Residents of Roxas’ hometown tell Grace Poe: Help us Yolanda victims

Camille Elemia
Residents of Roxas’ hometown tell Grace Poe: Help us Yolanda victims
Poe's running mate, Chiz Escudero, hints that presidential bet Mar Roxas did not do enough for his province when he was its congressman and as Cabinet member

CAPIZ, Philippines – Roxas airport. Roxas boulevard. Roxas posters.

These hardly stopped hundreds of people from showing support for the tandem of senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero when they arrived at Roxas City in Capiz province on Wednesday, February 17.

Some of the supporters were carrying posters and papers, asking for Poe’s help to improve their lives. Most of them say they had not received sufficient support ever since Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the province in 2013. The super typhoon killed more than 6,000 in the Philippines, most in Eastern Visayas and surrounding provinces. 

“Grace, naga pangayo kami bulig nga hatagan livelihood ang biktima ni Bagyong Yolanda,” one plea said. (Grace, help us and give us victims of Typhoon Yolanda livelihood.)

“Grace, buligi kami nga mga Danger Zone,” another said. (Grace, help us who are in danger zones.)

Her supporters, however, refused to be interviewed, out of fear that local officials, perceived to be supportive of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, would know they are for Poe.

Roxas, whose paternal side hails from Capiz, was the interior and local government secretary during the super typhoon.

Poe, for her part, reiterated her disappointment over the slow pace of rehabilitation in affected areas. (READ: Yolanda rehab: Only 30% complete as 2016 begins)

“Kaya ‘pag sinasabing Gobyernong May Puso, di ba ‘pag ikaw ay umiibig nararamdaman mo ang sakit at tuwa ng minamahal mo sa buhay? Dapat may puso ang gobyerno para bilis-bilisan nila pagkilos at pagtulong,” she said.

(That’s why when we say Government With A Heart, if you’re in love, don’t you feel the pain and happiness of those you love? The government should have a heart so it moves and helps people faster.)

Roxas could have done more

Escudero said Roxas could have done something more in his home province, considering he is close to former and present presidents. Roxas was a 3-term congressman of the province.

When asked why, Escudero said: “Mas marami sana s’yang nagawa sa kanyang lugar kumpara sa nakikita ‘nyo rito. ‘Wag na ako ang tanungin nyo, mga tagarito na lang.” (He could have done for his own province more than what you are seeing now. Don’t ask me anymore, ask the residents [if he did enough].)

Asked if this would be indicative of Roxas’ performance as president, Escudero said it is not for him to answer the question.

“I have not worked with him in the executive branch. Nakatrabaho ko lamang sa Kongreso, at sa Kongreso pantay lang kami ng boto, isa-isa lang,” he said. (I have not worked with him in the executive [branch]. I only got to work with him in Congress, and there we were equals, one vote each.)

Poe, for her part, assured people in Capiz that more would be done for them if she wins as president.

“Sa aming pamumuno, mas madaming benepsyon, mas marami pang development projects ang mararamdaman ng mga taga-Capiz,” she said. (In out administration, there will be more benfits, more development projects will be given to people of Capiz.)

Roxas – in fact, the Aquino administration – has been criticized by local and international organizations for the slow pace of Yolanda relief operations and rehabilitation. (READ: Duerte: Roxas most incompetent Filipino to run for president)

Western Visayas is a known bailiwick of Roxas and the ruling Liberal Party, so much so that they decided to launch their campaign in the city.

Roxas began his political career in the early 1990s as representative of the province, taking on the role of politician after his younger brother, former Capiz Representative Gerardo “Dinggoy” Roxas Jr, died.

The capital of the province, Roxas City, is named after the LP standard-bearer’s grandfather and namesake, the late president Manuel Roxas.

In 2013, Poe topped the senatorial race in the province with 167,746 votes.

In 2010, in the vice presidential race, Roxas won in the city and in Capiz with 204,839 votes in the province.

In the January Pulse Asia pre-election survey, Roxas was the most preferred candidate in the Visayas with 32%. Poe came in second with 26%. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.