TWO opposition parties led by the Binays of Makati and the Garcias of Cebu formally coalesced yesterday, with Vice President Jejomar Binay promising more infrastructure projects for Cebu, if he wins.

Binay also promised to establish a satellite office for Malacañang in Cebu, as well as pull the province out of the “limbo” where the present administration has kept it, in terms of infrastructure support.

He delivered a speech and introduced the United Nationalist Alliance’s (UNA) candidates for the Senate during an assembly in the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

Lawyer Winston Garcia, One Cebu’s candidate for governor, called on voters to elect those “who are proven to have delivered on their promises and not those who are only good in making promises.”

“We need real change, game-changers,” the former Government Service Insurance System president said.


Garcia also said that while his family supported different presidential candidates in previous elections, this time around, they have decided to support Binay. He recalled informing his mother, retired Judge Esperanza Garcia, about that decision while she was in the hospital last Feb. 1.

“That was the last happy thought that my mother had before she died,” Winston said.

In its latest survey on voter preferences for the presidency, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said that from Feb. 5 to 7, 29 percent of their respondents said they would vote for Binay.

Independent candidate Grace Poe and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the PDP-Laban were tied, with 24 percent of respondents favoring them. Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas was fourth, with 18 percent, while Sen. Miriam Santiago of the People’s Reform Party was fifth, with four percent.

In the same survey, only Rep. Manny Pacquiao landed in the top 12 among UNA’s Senate candidates. He didn’t make it to yesterday’s event.

‘Binay country’

Those who did join the event in Cebu were Rep. Martin Romualdez, Rey Langit, Princess Jacel Kiram, Alma Moreno Lacsamana, retired Special Action Force chief Getulio Napeñas, and lawyer Allan Montano.

Among the Garcias present were former Deputy House Speaker Pablo Garcia; former congressman Pablo John Garcia who is running for congressman in the newly-created seventh district; releectionist Rep. Gwen Garcia of the third district; and Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia, who is also seeking reelection.

Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th District) said that although he is the vice president for the Visayas of the National Unity Party (NUP), he is supporting the UNA-One Cebu coalition because he believes “that Binay and the Garcia can make Cebu number one again.” (The NUP has yet to reveal its choices for the presidency and vice presidency.)

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, in his speech, said that the coalition is another proof that Cebu “is now Binay country.” He also said the Cebu City Government and Provincial Government would have a better partnership if he and Winston both win on May 9.

Winston will face Rama’s former ally in the Cebu City Council, reelectionist Gov. Hilario Davide III of LP.

READ: Mixed alliances

At the event, Binay also announced four key priorities of his administration if he is elected as president.

4 to-do’s

First is to abolish income taxes for those earning less than P30,000 a month, during the first 100 days in office.

At present, individual taxpayers are entitled to a basic personal exemption of P50,000, plus P25,000 for every dependent who is under 21 years. Up to four dependents are allowed.

After these exemptions are factored in, those whose taxable income does not go beyond P10,000 are taxed five percent. The tax rates for six other income brackets above that start at P500 plus 10 percent of the excess over P10,000, for those making P10,000 to P30,000. The highest individual tax rate, for those making more than P500,000, is P125,000 plus 32 percent of the excess over P500,000.

A second priority is to expand the conditional cash transfers or the Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program, which the Aquino administration also expanded after the Arroyo administration.

A third priority is education. Binay said he would allocate P65 billion a year for a nationwide free education program.

Fourth on the list is free health care for the poor. “Nobody should die because of poverty. I have already done this in Makati,” Binay said.