RECORDED VIDEO MESSAGE: Mapúa University's Voters Education Forum 2022
WeTransfer link: https://we.tl/t-xUIPtzjgVm
(Question 1: How would you help in protecting and maintaining the integrity of the media amidst the recent spread of misinformation and the alleged attack on free speech?)
Sa una n’yong tanong: I am no stranger to attacks using fake news, and many of our fellow Filipinos who work in media and journalism are no strangers to the constant attempts at suppressing press freedom. Like I always say, the best way is to address this issue head-on. This infodemic is a crisis all on its own— at naniniwala ako na ang unang hakbang palagi ay ang malalimang pag-intindi sa kung bakit kumakalat ang disinformation, at kung bakit may attempts to curtail press freedom and our freedom of speech.
Kailangang alamin ‘yung “why” behind this phenomenon: The motivations behind it, the vast machineries that drive it, the dark intent to dismantle the common baseline of truth so that we may be more easily ripped apart. In doing so, we can begin to identify and address the sentiments being exploited to spread falsehoods. We can begin enacting provisions that will help us effectively hold the line and protect the truth. And I think pinakamahalaga ay 'yung we start creating pathways of outreach and empathy, especially to those who have been victimized by disinformation.
(Question 2: The country entered 2022 with a spike of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, pushing it back to more rigid restrictions with a higher alert level. With this in mind, how would you describe the current state of the Philippine COVID-19 pandemic response? Would you have responded in the same manner as the current administration, or would you have done things differently?)
Sa pangalawang tanong, lagi kong sinasabi: Address the pandemic, and you address the front-end domino of all these other difficulties we face, lalo na sa economy at sa education. I have made my position very clear these past two years: The current response, which largely relies on alternating between quarantine protocols depending on our daily COVID figures, is not sustainable.
I would have done a lot of things differently. In a nutshell, I would say my response would have been anchored on one fundamental principle: Science-backed decision making. We would have started with putting experts on the table and listening to science-backed recommendations — which is also what we did sa OVP, when we decided to pivot towards pandemic response initiatives in 2020.
(Question 3: If you were to be elected as the 17th president of the Republic of the Philippines, what platforms and legislations would you implement in our education system?)
I have talked extensively about how the pandemic has severely affected our education system. Dama namin ito sa OVP even now, as we continue rolling out initiatives for helping communities keep up with the demands of distance and blended learning. Last year, I presented two policy agendas, the details of which cover a lot of our plans for educational reform.
The first course of action, still, is addressing learning in this pandemic: Kailangan nang magbukas ng mga paaralan para hindi mapag-iiwanan ang mga estudyante natin. Sisiguraduhin nating ligtas ang balik-eskwela: Titiyakin nating maayos at nasusunod ang health protocols. Gagawa tayo ng pambansang sistema at mga patakaran para sa face-to-face na pag-aaral. Dahil mas alam nila ang lagay sa mga bayan natin, iaatas natin sa lokal na pamahalaan ‘yung pagdedesisyon kung ligtas na bang magbalik-eskwela. Susuportahan natin ang mga guro. Bubuo tayo ng mga communities of practice para sa mga teachers, school heads, at school boards, para sila mismo, kayang bumuo ng mga lokal na stratehiya para sa ligtas at tuloy-tuloy na pag-aaral ng mga anak natin. Bibigyan din natin ng papel ang mga school council at school boards sa basic education; para sa higher education, magkakaroon tayo ng multisectoral council kasama ang CHED, mga school heads, at ang LGU.
Once the pandemic is taken care of, then we’re free to work on long-term solutions. For example: I strongly believe in pouring more resources, more funding, into our systems. Kung ayaw nating maging kulelat ang mga mag-aaral, kailangan hindi rin kulelat ang budget para sa edukasyon. Sisiguraduhin nating hindi ito bababa sa 18% ng buong pondo ng gobyerno sa 2023. Itataas natin sa 6% ng GDP—o lagpas isang trilyong piso—ang budget para dito pagdating sa 2024.
Muli, maraming salamat sa pagkakataong maipahayag ko ang aking platforms of governance sa mga kasama natin sa forum na ito. Lagi kayong mag-iingat! Mabuhay ang Mapua at mabuhay ang kabataang Pilipino.