WHY should Cebuanos vote for you?

This will be one of the questions posed to the six presidential aspirants who will convene in a forum in Cebu next week.

“We want to hear from them that Cebu and the Visayas will be getting their share of budget and infrastructure projects.

The number of Cebu’s infrastructure projects has been negligible compared to (that of) other (provinces).

We want to know what the aspirants can contribute to Cebu,” said Cebu Business Club (CBC) president Dondi Joseph in a press conference yesterday.

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He said that while the business community is grateful for the support extended by the current administration, no administration has fully supported Cebu to the best of its ability.

Part of nation

“We want to get from the next administration 110 percent support for Cebu. Cebu is not an island but part of a nation. If it will not be supported, Cebu cannot rise to its full potential,” Joseph said.

CBC has jointly organized with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) the presidential forum, “Choices and Voices for 2010: An Encounter with the Presidentiables,” to be held on Jan. 22.

Aspirants

The six presidential aspirants to attend the forum are Sens. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Manuel “Manny” Villar, and Richard “Dick” Gordon; former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada, former defense secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. and evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

The event, which will be held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, aims to provide Cebuanos with a chance to hear the positions of the presidential candidates on issues related to the economy, education, social services, governance and environment.

The forum will also serve as a venue for the three chamber organizers to raise concerns in governance, economic stability and foreign direct investments.

Joseph said he wanted to know how the aspirants would improve the basic fundamentals needed for the Philippines to continually attract foreign direct investors.

He cited infrastructure—such as roads, power and water—as among these basic fundamentals.

CCCI president Samuel Chioson agreed, saying the businessmen want to know the candidates’ platforms on improving the country’s business and investment climate.

On the other hand, MCCI president Eric Mendoza said the Mandaue chamber will be inquiring about the aspirants’ position on economic sustainability and environmental protection.

Vietnam’s GDP target

He and Joseph pointed out that the Philippines is expecting around one percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) compared to other nations like Vietnam, which targeted a GDP growth of more than six percent.

While the three business chambers are apolitical, they want to set a standard for voters to consider aspirants who are good leaders and possess integrity.

“But we know that’s a tough call. So the more we talk to them, the more we will be able to understand,” Joseph said.

The three chambers are expecting around 1,000 representatives from the business sector, academe, youth, media and the labor sector to attend to forum.

They also invited representatives of Smartmatic International Corp.-Total Information Management Corp. to demonstrate the automated election process.