MANILA, Philippines – As he faced thousands of supporters at an urban poor area in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday, February 9, Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed to provide them the life they were promised when the Aquino administration took office 6 years ago.
Binay made the pledge at the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) proclamation rally at the Welfareville compound, along with other promises meant to provide the quality of life and prosperity that, he said, the Aquino administration had vowed but failed to deliver in its nearly 6 years in office. (FULL TEXT: Jejomar Binay: 'Bukas, ginhawa sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino')
"Namnamin natin ang gabing ito, mga kababayan. Ito ang bisperas ng ating paglaya sa kahirapan, sa kawalan ng trabaho, sa kulang-kulang at makupad na serbisyo, sa kapalpakan, at sa manhid napamamahala at sa walang katuturang paninira, pagmamalinis at pulitika ng paghihiganti at hidwaan," he said.
(Relish this night, my fellow citizens. This is the eve of our freedom from poverty and unemployment, insufficient and slow service, incompetent and insensitive governance, and pointless black propaganda, righteousness, and vengeful politics and bickering.)
WATCH: VP Binay's speech at UNA's proclamation rally in Welfareville, Mandaluyong Posted by Mara Cepeda on Tuesday, February 9, 2016
For starters, he vowed to end the income tax payment of workers earning a maximum of P30,000 ($630.38) per month, if elected president.
"Kung ako na ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas, aalisin natin ang income tax ng mga kababayan natin na kumukita ng P30,000 at pababa!" the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer promised at the kick off of his presidential bid.
The proposal is not unique to Binay. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had earlier promised that if he is elected president, those earning less than P20,000 will not get taxed.
Binay had a ready answer to critics of the proposal, which the Vice President made alongside pledges to widen social services that would require increased government funds.
"Sa mga nagsasabing hindi ito puwedeng mangyari dahil malulugi ang pamahalaan, simple lang ang sagot ko: bilyun-bilyon ang nawawala sa pera ng bayan sa smuggling. Bilyun-bilyon ang nawawala dahil hindi wasto ang pangungulekta ng buwis sa mga mayayaman. Bilyun-bilyon ang nasasayang dahil sa hindi wastong paggastos ng pamahalaan. 'Yan ang dapat asikasuhin, hindi ang pagpapahirap sa mga manggagawang Pilipino," he added.
(To those who say this cannot be done as the government would incur significant losses, my response is simple: billions are lost to smuggling. Billions are lost due to inefficient tax collection. Billions are wasted because of improper government spending. That must be addressed, instead of adding to the sufferings of the Filipino workers.)
Makati experience nationwide
Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler
Binay, who was Makati mayor for 21 years, again promised to replicate what he had done in Makati to the rest of the country if elected president, by expanding social services in his first year in office. (READ: Binay in Mindanao: I will make you rich, like Makati)
"Sa gabing ito, inuulit ko ang lagi kong sinasabi sa ating mga kababayan sa mga probinsiya: ang nagawa namin sa Makati, gagawin natin sa Pilipinas (Tonight, let me repeat what I've been saying to our people in the provinces: what we did in Makati, we will do for the entire Philippines)," he said.
He cited 4 programs that have to be carried out in his first year as president, among them, to provide free medicine to all poor Filipinos.
Binay also vowed to provide free books, school supplies, and uniforms to all students nationwide.
The Vice President, who resigned from the Aquino Cabinet last year because of its supposed inefficiency, promised to continue and improve on the administration's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
"Huwag kayong maniwala sa mga kasinungalingan ng ititigil daw ng inyong lingkod ang 4Ps. Hindi lang natin ipagpapatuloy, palalawakin pa natin para makasama ang mga edad 60 hanggang 64, at ang mas marami pa nating kababayan," Binay said, amid applause from the crowd.
He added that his administration will "clean up" the program to ensure that the distribution of the fund is not marred by politicking.
Binay's choice of Welfareville to launch his campaign is consistent with his platform of pro-poor governance and inclusive growth. His key campaign message builds on his rags-to-riches story as an orphan who became a human rights lawyer, and later vice president. (READ: The Leader I Want: Jejomar Binay's to-fix list for 2016)
He was joined by running mate Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II and their senatorial bets famous boxing star and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao, Princess Jacel Kiram, Alma Moreno, Allan Montaño, Getulio Napeñas, and Rey Langit.
Sen Honasan's speech at UNA proclamation rally Posted by Mara Cepeda on Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Present also were UNA guest candidates Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and overseas Filipino workers advocate Susan "Toots" Ople, who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. Kate Gordon, wife of guest candidate and former senator Richard "Dick" Gordon, and Audrey Zubiri, wife of another guest candidate and ex-senator Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, also made speeches on their husbands' behalf.
Other politicians who supported Binay and UNA were Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, former Senate President Ernesto Maceda, Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr, Cebu Mayor Mike Rama, Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza, and Makati First District Representative Monique Lagdamaeo.
Binay's wife, former Makati mayor Dra Elenita Binay, and their children Senator Nancy Binay, dismissed Makati mayor Junjun Binay, Makati Second District Representative Abigail Binay, Maria Marita Angeline Binay, and Joanna Maria Blanca Binay attended the event.
Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler
Former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada was not seen at the UNA rally, reminiscent of his absence at the launch of UNA as a political party last year. (READ: Erap snubs Binay’s UNA launch)
Asked before the event whether Estrada was attending the UNA proclamation rally, Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, UNA president, said he was not aware of it.
Binay was Estrada’s running mate in the 2010 presidential elections. Binay won but Estrada lost to then Senator Benigno Aquino III.
Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) aligned with Binay's former party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban, to form UNA in the 2013 senatorial elections.
Estrada has repeatedly said that he was torn between supporting Binay or presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe, the daughter of his best friend, the late Fernando Poe Jr.
Poe is the current front runner in the presidential polls once dominated by Binay, who has slipped to second place. The Vice President is hounded by corruption allegations that were the subject of a year-long Senate inquiry that ended in January. – Rappler.com
US$1 = P47.59