UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer and Vice President Jejomar Binay hit the campaign trail on Tuesday by baring his four-point agenda, which includes abolition of income tax on workers earning P30,000 and below per month.
Binay’s kickoff speech before thousands of slum dwellers in Welfareville Compound in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) also delved on the “sins” of the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd which, he said, failed to improve the lives of millions of poor Filipinos.
If the income tax on low-income earners is abolished, it will benefit more than six million workers.
“To those who would say that this will not happen because it will bleed the government, my answer is simple: Billions are lost in government funds due to smuggling. Billions are lost to inefficient tax collection. Billions are wasted due to wrong expenditures by government departments. That should be fixed, not causing more hardships to Filipino workers,” he said.
Binay vowed to give free books, uniforms and other school supplies to 20 million poor students enroled in public schools.
“We will allocate more than P65 billion from our national budget for this,” he said.
Also, the UNA presidential bet vowed to cooperate with local governments and the private sector to provide free medical assistance to the poor.
He said he will expand coverage of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program.
“Do not believe such lies attributed to me that I will stop 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program). We will not only continue it, we shall expand it to include those aged 60 to 64 and many of our countrymen,” Binay added.
He said he will “reform” the program to spare it from being “politicized and wasted.”
“We will make sure that the 4Ps [funds]will be received on time,” Binay added.
The Vice President also minced no words in hitting the Aquino administration, which he accused of failing to lift the lives of the poor since it came to power in 2010.
“Those six years are about to end but instead of eradicating or even reducing [poverty], even more were subjected to destitution,” he said.
“And amid the improvement of a few in the so-called straight path, millions of our countrymen are still without jobs, poor, deprived of education, unhealthy and hungry. This is the painful truth then and now,” Binay pointed out.
He said it pains him that those who do odd jobs such as constructing tall buildings and expensive mansions are those who have no place of their own.
“Those who sow and reap the food we eat are those who starve,” Binay added.
He said the economic growth being boasted by the Aquino government is worthless “if many remain poor.”
“Growth is worthless if many are jobless. For someone who has nothing to eat, the good news about our economy is nothing,” Binay added.
With him during the event were his wife Elenita and their children — Senator Nancy Binay, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, and former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Binay’s political spokesman Rico Quicho said Binay chose to hold his kickoff rally in Welfareville, Mandaluyong City because “we want to show that we are instilling in the mind and heart of every Filipino that Vice President Binay really feels that the problem faced by our country is poverty. And because of his skill and experience, he definitely can fight, eradicate this poverty in order to bring relief to every Filipino.”
“Beginning our campaign here is symbolic. Because the Vice President’s priority is eradicate poverty,”he told reporters.
“That is why we are starting [the campaign]here, to show that for Vice President Binay, he really feels what our fellowmen are going through that here at Welfareville, here in Mandaluyong, we will start the Vice President’s fight against poverty,” Quicho said.
“Starting today, what you will hear from us are platforms, the steps that we will take to fight poverty, the projects [and]programs that Vice President Binay will undertake in order to fight and really solve poverty, lack of jobs, hunger that is felt by many, and lack of basic social services which should be provided to our fellowmen,” he added.
Binay’s running mate, Sen. Gringo Honasan, and the party’s senatorial bets that include Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, former Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas, Parañaque Councilor Alma Moreno, Sulu Sultanate Princess Jacel Kiram, veteran broadcaster Rey Langit, and labor lawyer Allan Montaño.
Also present at the proclamation rally were Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, and former Manila Mayor and now Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.