Nito Durano joins Liberal PartyBy Dale G. Israel
Cebu Daily News
Not every local official has President Benigno Aquino III around to sing him “Happy Birthday” and welcome him to the folds of the administration party.
President Aquino yesterday said he was grateful to have the Cebu-based Bakud party as a partner to “accelerate” progress in the province.
The President witnessed the oath-taking of Bakud’s chairman emeritus Ramon “Nito” Durano as a a member of the Liberal Party during his 64th birthday held at the family residence overlooking the sea in Danao City.
With several Cabinet members beside him, all LP stalwarts, Aquino said being an ally has its advantages and would translate to a better chance of a future where “all Cebuano children would be vaccinated, able to go to school, and have a home with electricity.”
Nito Durano, in a speech, said the alliance of Bakud with the administration Liberal Party was a “historic” event.
He promised “fidelity and hard work” and to campaign in the 5th district for the victory of LP’s gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III and his running mate Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale of Bakud.
“A resounding victor for our Davide-Magpale tandem for governor and vice goernor is already assured here in the 5th district of Cebu. That we promise our partners in the Liberal Party,” said Durano. Durano’s oath was administered by Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, who is LP president.
A covenant between Bakud and LP was later signed on a table brought on stage. Roxas and Durano’s son, 5th district Rep. Red Durano signed the document.
The President arrived about 11 a.m. aboard a helicopter that landed in a grassy flat in front of the Durano compound in RD Hill, barangay Guinsay near the beach.
Town mayors and members of the Provincial Board were among the guests gathered in tents by the pool and garden.
Aquino went up on stage to join Reps. Tommy Osmeña (Cebu City), Luigi Quisumbing (6th district), Red Durano (5th district), Vice Governor Magpale and other Durano family members. Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes was also at the gathering.
In his eight-minute speech, President Aquino didn’t mention the Cebu gubernatorial race in 2013.
But Aquino did talk about the benefits of joining the LP and having partymates to help roll out projects.
Durano told Cebu Daily News later that he had asked the President to help fund the dredging of roll-on-roll-off ports in Danao City and Camotes group of islands to make it easier for boats to dock.
President Aquino welcomed Bakud as a partner to bring about wider reforms in his administration’s “matuwid na daan” program.
“Kaya tayo ay mapalad na makahanap tayo ng ating mga kasamahan sa Bakud sa pangunguna ng atin pong kagalang-galang na vice mayor Nito Durano, ng mga kasanggang talaga naman po’ng mag accelerate ng mga patutunguhan ng lalawigan ng Cebu at doon po’y taos puso kaming nagpapasalamat,” he said.
The President introduced LP companions on stage who he said were “not ordinary members” – Sen. Frank Drilon, head of the Senate finance committee; Rep. Joseph Abaya, who heads the House finance committee; Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.
Following protocol, the President does not discuss details of local politics in public.
When he greeted the crowd in Cebuano “Maayong Odto” (Good noon), he quipped that he would say more later when he returns to campaign: “Dadagdagan ko pa yan pagdating ng araw pag tayo ay nanliligaw na dito sa Cebu.”
After his speech, the President lingered awhile in the tent then was led back into the house for a private meeting with Durano and Davide.
Soon after, he and his entourage left the party. An aide said they were flying back to Manila.
The visit was over within an hour.
The President left Danao without eating lunch or tasting the birthday buffet that served Cebu lechon.