ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Fired up before a hometown crowd, administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II greeted supporters here in Ilonggo, cracking jokes and cheering with them on the second leg of the “Daang Matuwid” coalition proclamation rally on Tuesday, February 9.
“We’re here. We won’t back down, we will win,” Roxas said in Ilonggo, as he introduced to the Iloilo crowd his slate and their special guest, President Benigno Aquino III.
Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, spent the day talking about their 3-point platform which they said hinged on a single theme: freedom.
“We’ll assure you that your family is free from hunger and threats,” Roxas said.
At the Capiz Gymnasium in Roxas City earlier in the day, Roxas told thousands of supporters: “Ang programa natin ay nakatutok sa tagumpay ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Sisiguraduhin natin na ang bawat pamilya at malaya sa gutom, malaya sa takot, at malayang mangarap. Yan ang ating ipinaglalaban, yan ang alam ko, yan ang kaya ko, at yan ang gagawin nating lahat.”
(Our program will focus on every Filipino family. We will make sure that each family is free from hunger, free from fear, and free to dream. That’s what I’m fighting for, that’s what I know, that’s what I can do and that’s what we will all do.)
“Daang Matuwid” is the current administration’s tagline for its good governance, transparency, and anti-corruption platform and its poverty alleviation and wealth redistribution programs. (READ: Mar Roxas: No one can stop us)
Roxas outlined the “Roxas-Robredo” commitment to Filipinos.
They would focus on creating more jobs in the manufacturing and tourism sectors, and expanding the BPO industry. Agriculture and fishery-based jobs would also get a boost under what Roxas termed the “Daang Matuwid Bukid Revolution,” a program that would give farmers and fisherfolk access to loans with reasonable rates.
Roxas said the tandem would also push for housing for the homeless. As interior secretary, Roxas was tasked to spearhead the relocation of informal settler families in the National Capital Region, a controversial assignment since housing is not part of the department’s mandate.
Universal health care will also be a priority, said Roxas. The ruling party has long trumpeted the expanded PhilHealth as proof of how effective “Daang Matuwid” is in helping the country’s poorest.
Without going into specifics, Roxas said his would be an administration that “will not abandon” its citizens in times of calamity. When Roxas was interior chief, he was a frontliner in many major disasters, a role that has also been cited in discrediting his capability to lead.
Swift justice is another of Roxas’ promises. He highlighted the importance of having trustworthy police officials and a reliable justice system.
Roxas also highlighted inclusive development as a priority by focusing on improving the existing “Bottom Up Budgeting program,” which allows civil society organizations, people’s groups and the like to access national funds for a project of their choice. This program has also earned the ire of critics because they say the LP is using this to promote the party.
Promising to push for “kalayaan para mangarap (freedom to dream),” Roxas cited only one specific program: the Pangtawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the current administration’s flagship anti-poverty program which in turn is an expanded version of a previous Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program. The 4Ps is a staple in Roxas’ speeches throughout the country.
Of the administration’s programs, it’s touted to be the best example of how the Aquino government cares for the poor amid criticism that the country’s stellar economic growth is anything but inclusive. – Rappler.com