MANILA, Philippines – If you truly serve the public interest, you should not turn your backs on Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) – and the lone presidential aspirant who embodies the administration's anti-corruption and good governance platform.
This was the message of President Benigno Aquino III to barangay leaders, who gathered in Pasay City on Monday, September 28, for the national assembly of the Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas.
In his speech, Aquino sought to gather support for his chosen candidate, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, by hinting that he was the only presidential candidate who can take over the reins from his administration. (READ: Mar Roxas accepts challenge, to pursue 'straight path')
Aquino told barangay leaders that if they truly wanted to serve the people, they should not hesitate to continue the 'straight path' – Aquino's campaign line in 2010 that Roxas is now also using for his 2016 bid.
"Ang tanong ko nga po sa inyo ngayon: Sa lahat ng mabuting nakita ninyo sa loob ng limang taon ng mabuting pamamahala, may magsasabi bang dapat nating talikuran ang Daang Matuwid?" Aquino said.
(My question to all of you: In all the good things you saw within 5 years of good governance, has anyone said that we should turn our backs on Daang Matuwid?)
He continued: "Kung talagang tumotoo ka bilang lingkod-bayan, kaya mo bang sabihin nang mata sa mata sa iyong mga kabarangay: itigil na natin ang Daang Matuwid?"
(If you truly are for public service, can you say, eye to eye with your fellowmen in the barangay, that we should stop pursuing the straight path?)
While saying that barangay leaders shouldn't be involved in partisan politics, the President stressed that the fate of the Filipino people rests on their votes.
"Mga kasama, tulad ng anumang importanteng bagay, sa tingin ko, hindi puwedeng pabayaan na lang natin ang lahat ng ating pinagsumikapan. Kung gusto pa nating marating ang mas matatayog na pangarap, kailangang nating isulong ang Daang Matuwid," he said.
(As with anything important, I think we can't just let our efforts go to waste. If we want to reach our dreams, we need to continue the Straight Path.)
"Kung lilihis nga po tayo sa tuwid at talagang subok sa 2016, walang nakakatiyak na makakabawi pa tayo pagdating ng 2022," Aquino added.
(If we stray from the straight path and the tried and tested for 2016, there is no guarantee that we can recover by 2022.)
The President has publicly endorsed Roxas as his preferred successor, but the Liberal Party's standard-bearer has yet to name his running mate for 2016.