“Read my lips. I do not know whether I should thank them or whether I should ask them, dili na ba diay sila ganahan nga mag-gobernador ko sa Cebu. Actually, kay kung tinud-anay gyud tingali nga kung huna-huna nila, l am needed in the national scene modagan ko didto, salamat sa ilang faith and confidence in me. Pero, I want to say this, wala ko nagpa-cute. I have no intentions whatsoever of seeking national office. Read my lips (with emphasis). I am running for governor again because I feel I am more needed here in the Province of Cebu.”
This is the categorical statement of Gov. Gwen Garcia in response to the clamor of a multi-sectoral group that is behind the “Gwen Garcia for Senator Movement.” It is just tantamount to saying “Thanks but no thanks.” This expression is one way of refusing or turning down an invitation. It is always used to convey a rejection.
The “Gwen Garcia for Senator Movement, Ang Probinsiyana, Cebu’s Pride,” was launched last week by a multi-sectoral group composed of community organizers, leaders of legitimate and ambulant vendors from Cebu City. Prominent among them is my friend, radio commentary program host, international boxing judge and former commissioner of the Commission for the Urban Poor Edward Ligas. The other convenors are Maria Inday Pino, chairperson of the Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA); Erwin Goc-ong, chairman of the Cebu Market Vendors Multi-purpose Cooperative; Neil Papas, administrator of the municipality of San Fernando; and Marissa Rubin, a Provincial Capitol employee.
The group said there is a need for a full-bloodied Cebuano, a real Bisdak (Bisayang Dako) representative in the Senate. Although there are Bisaya-speaking senators, they come mostly from Mindanao like Koko Pimentel from Cagayan de Oro City, Migz Zubiri from Bukidnon, Bato dela Rosa and Bong Go from Davao City and Franklin Drilon from Iloilo. The group sees that among the present crop of politicians in Cebu, the most highly qualified who has a vast experience in governance and legislation is Governor Garcia.
Okay, let’s put this in proper perspective and objectivity. If Gwen decides to seek reelection, it is an easy way for her. It will be given to her on a silver platter, without exerting much effort and resources. As of this time, no politician in the local political arena can match her brand of leadership, style of governance, performance, integrity and intelligence. Vice Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III? With all due respect to the guy, no comparison. He even stepped down and settled for the vice governorship last 2019 elections when he had another term to serve as governor to avoid a political confrontation against Gwen. Quoting my favorite action star, the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., “marami pang kakainin na bigas si Davide bago makalampas kay Gwen.” Sa pagkakaron, si Gwen, “hitupngan man apan dili hilabwan.”
Besides, there are still a lot of things that Gwen needs to accomplish, which will bring Cebu to the horizon and economic boom. Cebu is in good hands under Gwen’s watch. We are still the richest province in the entire country. Well, there is no doubt, Gwen is highly qualified to be in the Senate. With her vast experience in local governance and in the House of Representative, she is more qualified compared to some incumbent senators. She is intelligent and articulate. On crafting legislation in debates and intellectual discussions, Gwen is armed with that. She may not be a lawyer, but she can tap lawyers to do legal research and ably defend her proposed legislations in the Senate floor and in any forums.
If she decides to seek a national position, it will be a tough battle for her to be in the top 12 position with so many choices and equally highly qualified and much popular candidates like showbiz personalities. Waging a national campaign is physically and financially draining. And she cannot be a sure winner even if she will affiliate herself with the present administration, which is still enjoying high trust and performance ratings. Remember by then, President Duterte will already powerless and uninfluential, in other words a political lameduck President.
Yes, of course, it is our pride if we have one true-blooded Bisdak senator. She can bring big-ticket infrastructure projects to Cebu. But not all projects because, remember, her constituency is the entire country. Other areas will get jealous if she will just concentrate her resources here. On personal benefits, she will be receiving more perks and benefits as a senator compared to being a governor. But I think for Gwen, it is not about personal and financial achievements that she is looking for. It’s the real service to the people. Her running for a senator is a big and great loss to Cebu, but a gain for the country. That’s if she will win.
My piece of unsolicited advice to the honorable governor is just to stay in the meantime, finish her term and develop Cebu to its peak. She is still young and that thing can wait. Every three years, we have elections. “Everything comes to you at the right time and it is important to understand that each and everything in life has got its own thing. You must be patient and understand that your time will come,” someone once said. In addition, Ralph Abernathy, a civil rights advocates and a Baptist minister (1926-1990) once said, “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.”
Pabilin lang una ta dinhi sa atong pinalanggang Sugbo, Madam Governor, aron maatiman nimo ang imong mga anak kay ikaw man ang nagmahal nga inahan sa lalawigan. Ato usa kining palambuon og maayo hangtod nga molipang aron atong makab-ot ug maabot ang kapunawpunawan sa kalampusan.