The “Good One” JV Ejercito on choosing the “Right One” to lead the country

“Dapat tingnan natin yung performance unang una, and then yung integrity, dapat malinis na track record yung dapat ang maging basehan and not the party affiliation. A good leader should also possess great character and attitude and of course sincerity is also very important–these are the qualities relectionist senator JV Ejercito said he is looking for in our next President.

Together with several media friends we met  Sen JV for lunch, Monday as he took a break from the campaign trail to catch up and share with us the challenges of running as an independent.

Sen JV adds he already knows who he’ll vote for as the next President based on those qualifications but said he’d rather keep it to himself.

He says even though he’s been adopted by four of the presidential candidates, and being the first to be endorsed by President Duterte, JV said this has been the most difficult campaign of his almost two decade political career. His hard work it seems is slowly paying off as he already made it to the top 12 in almost all of the surveys, placing as high as number 7.

He said the warm reception of the people and the mayors of the cities he’s visited inspires him to push through using his meager resources.  His campaign jingle “The Good One” has that LSS vibe and has been memorized by the kids who approach him during his sorties.

“I think an easy candidate to sell,  even if I have no political, I am proud of my track record as a public servant and the laws I have passed when I was in the senate.”

Sen JV gamely answered our questions even a few of the controversial ones like his stand on divorce and same sex marriage.

“I am in favor of divorce for only one reason–for those that have been psychologically and physically abused by their partners. If the  relationship has become very turbulent a’ nd irreconcilable dun I think applicable yung divorce. Kung talagang sinasaktan na physically or emotionally kailangan naman mabigyan ng chance na mabuhay ng maayos because nobody deserves to live a miserable life.

“As for same sex marriage, we are a predominantly catholic country and I don’t think we are ready for that right. But with regards to policies on civil union and property relations I think we should do something. I want to respect the choices of individuals, siguro we can start from there one step at a time, lets start with property relations na kung mawala ang isa dapat naman mapunta sa partner because sila naman ang naghirap dun.

MR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE

This time he is running to make sure that the Universal Healthcare Law, which he authored is implemented just as how he envisioned it to help the Filipino people.

Senator JV Ejercito sponsored and authored Senate Bill 1896, or the Universal Health Care (UHC), which automatically enrolls all Filipino citizens in the National Health Insurance Program and prescribes complementary reforms in the health system. Simply put, it gives all Filipinos access to health-care coverage and services while protecting them from enduring financial hardship as a result.

“Since I was the principal author I know the history, the purpose, and  inteniton of the law because I was the one who conducted all those hearings Malaking tulong yung wisdom as prinicipal sponsor to see it through during the law’s infancy,” he stressed.

According to the law every Filipino citizen will be entitled to healthy living, working and schooling conditions, and access to a comprehensive set of health services without any financial hardships.  It sees to provide financial assistance for medical emergencies, hospital admission and all other medical routines that focus on treatment and rehabilitation.

 Senator JV wants to return to the Senate to make sure that the UHC Law will be properly implemented and enjoyed by all Filipinos, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the pandemic has exacerbated the weaknesses of the country’s healthcare system and hampered the implementation of the UHC Law. He feels that it his mission and obligation to finish and oversee its implementation.

He also said that the country’s healthcare system suffers from three major problems amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: inadequate healthcare facilities, delayed benefits and privileges for healthcare workers, and mismanagement of the PhilHealth program. All of these can be addressed by the full implementation of the UHC Law, he added.

CONSTRUCTION OF ADVANCED HEALTHCARE FACILITIES IN THE VISAYAS

Another important agenda for the Sen JV should he return to the Senate,  is to ensure the full implementation of the Healthcare Facilities Enhancement Program.

“In line with the Universal Healthcare Act, yung Health Facilities Enhancement Program, one of the aim is to put up specialty centers in strategic areas all over the country, We will establish a lung center, a kidney center, and a heart center and a cancer center sa V. Sotto Medical Center,” he added.

Aside from the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu, specialty health facilities will also be constructed in major hospitals in the Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Bicol, and Davao regions, Ejercito said.

Once these facilities are constructed, the former Senator said patients from different provinces would no longer need to travel to the National Capital Region to secure advanced healthcare services.

“Pag meron tayong complicated cases, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, they bring it ali there, to the specialty centers (in Metro Manila),” Ejercito said.

“Imagine if you go to Manila, may accommodation, may airfare, may companion pa, times two 0 times three. It’s very expensive and very inconvenient,” he added.

BUILD BUILD HEAL

Lastly for Mindanao Sen JV wants to improve Mindanao’s infrastructure to bring the best out of the island’s vast natural resources.

Ejercito said Mindanao is in the best position to be one of Asia’s most valuable sources of agricultural products.

“Noong nadaanan ko ang Liguasan March kahapon at yung iba pang areas sa Mindanao, napakayaman talaga ng Mindanao. Talagang gifted ng natural resources. Abundant and very rich ang soil ng Mindanao,” he said.

“We just have to put the necessary infrastructure para ma-tap natin at ma-maximize natin ang potential ng Mindanao to be the fruit basket not only of the Philippines but of Asia,” he added.

Ejercito, who has been advocating for infrastructure development since his first term in the Senate, said constructing an efficient railway system in Mindanao will not only improve the delivery of agricultural goods but also reduce poverty and deter armed conflict on the island.

“Malaking bagay kaya kung maisama pa natin ang railway system dito, nako, talagang sisigla, uusbong ang ekonomiya ng Mindanao. Mawawala na rin, sa tingin ko, ang kaguluhan dito in the next decades,” he said.

The former Senator recently called for the construction of the Mindanao Railway System to promote economic development in conflict-ridden areas and “pave the way for genuine and lasting peace.”

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