Aquino says Pampanga is his problemPhilippine Daily Inquirer
SAN FERNANDO CITY —President Aquino on Friday said many of Pampanga’s elected leaders do not tread the straight and narrow path he espouses and are still aligned with his predecessor, former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Mr. Aquino drove home this point at the end of his 45-minute speech during Team PNoy’s Pampanga sortie here, which organizers had dubbed a “meeting with local leaders and community.”
Local officials, who are members of Kambilan, the local party founded by Gov. Lilia Pineda in November last year, did not attend any of Team PNoy’s sorties or the meeting at San Fernando’s Heroes Hall.
“We were not invited,” said Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, who is also president of the Pampanga Mayors’ League.
Asked to react, Pineda said she respected the President’s view.
Speaking in Kapampangan, Mr. Aquino said: “From martial rule until now, you did not abandon my family. Now that I am in power, I still have a problem. There are leaders in Pampanga who have not joined the straight path. Our leaders now in Pampanga are only after their personal interests.”
The Aquinos hail from Concepcion town, which was severed from Pampanga because of a large flood and is now part of Tarlac. Concepcion residents speak Kapampangan.
Addressing local Liberal Party (LP) leaders and supporters, Mr. Aquino urged provincial leaders to lead Pampanga to “the right path so the poor in the province would be lifted from poverty.”
He said his presidency would help change the way things were conducted in the province “if Kapampangan work with good leaders.”
Citing the almost 400,000 votes he obtained from the province in the May 2010 elections, he said he was certain that Kapampangan would not be “chained” to the influence of a prominent family he did not name. It was an indirect reference to the Arroyos.
While most of the elected officials did not join the LP, he said the national government gave proper attention to Pampanga in the last two years and nine months.
According to him, 1,250 classrooms have been built or are being built, half of 77 sitios have been provided with electricity, 11 kilometers of the Lubao-Hermosa segment of Jose Abad Santos Avenue have been repaired, the Lazatin flyover and seven farm-to-market roads have been completed, and P502 million worth of irrigation canals have been rehabilitated.
Pampanga, Mr. Aquino said, has been included in the P5-billion flood management master plan that included the repair of a tail dike and widening of creeks.
“We did these in two years and nine months. They were in power for almost a decade yet they did not solve flooding. It looks like they’re good at speaking only in Kapampangan but did not have the people’s safety in mind,” he said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon