FOR Senate President and vice presidential aspirant Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, the Philippines need a new and a fresh beginning.

This, according to Sotto, is why he and Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, who is running for president, are joining forces.

He believes what the country needs is a change of management, a much better one.

If elected, Sotto vowed that one of his priorities would focus on the development of the countryside and the needs of the people down at the grassroots by empowering them.

Sotto said this can be done through a bottom-up budgeting scheme that will guarantee a Local Development Plan (LDF) for each local government unit (LGU) down to the barangay level.

Sotto said the program is called Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Reform (Brave), which aims to bring the money of the government down to the people.

"Kailangan ang pera ng gobyerno ay nasa inyo, hindi pupweding manghihingi tayo don. Kailangan sa inyo at doon din manggaling ano ang mga kailangan niyo," Sotto said, as he addressed the crowd during his recent visit with Lacson in Bacolod City.

Under the program, each of the 82 provinces in the country will have an automatic budget allocation of P500 million, P100 million for each of 145 cities, P50 million each for 1,493 municipalities, and P5 million each of 42,046 barangays.

Sotto said they are up and proud to seek the support of the people because of this program, which was conceptualized to really help them in the countryside.

"Kung ang natitira sa atin ay bukas, ano ang ibig sabihin ang bukas...para sa mahihina ang loob...para doon sa natatakot, ang ibig sabihin ng bukas ay hindi alam. Kay Senator Lacson at sa akin, ang ibig sabihin ng bukas ay pagkakataon na ibibigay naming sapagkat nakatayo kami sa katapatan, kakayahan at katapangan," he said.

Meanwhile, Sotto was also proud to share with the Bacolodnons some of his accomplishments that have benefitted them.

These include the measures creating the Patag Tourism Zone in Silay City, as well as the conversion of Sagay, Victorias, Kabankalan and Talisay into cities.

"Narito po kami, ipinagyayabang ko ang mga nagawa ko para sa inyo because I always stand for what is good for the Filipino, what is good for the Filipino family," Sotto said.

Citing his own family, Sotto emphasized the importance of having a well bonded family ties in having a strong country.

"Kilala niyo naman ako eh, kilala niyo mga kapatid ko, kilala niyo mga anak ko. Importante ang pamilya. Ganun din si Senator Lacson, buo ang aming pamilya. Talagang ika nga eh yun angp inagmamalaki namin. Pagka maganda ang takbo ng pamilya mo, maganda ang takbo ng bansa. With a strong family, we will have a strong country," Sotto said.

The senator also reiterated his other program that will focus on eliminating drug abuse and illegal drugs.

"Sa Quezon City, nababa namin yan dahil doon sa aking program -- supply reduction kasama yung demand reduction. Hindi pwedeng enforcement lang at prosecution, kailangan merong prevention and rehabilitation," he said. (PR)