by Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak | 12/03/2009 2:02 AM
(Fourth of a series on ANC's Harapan presidential forum held December 2, 2009 at UST)
MANILA - Should environmentalist Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas win in the 2010 presidential elections, he would demonstrate his political will by removing all smoke-belching vehicles from the streets of Metro Manila in his first 100 days in Malacañang.
Rich and poor, politicians and civilians, no one will not be spared from his order. “No one is excused,” Perlas said as he stressed his green platform.
Cleaning the air would only be the first demonstration of Perlas’ political will. He also vowed to “clean up” the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, considered to be “most dirty agencies” in government.
New and old politics
He said that such reforms are possible only if the country's leader is not corrupt.
Perlas said traditional politicians will not be able to reform the nation's political system. Only an outsider like himself, who knows how the government works and has contributed to shaping national policies, can reform the system. (Read: Perlas—Against all odds)
In the event that President Arroyo becomes House Speaker after the 2010 elections and Perlas is elected President of the Philippines , he said people would have “real choices between new and politics.”
“She thinks that people are still in the old mindset of politics, [but] they are so tired of old politics as exemplified by Arroyo,” he said.
If he wins, "real government" would prevail, and if Mrs. Arroyo becomes speaker of the House of Representatives, there will be a good opportunity to see how new and old politics collide.
Fight private armies, poverty
Perlas said that 10 days before the November 23 Maguindanao massacre, his camp talked to people from Mindanao. He was told that the massacre was not an “exceptional” event, but it exploded because of the big number of people--57--who died.
He also said that there is a correlation between poverty and private armies--poor provinces like Maguindanao usually have leaders with private armies.
He noted that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is the country's poorest region, and the government should exert efforts to alleviate poverty in the ARMM.
Perlas added that people in the poorest areas in the country should be given the same opportunities that are available in rich provinces.
When asked what he would have done if he was president, Perlas said his immediate response to the massacre in Maguindanao would have been to order the immediate arrest of the suspects.
Role of First Family
Asked about the role of the First Family, he said they should complement the president’s integrity and competence.
He mentioned that his son, Christopher, supports him and lives a simple lifestyle similar to his.
Support from his relatives during the election campaign does not mean that he owes them and has to pay them back, he said.
“When you support me, you do not support me as a family member but you support a vision,” he said.
In case he becomes president, he promised to go after everyone who breaks the law, even if they are his family members.
He also said that the country should “graduate from its tradition of political dynasty.”
The country should not wait for an enabling law that would abolish political dynasty, he said.
The Maguindanao massacre, he said, was a result of abusive political families nurtured by a government that grants them special favors.
as of 12/03/2009 2:07 AM