Senatorial aspirant and former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol (File photo)

MANILA – Senatorial aspirant and former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Wednesday said the country's corruption and illegal drug problem will be addressed by Partido Reporma standard-bearer Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III.

In a statement, Piñol gave this assessment when asked about his decision to stand behind and campaign for the Lacson-Sotto tandem despite his political affiliations with President Rodrigo Duterte whom he helped win the presidency in the 2016 polls.

“For as long as corruption is there, there is a reason for people to elect Ping Lacson. For as long as drugs are there, there will always be a reason to continue the campaign against drugs,” said Piñol, who is a party mate of Sotto under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Piñol, who was also a former Mindanao Development Authority chair, is convinced that only the Lacson-Sotto pair has developed long-term plans for the country that will outlast the temporary problems facing the nation today such as the coronavirus pandemic.

“What are the constant issues then? Criminality, corruption, drugs. Maski mawala ‘yung Covid, nandiyan pa ‘yung problemang ‘yan (Even if you get rid of Covid-19, those problems would remain). And these are the issues, which are being carried by Ping Lacson. So, I believe that consistency is the name of the game,” he said.

Piñol vowed his all-out support for the Lacson-Sotto tandem, saying he has declined the invitation of other political camps to join their teams in exchange for gaining votes for his maiden senatorial bid.

He said he had to beg off when an associate working for another party asked for his help to launch their campaign headquarters in Bukidnon because it would be against his principles as he already declared his support for Lacson and Sotto.

Pangit tingnan kasi ang presidential candidate ko si Ping Lacson, ang vice-presidential candidate ko si Tito Sotto. Of course, I would have gained a lot of voters by going there. Nagtampo sa akin, sabi niya, 'hindi ka namin suportahan'. Sabi ko, 'wala akong magagawa e. May prinsipyo tayo e' (Supporting another party) would not be a good idea because my presidential candidate is Ping Lacson and my vice-presidential candidate is Tito Sotto. Of course, I would have gained a lot of voters by going there. They felt bad and told me they would not be supporting me either. I said 'I can’t do anything about it, I have my principles'),” Piñol said.

Gender equality in workplaces

Meanwhile, Partido Reporma senatorial candidate Guillermo Eleazar said female workers should be treated equally with their male counterparts in workplaces to ensure that Filipinos would enjoy the right to excel in their chosen career paths regardless of gender.

Eleazar, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said women have already proven their worth in areas where their male counterparts usually excel, citing cases wherein female cadets would finish on top of their classes in both the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the PNP Academy (PNPA).

He also cited the 2020 Grant Thornton’s annual Women in Business report that was released in February last year which stated that the Philippines retained its rank and even improved its percentage when it comes to having more women in senior business leadership positions.

Even during the time of the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards, Eleazar said there were Filipino women who stood their ground to fight for freedom of the country like Gabriela Silang.

“These are but proof that if given the chance, women really make a difference, a big difference. But I also recognize that there is still a lot to be done in terms of leveling the playing field for women, especially those who came from poor families,” he said.

He said ensuring gender equality in workplaces should include individuals that are part of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community and this would mean that women, as well as those who identify themselves as females, should be free from discrimination and abuse. (PNA)