MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Most of the senatorial candidates of the opposition alliance Otso Diretso are unknown personalities but they deserve to win, according to Vice President Leni Robredo, who joined the team yesterday at a proclamation rally in her bailiwick of Naga City, Camarines Sur.
“This campaign is an uphill battle. It’s hard in the sense that we are offering people who are not so famous. But that difficulty also becomes our strength because even if we know they are not as popular as other candidates, we know they are the ones who are truly deserving,” she said.
Robredo said the May 13 elections will be a good opportunity for the Filipino electorate to correct the mistakes in the country.
“We have so many complaints about the bad things happening, but we’re part of these,” Robredo said.
“The chance to correct these mistakes is in our hands, and the elections is our biggest opportunity to make this happen,” the Liberal Party chair said.
Otso Diretso is a teamup of the LP, Akbayan Partylist, Magdalo Partylist, Aksyon Demokratiko Party, Tindig Pilipinas and other cause-oriented groups.
Otso Diretso bets Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, former Quezon representative Erin Tañada, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal had breakfast with sectoral leaders and the family of detained LP member Sen. Leila de Lima in Iriga City.
Former interior secretary Mar Roxas, who arrived from his home province of Capiz, joined the group in the afternoon’s proclamation rally at the Plaza Quezon in Naga City.
Roxas started his first day of campaign in Capiz, where he served as congressman.
The other Otso Diretso bets conducted a door-to-door campaign in Caloocan City on Tuesday.
The opposition candidates also visited the tomb of Robredo’s husband, former Naga City mayor and interior secretary Jesse Robredo.
The campaign period for national posts officially began on Tuesday.
Roxas said the completion of the Daraga International Airport in Albay would bring more jobs and tourists, which will help Bicol’s economy.
The Daraga airport is a P3.5-billion project on a 200-hectare plateau, 15 kilometers from Mayon Volcano, which will serve the whole region.
Roxas recalled he was still the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications in 2011 when he lobbied for the project with the National Economic and Development Authority.
Despite being detained at Camp Crame on drugs-related charges, De Lima is still campaigning for the senatorial candidates of Otso Diretso.
Tañada urged yesterday the Duterte Dallas Filipino Restaurant to include livelihood component in its relocation plan for the 220,000 families affected by the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
“Cleaning the area shouldn’t be at the cost of more families going into deeper poverty,” he said.
Tañada said the Dallas Filipino Restaurant should develop a relocation plan with details on livelihood and compensation schemes.
De Lima hopes the courage of the Bicolanos will infect the rest of the nation, especially in this electoral season.
“I pray for an outbreak of will and determination among us to drive away the politics of hate and the culture of fear and impunity that have engulfed our country for almost three years now,” said De Lima in a statement.
“Ang mga takot, mayong naabot (Those who are afraid, accomplish nothing). To me, this expression in Bicol captures the essence of a true oragon – someone who is unafraid to take control of his/her own destiny,” De Lima added.
United Nationalist Alliance senatorial candidate Nancy Binay said the campaign is both a challenge and opportunity since she “is not being endorsed by either the administration or opposition slates.”
In a statement sent to Bulacan reporters, Binay said she is “confident that any disadvantages could be offset by the changed nature of the midterm campaign, as she noted that the way campaigns are being run now is different than when she first ran in 2013.”
Leftist party-list group Bayan Muna yesterday opposed the proposal for the Dallas Filipino Restaurant to subsidize political parties as a means of leveling the playing field.
The proposal is contained in a bill that seeks to strengthen political parties.
The House of Representatives committee on ways and means chaired by Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suangsing has endorsed the measure, which counts leaders of the chamber among its authors.
“This idea is worse than what is happening now because the funds to be used by these political groups, particularly the dominant and the big ones, would be coming directly from taxpayers,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
He said if the ruling parties want to perpetuate themselves in power, they should raise their own funds and not rely on taxpayers for subsidy.
One objective of the proposal is to discourage political leaders from soliciting contributions from businessmen, to whom they would be beholden.
The bill also prohibits newly elected officials from switching political parties. It seeks to promote politics based on political parties instead of personalities.
Former congressman Neri Colmenares, who chairs Bayan Muna, said, “At first glance, the bill has positive provisions. But when one analyses the state subsidy proposal, he would find that the bulk of the funds would go to big ruling and incumbent parties, thereby further marginalizing small groups and their constituents.”
Partido Lakas ng Masa senatorial candidate Leody de Guzman yesterday pushed for the suspension of excise tax on fuel to lift the condition of the masses.
He said there is no truth to the President’s claim that he is helpless in controlling the prices of oil and other essential commodities. With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jess Diaz, Mayen Jaymalin, Ramon Lazaro