Press Release
December 15, 2021

Transcript of Senator Nancy Binay's interview on ANC's Headstart
(hosted by Karen Davila)

Ms. Karen Davila (Q): I want your reaction first on the President withdrawing his candidacy for the Senate?

Senator Nancy Binay-Angeles (SNBA): Well, it was his personal decision. And I guess katulad ng sinabi ng ibang kandidato, let us respect that decision. And I think maganda naman ang dahilan that was issued yesterday, na para mas maka-focus pa siya doon sa problema na hinaharap natin. Alam naman natin, Karen, the Covid problem is still there. At least si Presidente can really focus dahil hindi madi-divide ang attention niya between running the country and running for the Senate.

Q: Were you surprised, Sen. Nancy, that he withdrew?

SNBA: Para sa kanila hindi na ako nagugulat. Parang always expect the unexpected. And there's been talk na baka hindi tumuloy, eh. So kumbaga isa iyon sa scenario that was very possible, so hindi na rin ako nagulat.

Q: A little bit of politics before we move forward—your father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, is rating quite well. So there is a big chance that he will become a senator, and you will be working together. Now, there are critics who'd observed there are more families in the Senate this coming 2022, possibly 2 Binays, 2 Cayetanos, 2 Villars, and, who knows, maybe 2 Estradas. But the likelihood of the six of you being together in 2022 is, I mean, it's highly probable. Do you see a problem with this whole situation that family members are sitting together in the same Senate?

SNBA: Well, Karen, I can only speak for my family. Alam mo, we were raised by my parents to be independent thinkers, so even if there are 2 Binays in the Senate, if kumbaga that is not our advocacy or that is not our belief, it doesn't mean that we'll always be voting together. Iba eh, hindi automatic iyon na porke't dalawa ang BInay, 2 boto na ang mangyayari.

Q: Obviously, our Constitutional framers didn't see this happening. But do you feel —some experts have already said it— the time may have come that certain limitations or parameters be put so families aren't sitting together at the same time? What do you think of that, Senator?

SNBA: Actually, ever since I became a senator, there's always this bill defining what a political dynasty, kasi 'di ba, in the Constitution, the definition was given to Congress, so every ano 'yan, laging nadi-discuss. I don't know why hindi siya umuusog eh. I can only speak for the Senate, but I don't know kung sa House umaabot doon sa kahit sa committee level lang how to define a political dynasty. We were able to introduce it when we amended the SK, aside from that hindi talaga siya umuusad. Q: Would you consider more and more families in the Senate a definition of a political dynasty because it's a bit different from the local set-up.

SNBA: Kasi ako, Karen, ang mindset ko is, at the end of the day, it's the people's decision, right? Let us not also assume na porke't we have the last name, automatic mananalo iyon. It's not. We subject ourselves to the will of the people. Hindi naman iyan parang royalty na you hand it from one generation to the next. There's this third party who will decide whether they want the same last name, whether as a mayor, as a senator.

Q: And that is a good point because in the last elections, you had JV and Jinggoy run, and they both lost.

SNBA: Yes. Kaya nga. So it's not automatic. I guess doon magiging mahalaga iyong voter's education na talagang titingnan nila, it is not just the last name. Ano ang serbisyo na mabibigay ng apelyido na iyon. Talaga bang nagse-serbisyo ang apelyido na iyon?

Q: And just quickly, you are ready to work with your father on equal terms? Because the difference is, one, he's your father, 2, he was vice president, but in the Senate you are co-equal?

SNBA: I've worked with my father but hindi on equal footing, 'di ba. Pero I think during the past 8 years that I've been senator, we've had policy differences and there's always that respect na talagang we can't be the same. And iyon na nga, katulad ng sinabi ko, sila mismo ang nagturo sa amin to fight or hindi kami k umbaga parrot lang ng magulang namin na we will just copy. We were raised to be critical thinkers.

Q: And the last question on this, is your sister Anne, who filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor of Makati. Has she finally withdrawn, or when will she do it?

SNBA: I think I've said, 'di ba, for 2022 there won't be a Binay versus Binay in Makati. I think today yata she'll probably withdraw or tomorrow.

Q: Ok. Now moving forward na tayo. Bangko Sentral governor Ben Diokno admits that it did not go, or did not pass the National Historical Commission, the change in the design of the 1,000-peso bill. But he says they only consult the NHCP for historical facts, not necessarily for approved designs.

SNBA: That is why, Karen, I'm thinking of filing a bill na kailangan siguro ng concurrence of Congress. Kasi, you know, in Congress, the mere renaming of a national highway or even schools, dumadaan sa Kongreso. And napansin ko the past years, ang dali natin magpalit ng design ng pera. So baka for something as important as our money, baka ito kailangan ng concurrence from Congress.

Q: Are you seeing a different intention here? Because Ben Diokno said it's actually the trend all over the world to have flora and fauna, and he says it's not an attempt to revise history.

SNBA: I'm not familiar with other currencies. But I don't think ine-erase nila ang mga mukha. 'Di ba there's two sides naman sa pera, eh. So why is there a need to remove our heroes? Why not put the heroes in one side, and flora and fauna on the other side? I don't see the reason why kailangan burahin.

Q: And the question is, why the 1,000-peso bill? It's relatively new.

SNBA: Yes, and iyon na nga eh. I agree, kailangan din for us to teach our people about endangered species. But for me kasi, endangered din ang heroes natin eh. Baka nga mas endangered pa sila doon sa eagle, 'di ba?

Q: Some fear that this will actually or eventually lead to removing Cory Aquino, Ninoy Aquino on the 500-peso bill. Are you seeing that this might be a possibility?

SNBA: I cannot assume that. But for me, huwag naman, hindi dapat ganoon kadali magbago ng design sa pera. For example, ang US dollar parang ever since that's been the design, right? So sa atin, unang-una, we need to pay for the design, right? So additional expense. And right now, for me Karen, every peso, every cent counts. Bakit kailangan tayo magbayad para baguhin ang design kung wala namang mali sa existing designs natin?

Q: Diokno said that actually that this is just, so to speak, it will go through a period only, until 2025. He used a specific word for it—it's pilot testing and you can still use the 1,000 pesos, it's still legal tender. But at the end of the day, at this point, is the BSP the only entity needed to approve the design?

SNBA: I think so, based on the statement of Chairman Escalante of NHCP, parang it's only up to BSP, and I think Office of the President.

Q: And clearly, you believe this should change?

SNBA: Yes. Baka they also need the approval of Congress, kasi nga going back, ang mga schools, national roads, that needs approval from Congress.

Q: Will there be an investigation on this? Because it's not only the design, it's also the shift to polymer instead of using cotton and abaca, it's now a plastic synthetic material.

SNBA: Maybe we can file a resolution investigating, kasi well that's another concern, Karen, kasi nga we try to introduce indigenous materials to our money. So, kung gagamit na tayo ng polymer, paano na ang mga nagsu-supply ng abaca? Would that have an effect with the livelihood of our people? Lalong-lalo na ngayon na ang laki ng unemployment rate. Or by using the polymer it creates another source of income for our people? So baka it's something that we also need to consider with the shift to another material for our money. Q: Is polymer from China? Who knows, right?

SNBA: We don't know that. Or are we the first country to use polymer? Ganyan ba ang trend, na everyone's shifting to polymer?

Q: So ano ang panawagan mo kay BSP governor Ben Diokno at this point?

SNBA: Siguro baka pwede pilot na lang or special release. Ang BSP naman for example, for one year ito ang design natin flora and fauna then after 2022 we can go back to the original. Where the faces of Abad Santos, Escoda and Vicente Lim are still there in the 1,000 pesos. I think yung P500 din papalitan? I am not sure if that is approved but I've seen online na parang tarsier na ata ang ipapalit. Baka we can just do a special edition for one or two years and then we go back to the original design.

Q: That is the pinaka-recent no with EDSA and the assassination of Ninoy, do you think they should be removed?

SNBA: There is no need to change all the designs. Pwede siguro the other side but the side with the faces of our heroes, wag na nating palitan, wag na nating galawin. Yung kabilang side na lang. I think yung kabila, may Mayon volcano, may ganoong designs ang pera natin. But when it comes to faces of our heroes, as is na lang sya. I guess yun ang appeal ko kay Ben Diokno na 'as is' na lang.

Q: We are moving in an election season, do you think this is an attempt to revise history?

SNBA: I don't want to assume kasi ang reasoning nila is to highlight our endangered species. So let us accept that reasoning. Ang concern ko lang is from P1000, P500, tapos baka lahat na yan, yung P100, P50. Yung P20 bago na nga coins na sya. And let us go back to the cost. We are paying for the design that we do not need right now.

Q: Going to the bicam, what is the final NTF-ELCAC budget coming from the senate?

SNBA: We just pegged it at P10 billion and we will be discussing kung dadagdagan ba sya kasi there is an appeal to increase the budget of NTF-ELCAC but with the senate version there is only P10 billion. It started at P4 billion and eventually dinagdagan siya ni Senator Angara and raised it to P10 billion.

Q: What is the RITM budget after you raised your concern?

SNBA: What was slashed was given back to RITM. And I think even the others, yung budget for special risk allowance, we also gave a budget for contract tracing kasi if you remember Karen zero ang budget for contact tracing and when the budget was made by the executive, wala pang delta noon kaya di nila nakita ang need for contact tracing. Ngayong patapos na yung budget, we have naman another variant, yung omicron. So, there is a need to spend money for COVID-19

Q: Will this budget focus more on the recovery or are you still seeing missed priorities?

SNBA: I cannot confirm nor deny kasi we will be discussing that later. Pero in the senate version, we try to be as equitable as possible to all the agencies. Kasi alam naman natin na ang needs ng PNP at military, there is always a need but it is just a matter of balancing things. Pero at the moment, there is a need to prioritize our COVID 119 response pero it does not mean na papabayaan natin ang ibang agencies in government.

Q: When it comes to PGH, there was a P1.3 billion budget cut. What is the final figure?

SNBA: I do not have the final figure but for me lahat yan tinaasan ng senate version. Kasi sa bicam para kaming nagtatawaran. But I am sure kung ano ang tinaasan ng senate lalo na sa PGH genome center, di na yan babawasan ng house of representatives. Baka nga taasan pa.

Q: You also called to attention that there are no cancer funds...

SNBA: There was a cancer fund but they lumped it together with other funds. Kaya lang there is a law that states na it should have its own separate item, so, kinarve out lang namin what was given sa lump sum and we created another line item. So, nagawa na yan sa senate version.

Q: Do you remember how much that is senator?

SNBA: I do not remember the exact amount at the moment but we will know that after the bicam.

Q: For DepEd, I am curious what are the changes in terms of reprioritization?

SNBA: One, we added another item for parang retrofitting kasi alam naman natin na as our kids go back to school, dapat COVID compliant din ang mga classrooms natin. Wala kasi yun sa budget ng DepEd. Now mayroon na yung item to make the classrooms COVID resilient and COVID free.

Q: In the last budget, Sen Lacson expressed his concerns that there were ghost projects or projects that were put in certain provinces and areas, are you seeing that in this budget?

SNBA: Part of the Build Build Build o yung infra natin we really need that kasi it provides employment alam naman natin na antaas ng unemployment rate natin. Kaya kami mas issue nga namin during this budget season is how come hindi ginaggastos yung pera. We gave you that money to spend. Ang daming items for release. For example, yung scholarship for would be doctors natin, sa halip na nagagamit na yun for enrollment, di sya agad nagamit. For example a road, a farm to market road, imbes na nagagamit ng mga farmers natin now, baka next year pa maimplement yung kalye na yun. Yun ang mas issue namin. They are asking for so much money from us pero hindi nila ginagastos. Sa amin, gastusin niyo yan kasi that is one way for us to revive our economy. Q: How do we improve for next year?

SNBA: We shifted to cash-based budgeting right? Doon nakikita yung kahinaan ng cash-based budgeting. For example, yung late release. Can you imagine na if irerelease ang budget ng October, the chances are di na nila magagastos ang pera na iyan for the year. Unlike before, there are two years for them to implement that project. I think for next year's budget there is a provision that will allow that. During this budget din nadiscover ng senate na kaya nagkaroon ng mutation ang PITC at PSDBM kasi para di masayang ang pera, to make it appear na nagastos ng agency, ililipat lang nila sa PITC and then sa PITC, 3 years 5 years hindi naiimplement ang program kasi this is yung way nila to go around the cash-based budgeting. And hindi namin alam, buti na lang na nasilip ngayon na ang laki na pala nung perang napupunta sa PITC na hindi nila ginagastos kaagad.

Q: One question on that, for the 2022 budget, is it still cash-based budgeting?

SNBA: There's a... I don't know the exact wording but there's a provision there that may, parang meron silang one year to implement the program.

Q: Number two, are there certain provisions or do you call it addendum wherein funding for a certain agency cannot move it to PITC and PS-DBM?

SNBA: I think dun sa Senate version we included that but tingnan natin, kasi di ba, alam naman natin Karen sa bicam hindi, whatever's approved by the Senate can still change with the bicam.

Q: Another question is last night the Department of Migrant Workers was passed in the Senate on third and final reading. Is it safe to say may pera na for the Department of Migrant Workers in the 2022 budget.

SNBA: Actually Karen, kaya din yan na-approve, ika-carve lang out of DOLE, from all the other agencies and then lahat sila ilalagay dun sa DOFIL. And then there's a provision naman na may transition pa yan e. So, technically it's really not an additional money, yung kukunin lang from the other agencies like DOLE, yung Overseas...

Q: I see, but then what are the features, Sen. Nancy, of the Department of Migrant Workers based on what was passed in the Senate so it won't double up the OWWA, for example, the POEA? Anong itsura nito Sen?

SNBA: Actually, yung OWWA, yung POEA would still be an attached agency of DOFIL. So, kumbaga, lahat nung, kasi di ba yung existing setup ngayon they're part of DOLE, and alam naman natin yung DOLE meron ding local employment that it needs to take care of. So at least ngayon, lahat ng ahensya that is concerned with OFWs, they're, kumbaga, in one family. So, hopefully the coordination would be better and efficient.

Q: Oo, so technically, OFW concerns, once this is passed by next year as we transition will not be handled by DOLE anymore.

SNBA: Yes, there's, magkakaroon na tayo ng secretary that's realty focused on OFWs.

Q: Oo, is there anything else that the Senate is prioritizing that you want to be passed before this administration ends?

SNBA: As of last night, we passed the amendment dun sa Public Services. So, I don't know if meron pa kaming major legislation that needs to be approved.

Q: When it comes to the budget, we talked about the NTF-ELCAC budget already, but you personally, (unintelligible) would you want to see intact when you hit the bicam? Each legislator has each his own pet or advocacies, right? What would you want to ensure that it stays when you hit the bicam?

SNBA: Yung whatever COVID response was allocated by the Senate would still remain, di ba? And if that means not increasing the budget of NTF-ELCAC kailangan, di ba mas priority pa rin itong COVID response over...

Q: ...Because ang hirap, if there's a lobby to increase the NTF-ELCAC, because it was at P28 billion, then, I mean (unintelligible) 26 percent of their projects actually felt through which was exposed in the Senate, so ang mahirap if they wanted more than P10 (billion) saan kukunin yun?

SNBA: Yes, yun yung problema, and sana hindi ma-sacrifice yung nilagay namin for COVID response. And I'm hoping, I think yung mga kasamahan namin sa House of Representatives nakikita din naman nila yung need and necessity for our COVID response.

Q: Another issue I'm curious, Congresswoman Stella Quimbo filed a resolution in the lower House, it's still a resolution, but asking for additional allowances for teachers as they pilot for face-to-face, and with over, I think, a million teachers, public and private, with an P80,000 medical assistance, it would hit something like P18 billion. I'm curious, are you seeing a possibility in the Senate for special risk allowance for teachers?

SNBA: You mean to say parang idadagdag dun sa budget for 2022?

Q: Either idagdag or... you're right, it should come from the budget...

SNBA: I don't know, maybe during the... baka under this bicam pwede kasi siyang ilagay dun sa item, nandun lang siya, para if there's money we can put money.

Q: Unprogrammed...

SNBA: In fact yung sa vaccine nga, unprogrammed, yeah. In fact, yun nga yung nagiging issue kasi yung booster shots nilagay siya doon sa unprogrammed fund. Ibig sabihin nun, if there's no excess money, di tayo makakabili ng booster shots, di ba? So, baka pwede siyang ilagay doon sa unprogrammed fund, yung allowance for our teachers.

Q: I'm curious, as you hit the bicam, is the P45 billion for booster shots still unprogrammed?

SNBA: Yung sa Senate version I think we already added funds sa DOH. Kasi nga, di ba, when the budget was made, walang Delta. Hindi nila, akala nila two shots ok na. And then, tapos nagdagdag pa tayo ng age group. Di ba dati naman we were doing the computation for our vaccination program hindi kasama doon yung 17 below, and now nag-apply na si Pfizer for 5-11. We need to, kumbaga, already add that sa need natin for the vaccines. I'm happy, kasi di ba ang dami ngayong nagdodonate sa atin ng vaccines, so the need to allocate funds, hindi na rin siya ganun kalaki. Ang daming nagbibigay sa atin.

Q: Okay, so my last few questions, are you seeing the 2022 budget as a responsive, rebound budget? How do you describe this particular budget?

SNBA: I think yung budget na ito would still focus on, kumbaga, getting back on our feet. Which means we need timely COVID response. We need to put the budget on our timely COVID response, and what is that? Testing, tracing, and treating. And then, another component, is yung how to, kumbaga, boost our economy, how to jumpstart our economy. Kaya nga we also allocated funds for assistance to our MSMEs.

Q: Magkano, do you remember, magkano yung assistance to MSMEs? I know the budget is very detailed, very difficult to go through each one, but do you have just a figure? ...Bayanihan 2, there was assistance to MSMEs.

SNBA: Yeah, ano yan e under SBCorp. Wait, let me see magkano talaga siya. I don't have a copy e.

Q: Oo, but the budget for MSMEs will be under DTI...

SNBA: Yes, under the SB Corporation.

Q: Oo, ito na lang huling tanong, meron bang budget for ayuda sa 2022 budget na nakasaksak in different agencies?

SNBA: Di ba there's always a budget for ayuda under the DSWD. So meron pa din and Karen, you know, ang importante there's an item, kasi if there's an item, if there's an amount, we can always augment it.

Q: Yes, yes. So there is an item.

SNBA: Well, function ng DSWD yan to provide assistance.

Q: Because I was wondering...

SNBA: ...we can get from their fund.

Q: Oo, parang ang tanong ko kasi, parang malabo nang magka-Bayanihan 3 for next year.

SNBA: Yes, kasi di ba, we're also trying to avoid na magamit siya sa pulitika. E alam naman natin yung mga ganitong programa e kumbaga, highly susceptible to electioneering.

Q: On that note, Sen. Nancy Binay, is there anything you want to add before we go, I know you do have a bicam soon, I wanna respect your time.

SNBA: Thank you Karen and I guess I just want to greet everybody Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let us all stay safe kasi nga we don't want another surge by January kaya ingat pa din po tayo, lalong-lalo na with this new variant.

Q: Ok, just a personal question, I'm curious. I know when we last spoke, you said you haven't gone out of the house, you were of course taking care of yourself, you have small kids, you also have senior parents, have you actually seen your father in person?

SNBA: Yes, actually Karen I've gone out and the good news, my whole family's been vaccinated, even my kids. So, little by little I'm starting to go out, kaso lang may fear, kasi yung first time that I really went out ate in a restaurant, dun yung napilitan kami ulit mag-quarantine kasi we got exposed kay Sec. Lorenzana. So parang napaisip ako it's not meant for me to go out yet, but you know, I can't, we can't, we need to live with the virus di ba? Pinag-uusapan nga, hindi na pandemic, endemic na. So, we just need to learn to live with it.

Q: Ok, on that note, Sen. Nancy Binay thank you for joining me today and I wanna greet you an advanced Merry Christmas as well.

SNBA: Thank you Karen, ingat.

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