The supreme goal and objective of our political party is to make the Philippines a better place to live in, work in, invest in, worship in, and all those other things that citizens seek in a free and democratic society. This is the dream we all share as members of Bagumbayan. This is also the hope we hear from our people as we travel and listen to them all over our archipelago.
As the first people to recover their independence after World War II in July 1946, the Philippines should have become by now a truly modern, developed and democratic nation. Instead, we are a nation in chronic crisis and decline.
In 1957 the World Bank said that “The Philippines has achieved a position in the Far East second only to Japan…[and] the prospects of the Philippine economy for sustained long-term growth are good.”
Today, 53 years later, the Philippines is a laggard in Asia, overtaken by Asian neighbors who used to look at us with envy.
Over this half-century, from one administration to another, great opportunities have come and gone. We have faltered because our government did not rise to its basic reason for being: to assure peace and security throughout the land, to provide opportunity for all, to lead in growing the economy, and to spread the benefits across all sectors of society.
Instead of peace, our country has been torn apart by rebellion, secession and disorder. Instead of our poor attaining a better life, we have only seen the rich get richer. Instead of sustainable development, we have witnessed boom and bust, growth and recession. Instead of providing for all, we have become less capable of providing for the health, education and welfare of our people as our numbers have increased to 94 million.
Strategy for Change: Effective Government
We submit that our national decline is due, not to any deficiency of talent of our people, or a damaged culture, or a lack of democracy. We have faltered because of the lack of effective government in our country.
Every problem that torments us today is rooted in poor governance.
From the perennial complaint about graft and corruption, to the nightmare in Maguindanao and the rise of private armies, to the huge fiscal deficit and the failure to collect the proper taxes, to the
perpetual weakness of the economy, to the decline of our education and public health systems, to our failure to compete in the world – all these are due to weak and ineffective government.
The way forward therefore, first and foremost, is the installation of Effective Government in our country. On this rests our vision and strategy for the transformation of the Philippines into a modern and progressive nation.
Simply stated, Effective Government means a government that can get things done, meet its targets and objectives, and realize the vision of progress and welfare for the nation. It means a government that can enable our people and our country to compete in the world – economically, politically, socially and culturally.
Five Strategic Objectives
Our strategy for change includes five key pillars:
• Establishing Peace and Security – We will uphold the authority of the Philippine Government in all provinces and regions of the country by establishing peace and order, bringing an end to the communist insurgency and Muslim secessionist rebellion, dismantling all private armies, and keeping the peace in all communities through effective local law enforcement.
• Rooting Out Graft and Corruption – We will stop graft and corruption in all levels of the government bureaucracy by making the President lead by example, installing full transparency and accountability in government operations, strengthening the independence of the Ombudsman, and overhauling government agencies long noted for graft.
• Mobilizing Government for National Modernization – We will transform the bureaucracy and the public service into a productive, efficient and forward-looking organization by adopting best practices in government operations, improving government finances through the collection of proper taxes, providing clear roles, guidelines and procedures for each government department and employee, and establishing meritocracy as the basis for advancement in the public service.
• Managing the Economy for Growth and Global Competition – We will raise the Philippine economy to a new level of growth and global competitiveness by investing in the modernization of national infrastructure, releasing the energies of the private sector, simplifying and streamlining the rules and procedures for doing business, raising domestic and foreign investments in the economy, and raising productivity in agriculture, industry and services.
• Developing our Human Resources – Recognizing that our people as our most important national resource, we pledge to provide for quality basic education to every Filipino child, modernize our education system from elementary to tertiary level, relieve once and for all the classroom shortage, modernize our public health system and provide health insurance for every citizen.
Establishing Peace and Security
We will establish peace and security throughout the archipelago by implementing the following measures:
• Enforcing the authority of the State in every community, every province and every region in the country.
• Bringing an end to the Communist insurgency and the Muslim secessionist rebellion through the process of peaceful negotiation if possible, or by force of arms if necessary.
• Disarming and disbanding of all private armies in the country.
• Improving law enforcement through the reorganization of the Philippine National Police and the greater participation of local government units and local communities in keeping the peace within their jurisdiction.
• Waging a vigorous campaign against organized crime, the drug trade and illegal gambling.
Rooting Out Graft and Corruption
We assign high priority to rooting out graft and corruption because it is a major obstacle to national progress and modernization. The spread of graft from revenue agencies to virtually all government agencies is pervasive. Local governments have likewise gotten into the action in a big way. To root our this menace, we pledge to implement the following measures:
• Make the position of Ombudsman a nationally elected position.
• Declog the Sandiganbayan in the prosecution of corruption cases.
• Eliminate presidential pardon for government officials found guilty of graft.
• Establish full transparency in executive projects, and include cabinet officials under judicial and congressional oversight.
• Punish all those who offer bribes and corrupt members of the bureaucracy.
Reinventing Government for National Modernization
Recognizing that the role of government has become more central and vital than ever in the new global economy, and considering how weak and ineffective our government has been for many decades, we assign top priority to the transformation of the government bureaucracy into an engine for national modernization and development. The key to achieving this are the following measures:
• Undertake from day one a full performance audit of the entire government bureaucracy in order to determine what agencies must be retained, strengthened, or eliminated because of obsolescence.
• Create clear roles and goals for each department to perform and meet in the modernization effort.
• Establish meritocracy as the rule for advancement in the civil service.
• Raise the standards for entry in the civil service.
• Adopt best practices in government management and operations.
• Eliminate wasteful spending in every agency of government.
Managing the Economy for Growth and Global Competition
Government’s role in the economy is central and vital to national success. The economy cannot be delegated merely to the private sector. Government must lead the way. To meet this objective the following programs will be implemented:
• Energy Sufficiency and Efficiency — The current power crisis and the continued volatility of oil prices highlight the need for a long-term and focused energy program to achieve both energy sufficiency and efficiency. We will adopt a comprehensive energy program that should include 1) overhauling and strengthening the Department of Energy, 2) setting clear targets for expansion of power generation capacity, 3) setting targets for the replacement of oil imports with alternative clean energy sources, and 4) setting standards for energy conservation and efficient energy utilization.
• Food Security and Agricultural Development — Food security and sufficiency is the primordial challenge facing the country every year as a result of typhoons and droughts. We believe Government must commit assign top priority to agricultural modernization. We have the human resources, the technical knowhow, and the land and marine resources to exploit.
• Tourism Development and Jobs Creation — Tourism is an export industry and it’s a tremendous jobs creator. And we have the natural beauty of our archipelago, the colorful culture and the people that can make tourism a long-lasting growth industry in our country. With the passage of the Tourism Development Act, attention must now focus on making it come to life through the right implementing rules and regulations, and effective reorganization of the Tourism machinery, and effective management. We set as a minimum the target 5 million tourist arrivals and one million new tourism jobs by 2013.
• Infrastructure Modernization and Jobs Creation — Infrastructure modernization is a must for national development and for Philippine competitiveness in the global economy. This is a challenge that the nation cannot shirk because of lack of resources or whatever. The public investment must be made in the modernization of the nation’s highways, transport systems, ports, airports, and communications. What government cannot provide in terms of capital, the private sector will be encouraged to supply. And whatever domestic investments cannot raise, foreign investments must fill the gap. We set the achievement of $20 billion direct foreign investments in three years.
Developing our Human Resources
Our people are our country’s greatest resource. And this has proven been many times over by our OFWs, our managers, our engineers, our artists and cultural workers. We believe therefore the education and health of our people must be of the highest priority to Government.
To meet our goals in education, we will implement the following measures:
• Undertake a comprehensive review of educational priorities and reorganize the Department of Education
• Add two years to basic education
• Meet the classroom shortage and reduce the average number of students to 50 per class within three years
• Increase the salaries of teachers to a minimum of P40,000 per month to attract top graduates to teaching.
• Provide sturdy, electronic book reader to public school students to lower costs for books and give them IT knowhow.
To meet our goals in public health, we will implement the following:
• Extend free public health services to cover all citizens, especially in the rural areas.
• Increase the salaries of doctors and nurses in order to keep more of them in the country.
• Establish compulsory healthcare savings account for all Filipinos.
• Establish more Botika ng Barangay outlets nationwide.
• Promote responsible parenthood.