Roxas warns vs 'malubak na nakaraan' and 'untested' bets

CEBU, Philippines - Why return to the past and why entrust the future to those who have yet to make things happen? 

Administration standard-bearer and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II went on the offensive on Monday, August 24, as he warned a crowd in this vote-rich province against choosing politicians who want to return to an era of "traditional politicians (trapos)" and those with no clear plans for the country.

There's a need, Roxas said, to protect "Daang Matuwid," the administration's tagline for its anti-corruption, transparency and good governance platform, from those  who want to return to the "madilim, malubak, at maalikabok na nakaraan (dark, bumpy and forgotten ways of the past)."

He added in Filipino, "There are those who want to lead but have no clear plans. In short, those who are just going around in circles."

Roxas was apparently referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is facing graft and plunder charges, and Senator Grace Poe, who has yet to declare her plans for 2016. The 3, in fact, are all here on Monday.

"Tayo po sa Daang Matuwid, malinaw ang ating patutunguhan, malinaw ang paraan kung paano natin mararating ang ating magandang bukas," said Roxas. (We in the Daang Matuwid have a clear goal and know how to achieve a better future.)

He added: "Higit sa lahat, may proof. At kayo ang proof na unti-unti nararating na natin ang magandang bukas na ninanais natin." (Best of all, there's proof – you are the proof that we are on track to a better future.)

Early campaigning

Roxas visited the province Monday along with President Benigno Aquino II and key Cabinet officials for a series of radio interviews with local stations, the "Daang Matuwid People's Dialogue" at the Cebu Normal University, and for a "Gathering of Friends" at the Cebu Coliseum, a repeat of Aquino's July 31 endorsement. 

Two officials with him are seen to be eyeing senatorial seats in 2016: Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino. The two were coy about their plans, though.

Roxas promised the continuation of the government's key programs - bottom up budgeting, universal healthcare and conditional cash transfer for the poor - but at the same time cautioned against the continuation of those services to people who only have words to back them up. 

Wearing the ruling Liberal Party's distinctive shade of yellow, the interior secretary was flanked by Presidential Spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda, Budget Chief Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Janet Garin, Social Welfare Chief Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Philhealth director Risa Hontiveros during the "Daang Matuwid People's Dialogue."

Cebu's 2.5 million voters have proven loyal to Aquino, Roxas, and the current administration in the past 2 elections. Roxas bagged more than one million votes in Cebu province when he ran – but lost – as vice president in 2010. 

The administration's 2013 senatorial slate also won big in Cebu during the 2013 races.

But surveys in June showed Roxas continued to lag behind Poe and Binay. The next survey on presidential preferences is expected to come out in September. 

This is Roxas' second visit to Cebu this month alone. On August 12, he met with BPO employees here. – Rappler.com