CAGAYAN, Philippines – A week before the May 9 elections, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, May 2, campaigned for the Liberal Party tandem Manuel Roxas III and Leni Robredo in Cagayan, the home province of Juan Ponce Enrile.
Aquino arrived in Cagayan with Roxas’ son, Paolo, and one of Robredo’s daughters, hours after meeting with the head of Iglesia ni Cristo in Quezon City.
He led the inauguration of a bridge in Pamplona town and later met with hundreds of local leaders in the province, led by Manuel Mamba, Cagayan gubernatorial candidate and former Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer.
Mamba, whose platform is centered on eradicating blacksand mining and graft and corruption in Cagayan, described Aquino as “close friend.”
Mamba has been openly describing the Enriles as “Number One plunderers” in the country. He also tagged them as the minds behind the magnetite mining operations in the province.
The Cagayan-Isabela region is a known bailiwick of presidential candidate Jejomar Binay, whose mother is from Isabela. He celebrated Easter Sunday in March in the province, declaring he expects to win in the 2 provinces again come May 9.
In April, the sons of Roxas, Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte campaigned in the area almost at the same time.
Aquino, in his speech before the supporters in Tuguegarao City, asked them to vote for Roxas and Robredo to ensure the continuity of Daang Matuwid (straight path).
He championed his projects in Cagayan throughout his 6-year presidency. “Tatlong malalaking tulay na ang ipinagawa natin dito. Sabi ko, sa Tarlac po na probinsiya ko, may isang tulay lang. Dito po, tatlo na kahitnumber 2 lang ako noong nakaraang eleksiyo dito,” Aquino said.
(We already built 3 big bridges here. In my home province, we only built one. Here, there are already 1, even though I only placed second here in the 2010 elections.)
Among the three was the Pamplona Bridge, which Aquino inaugurated on Monday.
The P640-million bridge replaced a dilapidated bridge in Masi village in the town of Pamplona. It was started in February 2013.
The bridge connects Cagayan Valley to Cordillera and Ilocos regions.
Aquino also said Cagayan received P17.4 billion during his administration, compared to the P3.79 billion they got from former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
He added that his administration funded P3.5 billion of irrigation and farm to market road projects, P128.89 million post-harvest machines, 32, 205 families of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program, 2,000 classrooms and P377 million of health facilities.
But besides his accomplishments, he also cited the contributions of Roxas and Robredo.
Aquino downplayed the anti-crime platform of presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte while citing Roxas’ programs as then interior secretary. – Rappler.com