Education, health care, infra build-up are Gibo's hallmarks to presidency

March 16, 2010 10:34 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

BACOLOD CITY, March 16 — Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. intends to resolve the growing problems in the Philippines’ education and health-care sectors in a bid to boost the country’s human capital development.

Speaking before some 2,000 students, faculty and supporters of presidential candidates campaigning in the coming May 10 elections, lawyer Mike Toledo, Gibo’s spokesman and head of the G1BO 2010 Media Bureau, said a key pillar in the former Defense Secretary’s platform of government is to generate much needed jobs at home "so that Filipino students, particularly in the health sector, need not go abroad to gain employment."

Fielding a question from one of the hundreds of nursing students who were in the audience, Toledo said "unless we move quickly to upgrade our educational system to match global benchmarks, our human capital will quickly deteriorate. When it does, we can never be able to match the progress of our neighbors in the region, and our graduating students, particularly those in the health sector, are doomed to looking for employment abroad."

Toledo spearheaded a powerhouse cast of spokespeople who travelled from Manila to Bacolod City to represent five presidential candidates in the University of St. La Salle forum.

Among the representatives were former Batanes Rep. Florencio Abad for Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III; former Olongapo Mayor Kate Gordon for Senator Richard Gordon; and lawyer Lyndon Cana for spiritual leader-turned politician Eddie Villanueva.

To answer the nursing student’s query, Toledo also touched on Gibo’s program to redesign the country’s health care program, by "passing grassroots health care to the responsibility of local governments, rationalizing our regional hospital system and attracting private investments into health care."

"Gibo feels that by deploying a larger portion of the budget to the local governments, and to the Health Department, and attracting private sector investment in the health care system, there is dramatic incentive to improve medical services, and more room for personnel to be absorbed into the health services industry, and be trained accordingly," he said.

Toledo also tackled head on the subject of basic education, which was a major concern of the La Salle audience.

"Gibo has been saying in many forums that basic education reform is necessary because if you do not strike at the root of the problem of our human capital, then tertiary education cannot be remedied," he said.

"The roadmap being drawn by Gibo’s 'Sulong Pilipinas' involves the continuous improvement in our schools, upgrading of teacher quality and aligning our curriculum design with those of the rest of the world," he added.

Toledo said that the Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet is likewise leaning towards vigorously pursuing technical and vocational education, in order to improve industrial productivity while at the same time seeking to remove the bias against manual technical work.

The former Defense Secretary also reiterates the need to establish a student loan mechanism to help poor but deserving individuals finish their college education.

Toledo said that Gibo is averse to speaking "in sweeping platitudes," and is more concerned about fleshing out a strategic plan with concrete policy initiatives that the Filipino people can appreciate and support.

"This detailed program will be the main pillar of legitimacy for the reformist government the former Defense Secretary envisions to lead. It will be the key result areas on which the success of a Teodoro administration will be measured," he said.

He said that Gibo "knows the gaps of physical infrastructure in the country, and is planning to lead all stakeholders to once and for all decide on a long term blue print for infrastructure development.

This includes, among others, removing the policy of open restrictions in the power sector to assure investors that they can sell the electricity that they will produce in their generating plants; continue the nautical highway system initiated by the current administration as a solid response to the uneven development of the island economies; and encourage public-private partnerships in infrastructure, especially in critical growth areas to help lagging regions and provinces.

Toledo expressed appreciation for the warm response of the La Salle audience, not just for Gibo, but for the other presidential candidates as well.

"This is the kind of audience that Gibo has been drawing over the past weeks," he said. (PNA)

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