Aquino ‘needs more support’-A A +A
Sunday, July 3, 2011
CEBU CITY -- A year into his term, President Benigno Aquino III now has the support of majority of Cebu’s district representatives in the House of Representatives, a congressman confirmed Saturday.
Representative Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu Province, 4th district) said he joined the National Unity Party (NUP) because he wants “to help the President.”
The NUP is a group of former Lakas-Kampi allies who now form part of the House coalition led by Liberal Party allies of President Benigno Aquino III.
A broadsheet has also identified Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia (Cebu Province, 2nd district) as NUP chairman and Representative Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (Cebu Province, 6th district) as one of the party members.
Interviewed separately, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, one of Aquino’s original allies in Cebu in the May 2010 elections, commended the President’s performance in his first year in office.
“If we talk about performance, I would say nga maayo ang dan nga gisubay sa atong presidente. Pero ang uban lang gusto man gud nga duna dayoy kausaban. (The president took the right path. But others want change right away.) We cannot expect overnight results,” Cortes told reporters last Friday.
He said Filipinos tend to blame government officials for the country’s problems, without asking themselves if they have done their responsibilities as citizens.
“Each of us is part of the problem, and part of the solution,” he said.
President Aquino marked his first year in office this week with the launch of the “Pilipinas Natin” (Our Philippines) volunteer program and a speech criticizing former president Gloria Arroyo for alleged irregularities and “massive problems” his administration inherited from her.
“He promised to serve the country with all honesty and sincerity. But the President cannot solve the problems of the country alone. No one can. That’s why I joined the coalition to support his administration, not only because it is my duty as a public official but also because I, too, have a mandate to fulfill and that is to bring progress to my people in the district,” Salimbangon said.
He said NUP’s application as a new political party is still pending with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In last year’s elections, Salimbangon and his Lakas-Kampi allies supported former secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. for president. Only Cebu City Reps. Rachel del Mar and Tomas Osmeña, among the eventual winners in the congressional elections in Cebu, were officially allied with the Aquino campaign in 2010.
“Public service is not about political affiliation, but it is, for me, a purely personal commitment to the very people who placed you in your position,” Salimbangon said Saturday.
On the first anniversary of his oath-taking, Aquino criticized Arroyo, now a congresswoman, for the alleged overimportation of rice during her administration, leading to a steep increase in the country’s debt.
He cited improvements done by his administration, such as eliminating the use of sirens by private vehicles in traffic, more jobs for Filipinos, and the government’s better response to natural disasters such as flooding.
Some legislators like House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman have expressed dissatisfaction with President Aquino’s performance in his first year in office.
Lagman said Aquino failed to talk about his performance relative to his 16-point social contract with the people on good governance, economy, education, health, justice and principal reforms, among others.
Aquino, he said, failed to address the deteriorating economic and social indicators such as the dismal data on poverty, hunger, joblessness, investor and consumer confidence, Lagman said.
For his part, Cortes said a concerted effort among all sectors of society is necessary to bring about change.
“Dili ni problema ni P-Noy, ato ning problema. Ang solusyon sa atong problema kitang tanan. (This is not just P-Noy’s problem, it is our problem. All of us are the solution to our problems),” he said. (EOB/RSB of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 03, 2011.