Press Release
January 14, 2010

Villar: No OJT for next president

Sen. Manny Villar yesterday said the country's next president should act as chief executive from day one and that there is no room for an on-the-job training while performing the duties of the highest office of the land.

"The country is already facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions. The budget deficit is increasing and the number of Filipinos going hungry is now in a historic high. The next president should be president from day one," Villar, Nacionalista Party president and standard-bearer, said at a presidential forum in Makati.

"The successor to the presidency would be inheriting a rather big fiscal headache. He should know what to do the very minute he sits in office," he said.

Villar added, "Our country is in a mess right now. The next president can't start his tenure by getting tutorials on how to run the government. We can't have a presidency on training wheels," he said.

He said that just for the first 10 months of last year, the budget deficit had already breached P266.1 billion from P238 billion the month before, surpassing the target for the whole year, which is at P250 billion.

Villar also said that for the same period, revenues plummeted by 4.8 percent to P925.4 billion from P972.6 billion recorded in 2008. Spending, he said, skyrocketed to P1.192 trillion from the P1.035 trillion expenditures for the same period in 2008.

"And things are not about to get rosy this year. The next president would be managing the affairs of the country under enormous pressure. This is really not the time for learning, this is a time for action," he said.

"Napakatagal nang naghihintay ang ating bayan na magkaroon ng pagbabago. Napakatagal nang umaasa ang mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan na sana'y makaahon na sila," Villar said.

"At tuwing eleksyon, sila'y umaasa na magkakaroon tayo ng magandang pamamahala. Subalit noong mga nakaraang apat o limang dekada, sila'y nabibigo," Villar added.

Villar, however, is hopeful that Filipinos will now wisely choose their next leader.

"Sa akin napakahalagang hindi na tayo magkamali ngayon. Mayroon din naman tayong mga pagkakataon siguro sa darating na mga panahong magkakatanungan. Pero 'yung ating pong mga nakikinig sa labas na wala rito, 'yun po yung ating dapat isipin. Tayo po ay kakain dito maski na magkamali tayo, subalit sila po ay umaasa na sana hindi tayo magkamali ngayon," he told the audience at the forum.

This week, the Social Weather Stations released a survey indicating that the number of hungry Filipino families soared to 4.4 million, a hunger measure at 24 percent, last month.

The results were five points higher than the one recorded at the end of September 2009 and topped the previous record of 23.7 percent in December 2008.

"Hitting the ground running would be an understatement in the case of the next president. It would be more of taking ten steps ahead on his first day in office," said the former Senate President and House Speaker.

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