DEPUTY Speaker Lito Atienza said at the weekend the presidential aspirant Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao administration’s main mission will be to “promote a healthy economy, provide jobs for the jobless and a better life for all our great masses.”

This, he said,  can only be done by a thorough, honest-to-goodness campaign against corruption on all fronts.

As Pacquiao’s running mate, Atienza committed himself “to be a very effective partner of the president” to ensure Pacquiao’s success in his mission, should they make it in the 2022 elections.

Speaking at the vice presidentiables forum organized Saturday night by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Atienza said their tandem commits to “remove corruption once and for all  in the bureaucracy.”

Blaming it as the main cause of poverty, Atienza warned corruption “will persist as long as the president and national leaders do not perform tasks” mandated by the Constitution under Section 27, Article II, for government officials to “push for honesty and integrity in public service.”

Atienza asked aloud, “Have we done enough, to comply with the constitutional mandate?” and then answered his question:  “The  Answer is a big No. Right now, we are witnessing exactly the face of corruption in this present administration.”

The Deputy Speaker said they will also uphold local autonomy under Section 25 of State Policies that, he noted, “very clearly mandated that State shall ensure autonomy in local government.”

The former three-term Manila mayor said upholding real local autonomy “is the only way we can progress as an archipelago,” given the geographically dispersed regions. The key is “for us to promote development in the countryside and each and every island.”

Unless this is done,  he added, partly in Filipino, “money will dry up yet people in rural areas won’t ever taste progress,” asserting that “local autonomy is the best way to excite the economy, all at the same time.”

Atienza said Pacquiao as president “will fight corruption, and put all crooks either behind bars, or suspend them. Unless we do something about corruption, no good economy, no program promoting progress, will succeed.”

If the money lines the pockets of those running government, and taxes are not collected, and local government units (LGUs) do not do anything, we cannot progress fast,” Atienza added.

Atienza vouched for the senator’s integrity, saying he and Pacquiao “have known each other for 21 years.”  The only 8-division world boxing champion has made it known he looks to Atienza like a second father and mentor, the latter having supported him when he was a struggling,  hungry young boxer.

Besides fighting corruption and upholding local autonomy, Atienza said a government to  succeed must be a responsible steward of the counrty’s abundant natural reSources.

While serving as Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (under President Arroyo), he confirmed that “we have so much in the country…freshwater, food and greenery and minerals.”

Atienza warned, meanwhile, that “unless we move…all the public lands in country will be turned into subdivisions, owned only by a few.”

Moreover, Atienza assures he will help Sen. Pacquiao “all the way—to transform his dreams…so that the blessings given him by God, can also be theirs.” Moreover, Atienza added, “I will see to it that during our time, ang trabaho maghahanap ng tao, at hindi yung tao maghahanap ng trabaho [The jobs will chase people, not the other way around].”

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