MANILA, Philippines – Three top contenders for the presidency visited the vote-rich province of Cebu on Monday, August 24.
Administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay, and senator Grace Poe, rumored to be planning her own “independent” candidacy, attended separate events in the province.
The visits were aimed at getting the sentiments of Cebuanos, whose votes are crucial for any presidential candidate. During the 2013 elections, the province had 2.5 million registered voters.
In a conversation in Rappler’s Cebu Movers Facebook group, Cebuano youth weighed in on the visits, answering the question, “What would you say to the leaders if you had the chance to talk to them?”
Roxas went on the offensive as he warned a crowd against choosing politicians who want to return to an era of “traditional politicians (trapos)” and those with no clear plans for the country.
“Tayo po sa Daang Matuwid, malinaw ang ating patutunguhan, malinaw ang paraan kung paano natin mararating ang ating magandang bukas,” said the administration standard-bearer. (On the Straight Path, we have a clear goal and we know how to achieve a better future.)
According to Kevin Ray Chua, in the Gathering of Friends for Mar, the interior secretary talked about the protection of BPO workers rights.
“I would have wanted to talk more with him about protecting the rights and welfare of BPO workers especially those who are on fly-by-night contact centers,” Chua said.
Paolo Martin Saberon noted that more than 600 employees became victims of a fly-by-night call center last 2012.
“There are more labor-related issues coming from BPO industry reported to DOLE. We recognize Mar’s contribution to the birth of BPOs, but it should not only stop there,” Saberon added.
Chua was disappointed that Roxas did not mention the role of the youth in governance.
“I believe that advocating for more youth representation in the local government,” Chua said. He cited the efforts of the Cebuano Youth Ambassadors in reforming and increasing youth representation in the Cebu City Youth Development Commission (#YouthForCCYDC) that would create a more participatory democracy.
Answer the allegations
Young people from Cebu are also concerned about Binay’s pending corruption cases.
“I would have requested him to once and for all answer the allegations hurled against him because the more he goes into rhetoric of a ‘palpak’ and ‘manhid’ governance, the more he becomes a turn off,” Chua said.
According to Juli Ann Sibi, Binay still “loudly declares that Cebuanos will support him.”
“Binay has been going around trying to ‘clear’ his name with the masses. He’s been visiting public markets and the like, telling them why he’s running, why he’s doing what he’s doing,” Sibi said.
Greggy Senados noted, however, that the vice president was already consulting various sectors and answering allegations directly to the masses “instead (of) the Senate Kangaroo Court of the Yellow Government (which) is seemingly exercising political persecution than conducting fair investigation in aid of legislation.”
Targeting the youth
Poe may be coy about her political plans in 2016, but her words and actions in Cebu painted a different story. The senator laid down some of her would-be campaign platform before 21,000 students in the University of San Carlos.
Poe told students she is pushing for affordable quality education, paid government internship, and fast Internet speed.
Cebuano youth gave mixed reactions to Poe’s visit.
According to Rainiel Llaudares, a lot of students reacted positively to Poe’s speech, especially when she said she is pushing for faster Internet speed.
However, others were disappointed.
“I didn’t really like the idea of her (visiting the university), especially (when the) election season is starting to heat up. She came over because of the invitation from Mike Lopez, one of her subordinates in MTRCB,” Guinita said.
For Juli Ann Sibi, a student from the University of the Philippine – Cebu, the leader she wants is someone who digs deeper into local issues. In an iSpeak article on MovePH, Sibi said:
“If our presidential bets truly want to win the hearts of Cebuanos, they should try and learn more from the local situation. In the previous months alone, Cebuanos have been particularly strong on issues such as sustainability, human rights, and youth involvement.”
How about you? What do you think of Roxas, Binay, and Poe’s visit to Cebu? Share your comments below. – Rappler.com