Aquino: ‘Give me more Senate allies’-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
TALISAY CITY -- A pitch for both Senate and local candidates. A list of projects ongoing or completed in Cebu. A thinly veiled attack on the opposition and its local allies.
All of that went into the speech that President Benigno Aquino III made last night in the Tabunok Sports Complex, for the Liberal Party’s (LP) first official campaign activity in Cebu.
“Wala daw silbi ang bawat hakbang natin, wala daw pupuntahan ang tuwid na daan,” the President said.
He asked Cebuano voters to give him more allies in the Senate who will not stand in the way of the administration’s programs.
“Imbis na tumulong sa pagsagwan baka sila naman ay magsilbing angkla para hindi tayo maka-usad (Instead of helping us row, some candidates might be like anchors who will keep us from moving forward),” President Aquino said.
The LP will hold another rally tonight in Liloan town in the fifth congressional district.
Last night’s rally also gave the President a chance to endorse local candidates nearly six weeks ahead of the official campaign for local positions.
“Isa po sa makakabalikat natin sa tuwid na daan walang iba po kundi si Junjun Davide.
Hindi siya magpapaanod sa tukso ng kayamanan at kapangyarihan at hindi magkukulong sa Capitolyo para takasan ang pananagutan (One of those who will help us on the correct path is Junjun Davide. He will not be swept away by the temptations of wealth and power, and he will not lock himself up in the Capitol to evade accountability),” he said.
He did not name names, but that was apparently a dig at suspended Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who is supporting the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). At the UNA proclamation rally in Cebu last week, opposition leaders described Garcia’s ordeal as a denial of due process and added that the governor was “a victim of bad politics.”
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who was designated acting governor since Dec. 19, 2012, was also endorsed by the President.
“Hindi siya kapit tuko sa kapangyarihan, at kitang kita naman pong inuuna niya ang gawa at hindi ang drama (She does not cling to power at all cost, and it’s clear that she puts service above drama),” President Aquino said of Magpale, who is running for vice governor this year.
The sudden change of venue caused traffic problems in the city, particularly on the Natalio Bacalso highway, while last night’s rally proceeded.
Organizers decided to move the activity from Barangay Lawaan II to the Tabunok Sports Complex because of the rain that fell the whole day.
Barangay Tabunok Captain Manuel Cabriana said the Tabunok Sports Complex can accommodate around 4,000 people. It was packed for last night’s rally.
Talisay City Councilor Romeo Villarante, one of those who organized the rally, said 2,000 to 3,000 people attended.
President Aquino arrived at 6:50 p.m. Senatorial candidates took turns pitching what they intended to do if elected.
Like most rallies, last night’s event also featured entertainment. Councilor Val Ylanan’s son Val Joseph, a Sangguniang Kabataan president, sang. Dos Compañeros entertained the crowd with their comical songs and impersonations of famous performers.
But while LP organizers in Cebu Province proclaimed the rally a success, outside the complex, another story unfolded.
On the N. Bacalso Highway, motorists complained about the traffic caused by the rally
in Barangay Tabunok.
Traffic in the area began to slow down around 5 p.m., said Engr. Almond Dela Peña of the City of Talisay Traffic Operation and Development Authority (CT-TODA).
Dela Peña said the traffic began when the CT-TODA closed the Cebu City-bound lane, in order to make way for the presidential convoy.
The authorities also closed one of two Mananga bridges and turned it into a parking space for those who attended the rally.
Dela Peña attributed the traffic situation to the decision to transfer the rally.
Members of Team PNoy began arriving in Tabunok at 6 last night.
Out of 12 of its senatorial candidates, six were present: former senator Jamby Madrigal, presidential cousin Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares, former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquiel, former senator Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay Jr. and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Some sent representatives. Sen. Loren Legarda sent her son, Lean; Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara was represented by his wife, Tootsie; Former Las Piñas congresswoman Cynthia Villar sent her son and current congressman Mark; while Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV sent Magdalo party-list member and former Cebu City congressional candidate Ashley Acedillo.
Sens. Alan Peter Cayetano and Francis Escudero were not present.
Gubernatorial candidate Davide told the Team PNoy candidates that the LP in Cebu will work hard to deliver the votes.
“Kayo ay personal na pinili ng Presidente upang makasama nya sa patuloy na pagtataguyod ng (The President has personally chosen you to help him in pushing for) good governance and a culture of transparency and accountability in the government.”
Part of the President’s speech was devoted to his administration’s work, both on a local and national scale.
He cited the completion of the Cebu North Hagnaya Wharf road from Cebu City to San Remigio town, used by 21,000 travelers daily.
He also mentioned the scheduled completion of the Ouano Ave. rehabilitation work in Mandaue City this July.
President Aquino also announced the widening and improvement of the Mactan Circumferential Road that leads to the resorts, which will start this year, and the upgrading of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport before his term ends.
“Ibig sabihin po no’n mas mataas na kapasidad na airport (This will increase the capacity of the airport),” said Aquino.
As for the administration’s work nationwide, the President reported an increase in the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, from 800,000 families when he inherited the project to 3.1 million as of December 2012.
This year, he said, his target is to make it 3.8 million. In Cebu, there are already 97,000 family-beneficiaries as of December 2012.
He said the sitio electrification program has provided power to 6,898 sitios from October 2011 to November 2012. For that, he added, the administration spent P3.948 million or half of the estimate made by the previous administration.
Aquino said also cited the Department of Public Works and Highways’ savings of P12 billion during his administration so far.
Magpale, in her speech, urged the people to help the President.
“He needs people to sustain the gains that have been made, kaya piliin natin ang mga taong tutulong sa kanya (so let us choose those who will support him),” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2013.