Saying no one can solve the country’s problems alone, Sen. Grace Poe rallied barangay (village) officials to join her campaign to eradicate poverty and fight crime and corruption.
In a meeting with hundreds of village officials in Quezon City on Thursday night, the lone independent presidential aspirant in the May 2016 elections bared the plans of her “Gobyernong may Puso” (Government with a Heart) and highlighted the role of the barangay in ensuring the success of any national campaign against illegal drugs.
“Ngayon, merong mga nagpo-propose na three to six months, masusupil, matatapos ang problema ng krimen at droga. Mga kababayan, pati ako gusto ko ‘yon, pati kayo gusto natin ‘yon. Pero makatotohanan din tayo, paano natin gagawin ‘yon [Now, there is a proposal to end crime and drug trafficking in three to six months. My countrymen, I like that, you also like that. But we are also realistic, how can we do it in just three to six short months]?” Poe asked.
If she wins in the May 9 elections, she said she will strengthen and incentivize crime-fighting at the barangay level to encourage more village officials to get involved in reporting suspicious activities in their communities.
“Ang pinaka-vital partner para magtagumpay ang programa na ‘yan ay ang barangay. Ang Barangay Anti-Drug Council [BADAC] ay dapat matagal nang pinalakas ng ating gobyerno sapagkat ang bawat barangay chairman o miyembro ng barangay, alam ninyo kung sino sa barangay ninyo ang nagtutulak, kung sino sa barangay ninyo ang may bagong motor na hindi alam kung saan nanggaling, kung sino sa barangay ninyo ang nanalo at tumaya sa kung ano mang tinayaan [Our vital partner in that program is the barangay. The government should have strengthened the Barangay Anti-Drug Council, because barangay officials know who are pushing drugs, who get to own a motorcycle that seems to spring from nowhere, who bet on what and where],” Poe added.
BADACs are in charge of planning and executing anti-drug abuse programs in the barangay.
They are authorized to create the BADAC auxiliary teams, which ideally should be composed of 25 people per 2,000 population.
These teams will monitor the streets and identify drug-affected homes.
Partly because of weak or non-existent BADACs, however, 20 percent or 8,629 of the country’s 42,065 barangay are considered drug-affected or have drug-related cases.
In Metro Manila alone, 92 percent of the barangay were affected by illegal drugs in 2014, meaning there was a drug user, pusher, manufacturer or cultivator in the area.
“Kayo po talaga ang koneksyon sa ating mga kababayan. Ang gagawin ko ay insentibo para sa inyo. Hindi po bala, kundi insentibo [You in the barangay are the link to our countrymen. I will give you incentives, not bullets, but incentives],” Poe said.
“Sa bawat barangay na may problema sa droga, sa krimen, kakausapin ang mga barangay captain. Kung mabawasan ninyo ang problema ng kalahati, may pabuya ang bawat barangay na makakagawa ‘non; pagkatapos ng ilang buwan, daang libo [In every barangay that has a problem with drugs, crimes, we will talk to the barangay captain. If you reduce the problem by half, you will be rewarded; after a few months, you stand to receive thousands],” she added.
Aside from sharing specific plans to address criminality, Poe declared her commitment to create more than a million jobs every year and to end contractualization, a persistent problem in the labor sector.
She also vowed to issue an executive order to institutionalize feeding in public daycare centers and elementary schools, and to make quality education free and more accessible to the poor.
“Sa tingin ko talaga ang ating mga kababayan ay sabik na sa pagbabago, isang pagbabago na magbibigay sa kanila ng disenteng pamumuhay, na gusto nila may sapat na kita ang kanilang pamilya [I can see that our people want change, a change that will give them a decent life, with their families earning sufficient income],” Poe, the first foundling to run for President, said.
“Ang inaalay ko sa inyo ay ito: Inaalay ko ang aking katapatan, inaalay ko ang aking dedikasyon, at inaalay ko ang aking enerhiya para matugunan natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan [What I offer you is my honest, dedication and energy to be able to answer the needs of our countrymen],” she added.