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COVID NOT COLORS SHOULD BE 2022 FOCUS – PANGILINAN

Solutions to address the hunger and joblessness brought by the pandemic should be the focus in the upcoming elections and not political colors, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said.

“Our problem is not colors; our problem is COVID…Unless we contain COVID and manage it with interventions, everything else will remain stagnant,” Pangilinan said in response to a question on Vice President Leni Robredo’s use of pink instead of the Liberal Party’s yellow.

In an online media interview, the aspiring vice president stressed that efficient COVID response would be key to addressing hunger and joblessness, given the worst economic contraction in 40 years.

“Tama na yung usapan ng iba’t ibang kulay. Pag-usapan natin ang problema ng COVID at ano ang solusyon.”

“For me, tama na yung usapan ng iba’t ibang kulay. Pag-usapan natin ang problema ng COVID at ano ang solusyon. Yan ang pinaka-importante sa ating mga kababayan. Pa’no natin titiyakin na magkakaroon na maayos na government response,” the seasoned legislator said.

According to a July 2021 SWS survey, some 4.2 million Filipinos experienced hunger in May 2021. 16.8% of Filipino families experienced hunger due to lack of food at least once in the past three months, or “involuntary hunger”.

Recent data also show that unemployment ballooned to almost 3.9 million in August 2021- nearly a million more than the July 2021 record of 3.07 million, according to the PSA.

This is credited to stricter lockdown measures that have led to the closing of establishments and fresh college graduates seeking out employment for the first time.

For the senator, hunger and joblessness are issues of food security that require strengthening support for the agriculture sector.

“Kapag sinuportahan mo ang mga magsasaka at mga mangingisda, gaganda ang kanilang ani at kita. Kapag gumanda ang kanilang ani, dadami ang supply. Pag dumami ang suplay, babagsak ang presyo ng pagkain. Pag bumagsak ang presyo ng pagkain, then we are able to address and conquer poverty and hunger,” he said.

Pangilinan is the principal author of the Sagip Saka Act of 2019 that allows farmers to directly sell their produce to national and local government units and agencies without the need for public bidding nor the involvement of a middleman.

Asked about interventions within the first 100 days should the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem gets elected, he mentioned three.

“We have to manage COVID correctly: we have to address contact tracing, better vaccine roll-out, syempre root out corruption.”

“We have to manage COVID correctly: we have to address contact tracing, better vaccine roll-out, syempre root out corruption,” Pangilinan stressed.

As of October 10, the Philippines has reported 2.67 million COVID cases.

About 22.88 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, with an average of 498,000 daily vaccinations according to herdimmunity.ph.

“Darating ang trabaho at mataas na kita, lalago at manunumbalik ang sigla ng ekonomiya kapag tinalo natin ang COVID,” Pangilinan concluded.

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