“ It’s about time na maniwala tayo sa kakayahan ng Pilipino.”

These were the words of Rep. Prospero Pichay, a senatorial candidate of the administration’s Team Unity party, as he elaborates his campaign slogan at the podcast interview conducted by inquirer.net last March 14, 2007.

“Pro-Pinoy is a big movement you know… it’s about time we start patronizing our own products so that in the process, we will be able to help the big countries in our country”, he adds. He believes that we should learn to prioritize our own products, those with “tatak Pinoy”, in order to truly achieve a well state of economy.

In line with this, he also said that he has no objections against globalization, “So, even if we open up our doors to products from other countries, Filipinos [should] believe in their own products…” He stated in the interview that being a Pro-Pinoy advocate, he supports the country’s efforts to encourage more investors in order produce more jobs for the Filipino and the development of our own products for it to be competent for export.
“Pro-Pinoy is in itself a program that any government should really adopt”. He believes that a change in the Filipino’s westernized, “imported”-crazed mindset should be a great step in the country’s progress.
And on “change”, Cha-Cha is a big player for him. When asked about his stand on Cha-Cha (Charter Change), he had this to say, “ I still believe in Charter Change… [but] it has to be ratified in a plebiscite… to undergo a thorough consultation with the people.” He said that a Con-Con approach should be more appropriate but still, with consultation with the people.

He also said that if elected, he plans to serve the full 6-year term in the senate, that is, if there will be no Cha-Cha. He said that he is willing to sacrifice the position if the charter change pushes through.

It can be remembered that Pichay, while still at the House of Representatives, is one of the signatories in favor with the Charter Change, the amendment of the Philippine Constitution, a push for a Con-Ass (Constituent Assembly), and abolition of the Senate. And three months after the push for Cha-Cha failed, he now seeks position on the institution he sought to abolish.

Following his history in Congress, bulk of his proposed bills, many still pending, are the establishment national high schools and conversion of some schools into state universities and national high schools in the province of Surigao del Sur.

Explaining his stand on Philippine education, he said that education should be one of the primary concerns of the government. “I believe that we should put more budget on education”. He says that a large investment must be allocated to the infrastructure of schools and training for the teachers, especially the training of teachers. He said that good teachers would be able to teach quality education for the children.

With the height of violence in the country, extra-judicial killings are rampant now, especially in the provinces were many journalists in different media, and leaders of various organizations that are against the government, have been slain.

Addressing extra-judicial killings, he was highly protective of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He said that, “I think there should be a thorough investigation, but accusing the military as an institution? I do not believe that.” He suggests a thorough investigation be conducted and the peoples fair eye in making judgements.
“You cannot avoid the fact that there are scalawags in uniform… but you know, it's not fair to accuse the entire institution because one scalawag has committed such criminal acts”, he adds in his statement. He sees it only fair to have a thorough investigation within the AFP for those who really are responsible.
On this note, at the height of the investigation of the “Subic rape case”, his stand on the US interference with the investigation was that the Americans should not have a hand on the Philippines’ efforts on solving the case.
But this stand of shutting out the American presence in Philippine activities was meant specifically for the rape case only for he has other thoughts when comes to the American presence in the form of the Visiting Forces agreement.
Commenting on the Visiting Forces Agreement. His stand was that the VFA be reviewed together with the Americans. “Well, like the last incident, wherein there was a rape incident. So we have to clarify with the Americans whether the justice system of the Philippines should apply and if it does, then there should be no custodies anymore… for the Americans”.
Pichay noted no specific provision of the treaty for reviewing, only that the treaty be reviewed together with the American government.
Prospero Pichay, a neophyte in the national arena, has been a representative of the 1st district of Surigao del Sur in the House of Representatives since 1998 up to the present, under the LAKAS-CMD. It is his first time to enter and pursue a position at the Senate.
He was born June 20th, 1950 at Surigao del Sur. A graduate of BS Commerce at De La Salle University, Manila, his other interests are in business. He owns Carlo Publishing; Carlo Commercial Printing.—Edgar Joseph Villar

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