MANILA, Mar 14 (Mabuhay) — Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Saturday said the Philippines must be fully prepared for a possible spillover to Asia of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The presidential aspirant added the country must walk the talk since it has supported the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said this includes allowing the use of the country’s facilities by allies such as the United States.

“Nagpirma na tayo sa UNGA resolution na nakikiisa tayo sa ibang bansa sa pagkondena sa invasion ng Russia sa Ukraine. So dapat lamang na sundan natin sa gawa ang ating salita. Kung sakaling kailangan ang facilities ng Pilipinas, mapa-dagat lupa o ere, tama lang yan (We signed the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. So we should walk the talk. If our facilities are needed whether it be on land, sea or air, that is but proper),” he said in a statement.

As early as February, Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, had called on the Philippine authorities to prepare for the effects of the conflict.

Presently, he noted we are already feeling the effects of the conflict on the economy, with fuel prices already skyrocketing.

While hoping Russia-Ukraine conflict will not lead to nuclear war, Lacson said it is better that the Philippines should prepare for all scenarios.

“Mabuti rin na naka-ready tayo kesa mabigla tayo (It is better to be prepared than be surprised),” he said.

He also pointed out that the present situation shows the value of having allies who can help ensure our security from external threats.

“Sa akin lagi tayong consistent dito na mainam na meron tayong kaalyado pagdating sa ating security, external threat sa atin (We must be consistent — we must maintain close ties with allies who will help ensure our security from external threats),” Lacson added.

Anti-corruption measures

Meanwhile, Lacson said undercover agents posing as applicants will be deployed to catch extorting government employees.

He added that this will be among the drastic measures against corruption should he win in the May 9 elections.

Lacson said such drastic measures will keep even hardheaded members of the bureaucracy on their toes, for fear they would be caught and punished.

“Sa government bureaucracy, pwede tayong mag-field ng operatives na kunwari nag-a-apply… hanggang matanim sa isipan ng government employees and officials na delikado tayo, baka ang kinikikilan natin ay operative (In the bureaucracy, we can field operatives who will pretend as applicants, to catch mulcting employees. The corrupt employees will soon be on their toes because they don’t know if the applicant they are extorting from is a secret operative),” he added.

Lacson said he had done this to get rid of the “kotong culture” in the Philippine National Police when he headed it from 1999 to 2001.

This will jibe with his and his vice presidential bet Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s campaign theme of fixing the government’s ills (Aayusin ang Gobyerno, Aayusin ang Buhay ng Bawat Pilipino).

He also said he plans to have the Plunder Law revisited, to correct its weaknesses and make it easier to implement, so it will deter the corrupt from stealing from public coffers.

Lacson, who said corruption is one of the scourges that threaten to ruin his day, especially when he learns of Filipinos victimized by it, reiterated that should he be elected President, he will set the tone for the government in his first day in office by signing a waiver of his rights under the Bank Secrecy Act and undertake a massive sustained internal cleansing of the bureaucracy.

He stressed anew his vow to put a premium on transparency in government dealings, including the procurement of vaccines to address the Covid threat.

“Ang essence ng paglaban sa corruption, transparency (Transparency is the essence of fighting corruption),” he said. (MNS)

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