SALN flip-flop, liberal views, economic plans

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr attended four media forums this week where he flip-flopped on transparency, revealed his liberal views on abortion and raised concerns. questions about his economic plans.

What was clear and consistent in his interviews with ALC Media Group, One PH, DZRH and entertainment host Boy Abunda was his foreign policy. He said he was ready to put aside our historic arbitration victory in 2016 to strike a bilateral deal with the Chinese, whom he calls his friends.

SALN flip-flop

The first interview he did was with the ALC Media Group on Monday, January 24, consisting of CNN Philippines, DWIZ, Philippines Chart, Business mirror and Pilipino mirror.

Marcos was asked emphatically if he would release his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), and for seven minutes he explained how SALNs are militarized and how the “lessons learned” from the impeachment trial of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona makes the restriction of ombudsman Samuel Martires a justified policy.

“If it’s just for political purposes, if there’s a problem, if they neglected and somehow violated what they were supposed to do, we can take it to the authorities. , going public won’t help,” Marcos said.

When asked once again if he would do what VP Leni Robredo is doing, which is releasing her SALNs on her own to get around the ombudsman restriction, Marcos replied. : “You give me someone’s SALN, mahahanapan ko ng question yan kung talagang gusto ko (I can find a problem if I want).

Marcos was immediately criticized for this position, so on Monday night when he faced One PH’s Sa Totoo Lang, he said he was “perfectly willing to show my SALN”. Marcos repeated this position a day later, on Tuesday, January 25, when he was interviewed by the DZRH panel.

Marcos, however, said he has no SALN to show yet as he has not been in government for six years.

Liberal views

Marcos has proven to be more liberal on the abortion issue than Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos was the only one to say he was in favor of abortion if the woman is a victim of rape or incest and her health is in danger, telling Abunda on Tuesday, January 25: “If can be shown that they were raped and it was not consensual sex that got them pregnant, so they should have a choice whether or not to abort.

Lacson and Robredo were hesitant on the matter, while Moreno and Pacquiao were completely unsupportive.

However, the following day, Marcos’ media team sent out a press release aimed at placating his conservative base. The press release read, “Marcos said he is firm on his pro-life stance, however, he would allow abortion in extreme cases or in cases where it is warranted.”

In the interview with Abunda, Marcos sounded pro-choice.

“The women in my life – always, when we talk about the subject, when we talk about abortion – it’s my body, I have to decide. And I subscribe to that notion and I think that’s correct.

Marcos was also open to discussing the divorce, but admitted it was not a straightforward matter. He proposed to study the granting of legal status to a couple who would be happier if they separated.

Questions about economic plans

On Friday, January 28, the economic think tank IBON Foundation published a report on betting economic platforms, but left Marcos’ space blank.

Unlike labor leader Leody de Guzman, Lacson, Moreno, Robredo and Pacquiao, Marcos has not released a detailed and readily available roadmap of his economic plans, except for press releases sent out by his media team.

Marcos had a chance to talk about his economic plans during his media blitz this week, but his assessment of the country’s debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio raised a few eyebrows. The debt-to-GDP ratio is the level of debt relative to the size of the economy. Ours is currently at 63%, exceeding the internationally accepted threshold of 60%.

But for Marcos, this ratio is correct, as he told Abunda: “There are other countries that are close to 100%, some have exceeded 100%, so we are in a relatively good position.” Robredo, for his part, was wary of the 63% ratio and said it already put us at risk of not being able to pay our debts.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s chief economist, Michael Ricafort, said the next president should “structurally reduce the growth of the country’s debt stock/debt-to-GDP ratio.”

Marcos pointed to his jabs-to-jobs program, where he said a proper education campaign and more effective vaccine rollout should be able to increase our vaccination rate so people can get back to work.

“Agriculture, tourism, we should go back to the concept of public-private partnership, and that way we can bring together different segments of government working together so that the economy comes back and hopefully it comes back stronger than it wasn’t during pre-Covid,” Marcos said. He added that for him there should be “no more lockdowns.”

Back to FEM

In all four interviews, Marcos returned to his father’s agendas, beginning with the export of labor.

On the issue of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), Marcos spoke at length with media group ALC on Monday about his labor export policy, saying he wants a retraining program for returning OFWs “with an eye on the international job market”. The labor export policy is criticized by some sectors as a lazy economic push, as it removes the government’s burden of creating jobs here and generating sustainable wealth.

“Saan ba ngayon ang maraming construction? How to deal with the nurse, the doctor? Saan ba ngayon, where we can export?” Marcos said.

(Which country needs construction jobs, who needs nurses, doctors. Where can we export?)

Abunda, in his interview, spoke of the “unquantifiable social cost” of labor migration which “destroys the Filipino family”.

“The ideal is that no one leaves, that we have enough jobs na hindi na kinakailangang magbiyahe sa abroad (where they don’t need to go abroad), unless…not out of necessity anyway. They have the choice to stay here in the Philippines, baka mas mai magandang puwesto na mas malaking kita na mapuntahan nila (maybe they could find a better paying job they could do),” Marcos said.

“The ideal is to bring them all home if they want to go home. But of course we are far from that,” Marcos said.

Marcos also said it would be wise to revive or copy the Bagong Lipunan Improvement of Sites and Services (BLISS) housing project, Kadiwa stores and the Bataan nuclear power plant project under his father’s administration.

VERA Files had fact-checked Kadiwa’s alleged success, pointing to studies that “the reception of Kadiwa by Manila’s poor was not as enthusiastic as it is now remembered” because “people were discouraged by queues, distance from shops and some irritable service staff.”

Marcos said the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) was simply being politicized.

In June 2021, the Supreme Court voted unanimously to award the Philippine government over 1 billion pesos in damages for the fraudulent award of the BNPP deal to Westinghouse Electrical Corporation, brokered by the late Herminio Disini, a friend of Marcos.

Marcos was scheduled for a fifth interview on Friday, Jan. 28, but his media team canceled because they reportedly couldn’t reach the candidate who is in Davao. Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon had said the day before that she had voted to disqualify Marcos based, among other things, on a false receipt for payment of tax fines. –

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