PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, Sr. is eyeing the collection of unpaid taxes to fund the government’s national broadband plan (NBP) in full.
“If we accomplish that (NBP), our internet services will be steady,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino in a statement.
The senator noted that about P18 billion is needed to build infrastructure and systems that can enhance internet connection services across the country.
The Department of Budget and Management has only released about P900 million for the national broadband network project, Mr. Lacson said.
Given the insufficient allocation, the Department of Information and Communications Technology was unable to develop “the fiber optic backbone, which is a vital component of high-speed internet services.”
Should he win the presidential race, the senator said digitalization of all government transactions will be prioritized. This, he said, is part of his mission to combat graft and corruption.
A fully digitized administration, he added, would intensify tax collection efforts.
This would also help the Philippines level with neighboring countries whose investments on digitalization programs have saved them billions in public funds and improved their economies.
Robredo in Samar
Presidential bet Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, meanwhile, vowed to boost energy security in Samar, as she wooed voters in the Eastern Visayas province on Monday.
In her speech at a campaign rally in Calbayog City, where the crowd was estimated at 7,000, Ms. Robredo vowed to invest in roads and more renewable energy sources in the province.
“Electricity rates are high here, which should compel the government to provide (energy-related) subsidies,” she said, noting that the typhoon-prone province has potential green energy sources.
Ms. Robredo said these subsidies would help fishermen and farmers the most. “They are already spending too much on fuel.”
The late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. won against Ms. Robredo in Eastern Visayas region in the 2016 vice-presidential election by a slim margin.
In that election, Ms. Robredo won in all other regions in the Visayas, the central islands of the Philippines.
Ms. Robredo has secured the endorsement of some key political figures in central Philippines, including Eastern Samar Governor Ben P. Evardone.
Mr. Evardone is a partymate of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who celebrated his 77th birthday on Monday.
Mr. Duterte was greeted by some of his controversial political allies, including Taguig Rep. Alan Peter C. Cayetano who was ousted as House speaker in 2020 after he failed to honor a term-sharing deal brokered by the President in 2019.
The President was also greeted by his top spiritual adviser, Apollo C. Quiboloy, who is wanted in the United States for sex trafficking and other charges.
Mr. Duterte’s six-year term ends in June. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza