultural products.
“Agriculture is the foundation of all economies,” he said. “If the foundation is not good, whatever we do, nothing will happen. We took care of that in Ilocos Norte. When I went in as governor, our production was sixty percent of our consumption. When my term ended, it was already 300 percent when we started exporting.”
Marcos said that there is a need for a system to fix destroyed irrigation facilities and add more water services for irrigation. He emphasized the need to enforce a system of loans for the farmers so that they will have production loans. He said there is also a need to provide technical support for farmers so that they can be taught new techniques and have better harvests.
During his visit to Camarines Sur, Bongbong was accompanied by Congressman Wimpy Fuentebella and met with the mayors and local officials of the province.