SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson, Sr. on Wednesday said if he wins the presidential race in May, his administration will distribute 85% of the annual budget to local government units as a strategy to combat corruption.   

He said he was able to test the effectivity of this scheme when he led the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001.  

“Because at that time, 60% (of the funds) were at the headquarters, only 40% were going to the frontline units,” the senator said in mix of English and Filipino in a statement.   

“This cant be, because the police (on the ground) would be tempted to extort money without proper funding. So, I said, the headquarters would only take 15%, 85% (would go to regional offices).”  

The senator also said that he used his discretionary fund as police chief, which amounted to as much as P100 million at that time, to provide financial assistance to the families of uniformed personnel killed in the line of duty.  

These experiences, he said, formed his advocacy to lead by exampleand solidified his resistance to corruption.  

Meanwhile, two other presidential contenders have vowed to provide more local opportunities for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).   

“As a long-term solution, let us start as early as now to strengthen our local economy so that the efforts and capabilities of our OFWs may be directed towards the development of our society,” Labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman said in a statement in Filipino.  

He also plans to implement a “labor first” policy in the operation of the newly-established Department of Migrant Affairs. 

“This (institution) should always serve migrants rather than the principal employer or manpower agencies,he said.    

Mr. de Guzman also reiterated his planned shift in economic policies, focusing on the modernization of the agricultural sector and massive industrialization.  

Among the Partido Lakas ng Masa standard-bearer’s platforms is to develop local industries, and move away from the import-dependent and export-oriented policies of past administrations. 

“Who would still want to leave our country if everything we need is here,” he said. “Workers wouldn’t need to endure living far from their families if we had a lot of decent jobs and equal opportunities to work with dignity.”  

Presidential aspirant Manila Mayor Francisco IskoM. Domagoso, for his part, said he would ensure returning OFWs have access to livelihood or job opportunities through the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).  

Some of them have savings and houses, while others do not. How do we help them integrate?Thats only two things. Either they find jobs through DTI or go back to planting, agriculture. They will need the government for that,he said in Filipino in a live-streamed interview held in Zamboanga del Sur.  

Mr. Domagoso, the standard-bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko, also said that his administration will invest in the development of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational program as well as agricultural courses. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, John Victor D. Ordoñez, and Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan