Manila Bulletin - Marcos seeks focus on infrastructure to help solve problems of unemployment, poverty

News & Interviews
10 September 2015

By Hannah Torregoza | Manila Bulletin

ManilaBulletinOnlineAlthough he has yet to firm up his plans for the May, 2016, elections, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said yesterday he would focus on infrastructure as a top-priority program to address the problems of unemployment and poverty in the country.

Other areas that need to be attended to, he added, are agriculture, transportation, power supply, drugs, and crime.

Speaking at a roundtable meeting with Manila Bulletin editors and other editorial staff at the Bulletin news room, Senator Marcos recalled the years his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, served as head of state and government. The senator said he hopes to replicate the programs rolled out by the Marcos administration in the 1970s,

Asked about the current administration, he said, “I’ve always said I’d give this current administration a low 6. …. There are many good things that happened during this administraiotn, but only rich people feel it; poor people don’t feel it.”

He added: “The reason why it is above passing is at least there is an effort on anti-corruption. Whether it was successful or not is something else,” he said.

It was the administration of President Corazon Aquino that took over from the Marcos administration after the People Power Revolution of l986. Her son, President Benigno Aquino III, is now the president.

 Marcos said he wishes to revive the phrase “nation-building,” which his father often used in his speeches during his term.

He said he has been considering running for president in next year’s elections and one of the reasons is that many people have observed that life was much better during the Marcos years than during the succeeding presidencies.

“We seem to have embarked on this national policy of divide and rule. And it has become national policy. It has become public policy to spend your time somehow punishing your political enemies, rather than nation-building,” he said.

The current administration, he said, does not seem to have coherent program on all issues, even on energy and transportation, and has always adopted a “reactive” stance.

“And I use that word very pointedly, because I always remember that when I would listen not only to my father’s speeches but presidents before him. They always spoke about nation-building, and the phrase nation-building was always a prominent one. It was a description that government is attempting to put on all the various elements that are necessary for the country to grow and progress. And that seems to be the point of government. That is what government is meant to be doing,” the senator said.

“I don’t hear that phrase anymore. Especially now, in the past few years, nation-building has taken a very back seat to politics. Everything, all the important decision that have been made by the government are colored by politics,” he said.  “That’s why it has had no coherent policies on agriculture, or foreign policy, or traffic management, and other issues.

“Merit does not seem to be such an important point; excellence or competence does not seem to be an important point. Simply what is important seems to be political color. Eto ba ay kasama natin, ito ba ay kaalyado natin? I have seen instances where projects have been proposed and the projects were adopted or declined on the basis of did the person who brought the project to us ‘Kasama ba natin yan or hindi?’ Kahit walang kwenta yung programa, kasama ba natin yan or hindi? Kahit maganda ang programa, basta di natin kasama, huwag natin gawin?”

The Metro Manila traffic fiasco, he said, is a testament to the government’s lack of foresight, among other problems the country is facing. The slow rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit provinces and the sorry plight of the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are also cases in point.

“We have concerned ourselves only with politics. Of course, it has its place, and there are areas where politics should not enter into the picture. That, unfortunately, is the criteria adopted these days,” he said.

Marcos also rejected speculations he might impose martial law should he become president. “Martial law was meant for something different in 1972 than it does now,” he said. “In this context today, martial law should only be declared in a time of war. I cannot see any instances where martial law would be the solution.”