Governor Ryan Singson keeps Binay company in Ilocos Sur sortie
VIGAN, Ilocos Sur – Governor Ryan Singson on Wednesday accompanied the motorcade of Vice President Jejomar Binay even though the former remains undecided who to support in the May 9 presidential elections.
In an interview, Singson said he has yet to meet with members and officers of his party Nacionalista and local party Bileg on who to support in the coming polls. Singson is the son of former Ilocos Sur governor and the province’s political kingpin Chavit Singson,
Singson said he respects the decision of his uncle, Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson (Chavit’s cousin), to support the Liberal Party tandem of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.
But so far, he is assured with Binay’s campaign promise to help Ilocos Sur, particularly his vow to strictly comply with the laws surrounding the distribution of excise taxes to farmers in the tobacco-producing province.
“So far po, nakakagaan ng loob yung sinasabi ni VP Binay. May pag-asa ang probinsya ng Ilocos Sur pero yun ang pagmimeetingan namin, ipaparating sa mga mayors kung ano ang plano ni VP Binay,” Singson said.
He said he would announce his decision before the local campaign period starts.
Despite not announcing his support for the vice president, Governor Singson accompanied Binay during the vice president’s campaign rally in Vigan Tuesday night and during the motorcade around Ilocos Sur Wednesday morning.
Singson’s cousin Vigan mayor Eva Marie Medina (daughter of Chavit’s brother Evaristo) and Caoayan mayor Germelita Singson Golart (Chavit’s sister) accompanied the vice president during his campaign rally Tuesday.
Governor Singson even accompanied Binay when the latter went to pray at the El Santo Cristo Milagroso in Sinait Wednesday noon.
After the motorcade on Wednesday, Binay had a boodle fight at the Vigan city hall with Governor Singson and Mayor Medina.
In an interview Tuesday night after the campaign rally, Singson vowed to welcome all the presidential candidates who wanted to visit the province, known for its heritage houses dating back to the Spanish era.
Among the presidential candidates, Sen. Grace Poe was welcomed by Governor Singson during her visit in Ilocos Sur on February.
“Alam nating lahat na ang solid north ay malaking factor pagdating ng eleksyon. Lahat naman po ay kaibigan kaya open ang Ilocos Sur sa lahat ng kandidato para malaman lahat ng plataporma nila, kung ano ang pinakamagandang plataporma, kung sino ang makakatulong sa Ilocos Sur, yun ang magiging presidente namin,” Singson said.
(What we know is that the solid north is a big factor when it comes to elections. All are our friends that’s why Ilocos Sur is open to all candidates to know their platforms, what are the better platforms, who could help Ilocos Sur, that’s the one who will be our president.)
Singson said the province would support the candidate willing to strictly comply with the sin tax law imposing excise taxes on tobacco products as well as the Republic Act 7171.
Singson was referring to the law his father Chavit authored when he was a congressman under the Cory Aquino administration promoting the development of tobacco farmers in the Virginia tobacco-producing provinces such as Ilocos Sur.
The said law imposes a 15 percent tax on locally produced Virginia tobacco, the proceeds of which would be used to finance cooperative projects, livelihood projects, agro-industrial projects and farm-to-market roads.
Meanwhile, under the sin tax law, a portion of the revenue from higher excise tax on tobacco should be allotted to programs for farmers.
“Yung kandidatong makakatulong dito sa probinsiya. Yung hindi iipitin ang RA 7171 kasi yan ang pondo na kailangan namin na ibalik sa tabako farmers, sa tabako growers at ang pondong yan po ay kakaisang batas na ginawa ng aking ama noong 1990s para lang maibalik at mapabilis ang progreso ng aming probinsiya,” Singson said.
(The candidate who will help the province, the one who will not hinder RA 7171 because that is the fund needed to return to tobacco farmers, tobacco growers. That fund is from the only my father crafted in the 1990s to speed up the processes [of returning the fund] in our province.)
The Singsons have long dominated Ilocos Sur as a political dynasty dating far back in the 1800s when Don Leon Singson was gobernadorcillo.
Chavit Singson gained prominence in the impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada when he testified that Estrada received payoffs from jueteng operators when the latter was president.
Estrada would later be deposed from office, and convicted by the Sandiganbayan for plunder for jueteng kickbacks. Estrada was pardoned by former Pres. Gloria Arroyo. TVJ
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