Aquino stumps for Mar Roxas
TANGUB, Misamis Occidental—It almost felt like going on the stump without the main man.
President Aquino on Wednesday made a day-long visit to Misamis Occidental and Davao province to inspect infrastructure projects, and took the opportunity to remind people that it is in their hands whether these programs would continue beyond his term in 2016.
“You will continue this and I, just like before, rely on our bosses. We will carry on with the straight path,” he said in his speech before an audience of about a thousand at the Sinanduloy Cultural Center here.
Getting things done
Aquino said his administration gets things done because of good governance and a comprehensive, well-thought-out strategy for the benefit of the majority.
But he acknowledged that there were still many things to be accomplished, and it was really up to the people if the good things would continue.
Here he made a subtle pitch for his chosen successor by saying that it was up to the people to choose someone who will continue his “straight path” reform program.
But the Liberal Party presidential standard bearer, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, was not even with Aquino on this trip.
Joining the President on the trip were Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, the LP secretary general, and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.
On stage with him were Gov. Herminia Ramiro, Representatives Henry Oaminal and Jorge Almonte, and Tangub Mayor Philip Tan.
Of the local leaders, Almonte is with the LP while Ramiro and Tan are with the administration coalition partner, the National Unity Party. Oaminal is with the Nacionalista Party.
Warning to voters
The President warned his audience that all the politicians planning to run in the 2016 elections would be going to them to ask for their votes.
“There are people who can be trusted, there are those who will leave you up in the air,” he said.
There are those who will promise to continue the good projects like the conditional cash transfer program while there will be those who would have the government poverty alleviation program investigated once they are in power, Mr. Aquino said.
“I don’t know if there would be any who will be angry that the infrastructure you need here have arrived and will continue to arrive,” he said in Filipino.
Seven Misamis Occidental cities were given P7.32 billion worth of infrastructure projects that have either been completed or are in the process of construction.
These include road upgrading and widening, and the construction of schoolbuildings, farm-to-market roads and roads leading to tourist destinations.
In his speech, the President announced the approval by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) board of the construction of the Panguil Bay Bridge.
According to Singson, the 3.6-kilometer bridge that will connect Misamis Oriental to the Zamboanga Peninsula and traverse Lanao del Norte and Misamis Occidental, will have an “iconic design.”
Singson said the P5-billion funding for the bridge would come from the official development assistance of the Korean Development Cooperation Fund.
Aquino said that with the completion of the project, a trip that takes two and a half hours would be reduced to seven minutes.
“With this project, the cities of Ozamiz, Tangub, Oroquieta, and (city) centers like Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula would be connected,” he said.
He added that if the ports in Plaridel, Jimenez and Oroquieta, as well as the modernization of the airport and seaport in Ozamiz are completed, the flow of commerce, transportation and tourism in the entire Misamis Occidental and the rest of the region would improve.
“Of course, the end result would be the advancement not only of business and services in your province but your condition and livelihood as well,” the President said.
The President spent less than two hours in Misamis Occidental before flying to Davao for an inspection of the ongoing 4.7 kilometer Camudmud section and an inaugural drive-through the 6.3 kilometer Babak-Camudmud section of the Island Garden City of Samal circumferential road in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.
Aquino was also set to inspect a greening program called “Treevolution” participated in by students of the Teodoro Palma Gil Elementary School.
He was also scheduled to join a “Gathering of Friends,” an assembly of majority coalition members mobilized for Roxas’ candidacy, scheduled for the afternoon at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
The President flies to Cebu City Thursday to speak before the Apec finance ministers’ meeting.—Nikko Dizon