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Roxas, Cabinet members – Defend ‘Daang Matuwid’

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol August 25,2015 - 01:04 AM

Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas introduces the Cabinet officials during the People’s Dialogue at the Cebu Normal University.  (CDN Photo/Lito Tecson)

Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas introduces the Cabinet officials during the People’s Dialogue at the Cebu Normal University.
(CDN Photo/Lito Tecson)

The lines blurred yesterday in a Cabinet members “People’s Dialog” in Cebu City that sounded more like a campaign for presidential aspirant Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and the administration’s platform of good governance.

At least three Secretaries may run for the Senate, Roxas confirmed later.

At a forum in Cebu Normal University, Roxas and Cabinet members showed up dressed in the Liberal Party’s yellow and black sports shirt.

“Shun corruption. Defend the Daang Matuwid,” Roxas exhorted some 200 participants in a forum that included beneficiaries of the government’s 4Ps cash transfer program and government personnel.

“Kayo ang boss,” he said, calling citizen power the strongest foundation of good governance.

“You serve as my inspiration. Everything the government has comes from you, and all these are intended for you. We (in the administration) are not fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for you,” he said.

Roxas and Cabinet members listened to feedback from participants, who were asked in a workshop to reflect on these questions: What has changed in their lives in the past five years? What government programs should be sustained? What can you suggest to continue the reforms of the Aquino administration?

When it was the turn of Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), to speak, he said the best answer to various concerns of Filipinos is to vote for Roxas.

“The answer to your questions is Mar Roxas,” he said.

In a short interview after the event, Roxas said three Cabinet members are part of the short list of LP’s senatorial slate for the 2016 elections.

“Secretary Leila (de Lima), Secretary Francis (Tolentino), and Secretary Janet (Guarin) are all very qualified. They have shown very good service and dedication, and have been faithful to our thrust of daang matuwid,” Roxas told reporters.

READ: De Lima, health secretary, MMDA chief among LP senatorial prospects

“Certainly, they would be among those in consideration,” he said.

Asked about the perception that they came to Cebu to campaign for his presidential bid, Roxas said, “Pamumulitika kung kasinungalingan. Pero lahat naman ng sinabi dito ay totoo (It’s politics if we were telling lies. But everything we spoke of here was the truth).”

The forum was also attended by Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Justice Secretary de Lima, Health Secretary Garin, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, and MMDA chairman Tolentino.

Among those in the audience were PhilHealth Director Risa Hontiveros, Rep. Luigi Quisumbing of Cebu’s 6th district, Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas of Cebu’s 1st district, and Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Jerry Treñas.

“We need to defend the Daang Matuwid. There are those who want to return to that dark and dusty road in the past. Why? In that system, they are famous, they could easily show off and take advantage of you. That’s the trapo-style of governance,” Roxas told the audience in Filipino.

Roxas said that if he is elected president, he would strengthen President Aquino’s programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, universal healthcare for Filipinos, and cheaper medicine.

“There are others who say they will continue these programs. But who will you believe—those who can only present words or those who are already implementing the program?” he said.

Roxas said he would rely on bottoms-up budgeting in local government units to improve the condition of poor Filipinos.

“This is like a bibingka. While we are doing something for our economy, we should also be doing something from the bottom. Development should not just start from top to bottom, but also from bottom to top,” he said.

Myrna Buhayan, 43, of barangay Mambaling in Cebu City, stood up to ask Roxas to continue the 4Ps program and to eliminate corruption.

Ermelinda Abadiano, a barangay health worker, lauded the administration for programs that benefit the poor.

“Let us vote for Daang Matuwid and rekindle the spirit of volunteerism,” she said.

Social workers handled the workshop. After about an hour, group representatives reported their output to Cabinet members. There were no anti-government sentiments in them.

In his speech, Roxas alluded to other potential presidential candidates but did not mention names.

“May nagnanais naman diyan na mamuno lamang, wala namang plano, wala namang patutunguhan, at walang programa para marating kung ano man ang kanilang nais na marating ng ating bansa. In short, mamamasyal lamang,” he said.

(There are those who want to govern although they do not have plans and programs for our country. In short, they just want to travel).”

“On the other hand, we, in the Daang Matuwid, have definite plans and clear ways on how we can achieve a bright tomorrow. You, our people, are proof that we are slowly heading into that bright future we all long for,” he added.

Justice Secretary de Lima, on her part, said justice in the country has improved under Aquino’s watch.

“This is the absolute rule of law, truth, and accountability. During this administration, a chief justice was impeached, an Ombudsman resigned because she was about to be impeached, three senators were jailed due to corruption, although one was recently released due to special accommodations,” she said.

“These are just examples of Daang Matuwid. This policy can’t be for a 6-year contract only. The Daang Matuwid should be long-term and lasting. It’s all up to you to continue what we have started,” she said.

De Lima has been tight-lipped regarding her plans in the 2014 elections.

“There’s a proper time for an announcement. Not now,” she told reporters as she boarded a van.

She said she went with Roxas to Cebu City in support of the government’s Daang Matuwid policy.

“You know the justice sector needs to boast of what this Daang Matuwid has done. And I’m the ideal representative to do that,” she said.

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TAGS: Daang Matuwid, Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas, presidential election

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