I’m offering myself as an alternative to current leadership in QC — Rep. Defensor

Anakalusugan Rep. Michael “Mike” Defensor on Tuesday, March 8, said he is offering himself as an alternative to the current leadership in Quezon City.

“I'm offering myself as an alternative to the current leadership of QC and what I'm offering is not only the programs...We will be able to solve many problems,” the mayoral candidate said in the MB Hot seat interview.

Defensor said that in the coming elections, people will be basing their votes on what the candidates have done during the pandemic.

He emphasized that he was present in Congress during the pandemic and has made programs that would help the people cope with the situation.

At the height of the health crisis, Defensor said he participated in tackling the Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2 or the “ayuda” (financial assistance) and the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers, who were badly affected by the pandemic.

Defensor added that he intends to coordinate with local officials for a more organized “ayuda” distribution and other similar programs.

If given the chance to lead Quezon City, Defensor said he will prioritize the improvement of the road situation in the city.

“We have to look into Quezon City (kung) paano namin aayusin ‘yung daloy ng trapiko. Ano ‘yung major infrastructure programs na kailangan na naming gawin (We have to look into ways to fix the traffic flow. What are the major infrastructure programs that we need to carry out),” he said.

The congressman said among the programs that can ease road congestion in the city are the construction of Metro Rail Transit 11 (MRT-11) on Quirino Highway and the improvement of other major roads such as Mindanao Avenue. He said these plans, however, need the support of the President.

During the interview, he criticized the local government’s decision to increase the penalties for traffic violation under the No Contact Apprehension Program (NCAP), saying it’s a wrong move since the city is still suffering from the financial crisis brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“From P500 ginawa nilang P2,000 to P3,000. In fact, ‘yung violation of traffic signs P3,000 (From P500, they raised the fine to P2,000 to P3,000. In fact, a traffic sign violation costs P3,000),” he said

The NCAP, which was implemented in the city in 2021, aims to discipline the motorists and to avoid face-to-face interactions between traffic officers and violators.

Defensor said he will implement NCAP but will not raise the penalties for traffic violations.

To boost tourism, Defensor said that he will restore and develop parks and places in the city such as the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC); the historic Pugad Lawin in Tandang Sora, La Loma or the so-called “Lechon Capital of the Philippines”; and Banawe Street, known as QC’s Chinatown and as auto parts capital of the Philippines.

Defensor said he will also push for the redevelopment of the city’s two forest areas -- the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (NAPWC) on Elliptical Road in Diliman and the La Mesa Ecopark in Brgy. Greater Lagro.

He said NAPWC can be turned into the Singapore Zoo of the Philippines, while La Mesa Ecopark should have areas where people can enjoy activities like biking.

The congressman said he also plans to improve the Amoranto Sports Complex in Diliman.

He added that the three city-run hospitals -- the Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital, the Novaliches District Hospital, and the Quezon City General Hospital -- should also be developed by adding modern facilities to better serve its residents.

“Pakiramdam ng mga taga-Quezon City, pag pumasok sila sa ospital namin, paglabas nila sa St. Peter na sila papunta kung hindi sa Loyola Memorial. So kailangan naming ayusin ‘yung aming mga ospital. Simpleng lab test, simpleng mga facilities for CT scan, Xray. We need to do that (The people of Quezon City feel that after leaving our hospitals, they are going to St. Peter or to Loyola Memorial . So we need to fix our hospitals. Simple lab test, facilities for CT scan, Xray. We need to do that),” he said.