NOT A SPARE TIRE
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano wants to prove that the Vice Presidency is not simply a spare tire in the landscape of national governance.
Change is coming, Cayetano, a vice presidential candidate in the May 2016 election, said of what people will expect if he is elected.
Running in tandem with PDP-Laban standard bearer Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Cayetano said he would redefine the vice presidency, a position often thought to be a reserve in case the president is incapacitated or unable to lead.
Duterte and Cayetano are currently on a nationwide tour dubbed as “Hamon ng Pagbabago” covering major cities, provinces, and different sectors in the country.
They vow to wage war against crime and corruption, especially on illegal drugs, realize an inclusive economy through regional development, and attain equality under the law.
IF THEY WIN IN THE MAY ELECTIONS
Cayetano said he would be an effective partner of Duterte in nation building.
“The vice president can be a drum-beater, can be an agenda-setter. He can be a person in the Cabinet that will push for true change. The vice president, is not just a spare tire,” he said.
The 44-year-old lawmaker is currently ranked 3rd among voters’ preference for vice president in the surveys, after front-runner Senator Chiz Escudero (with standard bearer Senator Grace Poe) and Nacionalista Parly (NP) Senator Bongbong Marcos (running with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago). The three others running for vice president are Senator Gringo Honasan pairing with Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), CamSur congresswoman Leni Robredo (Mar Roxas of Liberal Party) and independent Senator Antonio Trillanes.
Cayetano said his over-all platform would revolve around spreading growth and progress to all corners of the country.
He is supporting a shift to a federal form of government and a strong campaign against corruption and criminality, the flagship programs of governance of Duterte.
Cayetano banks on his experience in both local governance and national legislation as HIS strengths in his campaign for “true change.”
He has been a fierce critic of the Aquino administration.
Cayetano is a co-author of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, but withdrew his support for the bill after the ill-fated military operation that killed 44 commandos of the police Special Action Force (SAF) in what is now called as the Mamasapano Massacre.
Cayetano backs Duterte’s iron-fist campaign against illegal drugs.
He says he and Duterte have a comprehensive plan and strategy as well as the political will to win the war against illegal drugs.
“With the help of the people, we will end the reign of drug lords and make our streets safe again for our people,” he said.
Duterte had said the country’s crime situation, particularly drug trafficking, has become so dire that no less than bold solutions and swift actions are necessary to end this debacle.
“We will reclaim our streets from the drug lords and criminal. We will bring the war to their doorsteps,” Duterte said.
Cayetano said that 92 percent of barangays in the National Capital Region (NCR) are infiltrated with drugs. He also said that 50 percent of those in jail are because of drug-related cases.
Cayetano said if elected, he and Duterte will round up the big-time drug lords of the country, local and international alike, by combining the elements of the military and the police and modernizing their crime-fighting strategies.
Cayetano vowed to end the government’s “NCR-centric” approach to economic development by decentralizing power and resources to the regions, which he said is aligned with Duterte’s push for federalism.
He would bat for the transfer of national departments to the regions, particularly the Department of Energy (DoE) to Mindanao in order for the government to act decisively on the power crisis plaguing the region.
Cayetano said their platform includes the completion of the Mindanao Railway System to make it easier to transfer food commodities from Mindanaoan agricultural areas.
He said that if the national government can fund the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Metro Manila, which costs P50-billion worth of the public’s money, it can also do the same for Mindanao’s long cherised dream of a railway system.