MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Unfazed by presidential surveys that continue to be topped by other candidates, administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Tuesday, February 9, began his official bid for the highest position with this battlecry: “No one can stop us. We’re going to win.”
Roxas made the statement in Ilonggo at the Capiz gymnasium packed with supporters at the proclamation rally of the administration coalition candidates led by the tandem of Roxas and running mate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.
Roxas, who also shared the stage with Liberal Party chair President Benigno Aquino III, said the Daang Matuwid coalition’s platform is anchored on ensuring “3 freedoms” for all Filipinos.
“Unang kalayaan: kalayaan sa gutom. Pangalawang kalayaan: kalayaan sa takot. Pangatlong kalayaan: kalayaan na mangarap (First freedom: Freedom from hunger. Second freedom: freedom from fear. Third freedom: Freedom from poverty,” the former interior secretary said. (READ: The Leader I Want: Mar Roxas’ to-fix list for 2016)
Roxas took a potshot at one of his rivals whom he did not name but was obviously Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is hounded by corruption allegations.
“Hindi tayo magpapatalo sa manloloko at higit sa lahat hindi magpapatalo sa mga magnanakaw (We will not lose to conmen and most of all, we will not lose to thieves)!” he said, echoing his TV campaign ad. (READ: Roxas in new ad: No drama, just work)
Roxas acknowledged it would not be easy. “Hindi magiging madali itong laban na ito. May mga kababayan tayo na nagnanais bumalik sa baluktot na nakaraan dahil dito sila yumayaman or humuhugot ng kapangyarihan,” he said. (This fight won’t be easy. We have countrymen who prefer to return to our broken past because this is where they become rich or where they draw power.)
In her speech, Robredo highlighted the administration coalition’s anti-poverty platform. (READ: The Leader I Want: Leni Robredo’s to-fix list for 2016)
“Sabay-sabay nating pagi-iisahin na labanan ang kagutuman at kahirapan. Panahon na dalhin ang asenso sa lahat (Let us unite against hunger and poverty. It’s time to bring progress to all),” she said.
In his speech, the President urged voters to choose the administration tandem to ensure that the gains of his administration would not go to waste.
“Si Mar Roxas at Leni Robredo ang magpapayabong ng ating mga ipinunla (Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo will build on our gains),” he said.
Aquino reported the gains achieved by his administration, and used this as a springboard to rally support for the administration tandem.
“Mahalaga pong masiguro na ang mga susunod na pinuno ay itutuloy ang Daang Matuwid. Isipin po ninyo, kung kabaligtaran nito ang isusulong ng papalit sa akin; kung epal, papogi, at pananatili lang sa kapangyarihan ang kanyang iniisip, sigurado po, masasayang lang ang lahat ng ating pinaghirapan at mababalewala ang mga pagkakataong bumubukas sa ating bansa,” he said.
(It’s important to ensure that the next leaders would continue the Straight Path. Imagine, if the complete opposite is pursued by my successor and if that successor is only driven by self-interest, earning brownie points, and keeping oneself in power, all of our hard work would go to waste. Opportunities for our country would be squandered.)
He said that the next leadership should share the same view as the incumbent administration, based on “love for Filipinos and putting country first before self.”
Aquino said Roxas has “competence, integrity, and proven track record.”
He said that in the fight against crime, for example, Roxas, as interior secretary, launched Oplan Lambat-Sibat, which slashed robbery, theft and carnapping incidents by 50% or from 919 every week to 375 from July 2014 to April 2015 in Metro Manila.
As for Robredo, Aquino said that while many people may still not know her, as she had only served in a local position, those who have cannot help but admire her.
He said Robredo, the widow of interior secretary Jesse Robredo, was chosen as the administration’s vice presidential candidate not only because of her political affiliation but also because “her heart is in the right place and she is competent to lead.”
“Ito nga pong tambalang Mar-Leni ang mga kandidatong walang papogi, walang drama, walang gimik, kundi trabaho lang. Sa kanilang dalawa, di natin kailangang makarinig ng matitinding pangako, dahil matagal na pong ginagawa ni Mar at Leni ang pagsisilbi, lalo na sa pinakanangangailangan,” Aquino said.
(The Mar-Leni tandem is composed of candidates who are not just trying to look good, have no drama, no gimmick, just honest work. We don’t have to hear lofty promises from them because Mar and Leni have been serving the people, especially the most needy, for a long time.) – with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com