Press Release
April 21, 2021

Transcript of Senator Nancy Binay's interview on CNN Philippines' NEWS NIGHT (hosted by Rico Hizon)

Mr. Rico Hizon (Q): Well, the community pantries are back, hopefully for good, with no more red-tagging, securing permits, and filling out these information sheets.

Sen. Nancy Binay-Angeles (SNBA): Good evening, Rico. As what I've said, the enemy right now is hunger. And we must commend these community pantries for doing their part in helping our kababayans with this present problem. For me, we should all concentrate on how we will survive this pandemic. The priority should not be about red-tagging or the communist problem, eh. We should prioritize our response with this pandemic.

Q: Senator, do you think the root cause of this red-tagging is the insecurity of the government? Because the sprouting of these pantries reflects lapses in government's pandemic response.

SNBA: Kasi for me, Rico, at the end of the day, I think government, especially the national government, should realize that they do have lapses, (and) that they cannot really address all the present problems that we are now facing. And kumbaga, all help, all hands on deck should be welcomed.

Q: But they're not acknowledging these lapses, Senator Binay. Is this really the best that the national government can do, red-tagging of community pantries, delayed cash aids, delays of vaccine arrivals, poor contact tracing. We are basically, Senator, the laggers just around here in our neighborhood, Southeast Asia.

SNBA: That's it, Rico. I think the mere fact that we are not acknowledging the problem is the reason why we are here right now, with the biggest number of Covid cases in Southeast Asia, because we are not acknowledging that we do have a big problem right now. There was a tendency to always put down or not emphasize on the problem, which I think for me was the main reason why the surge happened. They were always trying to play it down, and not really asking or telling the people that "we are here right now, and we all need to do our part in solving this problem."

Q: That's right, basically acknowledging that they have some shortcomings—the national government should I think bring the people even closer together and work together. But there seems to be this blame game. Do not politicize the issue. Do not blame this person. They're not getting to the root of the issue, which is that they have their own mistakes.

SNBA: And Rico they should also realize that this is not a competition. This is not about who can help more or who can help better. It's about all of us helping each other at this point.

Q: The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is calling for an investigation in this profiling and red-tagging of community pantries. Are you and your fellow senators also planning to look into it and even question Gen. Antonio Parlade why the profiling and red-tagging, which he has admitted to.

SNBA: Well, that is an option that we can do in the Senate. But you know, right now for me, Rico, budget season is coming, we will be—I will really make sure that we'll be addressing the budget for NTF-ELCAC. Maybe it's high time that we really review their budget.

Q: Thank you so much for your insights and for joining us on NewsNight, Senator Nancy Binay.

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