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Mar deplores ‘vicious’ campaign

/ 12:00 AM April 25, 2016

As his closing remarks for the last presidential debate on Sunday, administration candidate Mar Roxas reflected on how the “vicious” campaign caused a divide among Filipinos.

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This was after several sectors of the society—women’s groups, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, persons with disabilities and senior citizens—were offended throughout the course of the campaign—a statement seen as a swipe against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte recently came under fire for making “offensive” remarks about an Australian rape victim, about his friend who had a physical disability and a senior citizen in his campaign sorties. Some members of the LGBT community took offense to Duterte’s insults against Roxas, whom he called “bayot (gay)” when he meant Roxas was a weakling.

The standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party said this does not mirror the character of Filipinos, who are naturally generous, warm and loving.

“Patapos na ang kampanya. Panghuling debate na ito. The campaign is winding down. It has been vicious and divisive. Maraming mga nasaktan, kababaihan, LGBT, person with disabilities, senior citizens, madalas ang mga pinakawalang kalaban-laban. But this is not who we are as a people. We are a generous people. We are warm. We are loving. Mapagbigay tayo. Ang magulang, isusubo na lang, ibibigay pa sa anak. We do it so much less because we want our children to have more and they deserve more. Every Filipino deserves more, and that is what is at the root of our frustration,” he said.

He also slammed election candidates who are taking advantage of the frustration of the electorate to deceive them and make them forget what the Philippines has achieved in the last six years.

“Ang iba gagamitin ang ating frustration para lokohin tayo, para makalimutan natin na malayo ang narating natin, para makalimutan natin kung sino tayo bilang Pilipino, para makalimutan natin na ang tunay at makabuluhang pagbabago [ay] hindi nakakamit sa paninisi, sa pang-iinsulto o sa pang-soundbite lamang,” he said.

But Roxas said, the elections have exposed who were merely talkers against those who lays down plans accompanied by concrete actions.

“Nangyayari ito dahil tinatrabaho, and this is what the elections have come down to—the talkers versus the doers. Those that bring out the worst in us versus those that bring out the best in us; those ‘yung mga susunugin lahat ng pinaghirapan natin, kontra doon sa mga magdidilig at magbabantay sa mga itinanim natin,” he said.

The former Interior secretary encouraged the people that they “must stay the course” because the economy had improved under the Aquino administration, saying that it had built more classrooms and hired more teachers in the last five years than all the previous five administrations combined.

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“We must stay the course because malago ang ating ekonomiya. This is what has turned us from the Sick man of Asia to Asia’s Bright Star. Marami ang nabigyan ng trabaho. Our unemployment is at its lowest level in 10 years. Ang classrooms, we have built more classrooms and hired more teachers in the last five years than all the previous five administrations combined. May naiahon tayo. Mahigit dalawang milyon ng ating mga kababayan mula sa kahirapan, wala na sila sa kategorya na mahihirap. Lumago ang ating kapaligiran at marami pang iba, but you know what? Pundasyon pa lang ito. The best is yet to come,” he said.

And what he could offer, said Roxas, is “another six years of honest, decent, hardworking governance.”

A staple in his stump speeches, Roxas again said he wants a prosperous and decent nation with people who are free from fear and hunger and who have the freedom to dream.

“Mararating na natin ang ating pinapangarap—isang Pilipinas na maunlad at disente, puno ng pagkakataon, malaya sa takot, at malayang mangarap. Ito ang maunlad at disenteng Pilipinas, may dangal, may takot sa Diyos, maipagmamalaki mo. Ito ang Pilipinas na ipinaglalaban natin. Dakila ang ating lahi. Dakila ang ating bansa. This is a fight worth fighting. This is a fight for our country,” he said.

He then called on his supporters, who called themselves the “silent majority,” to rally to their cause, and convince their friends, relatives, colleagues at work to join Roxas in his fight for decency and honesty.

“Nanawagan ako sa lahat sa inyo, rally to our cause! Katukin natin. Kausapin natin. Kumbinsihin natin ang ating mga kamag-anak, ang ating kakilala, mga kaibigan, mga katrabaho. Dalhin natin sa kanila ang magandang balita na kinalalagyan na natin ngayon. Huwag kayong matatakot. Let our voice be heard. This is the good fight. This is a fight for decency, for honesty, for our future,” he said.

“Sa ika-siyam ng Mayo, patunayan natin sa buong Pilipinas at sa buong mundo, mas marami pa rin tayong mga disenteng Pilipino. Mas marami pa rin tayong mga mabubuting Pilipino. Mas marami pa tayong mga matutuwid na Pilipino. Samahan n’yo po ako, ipanalo na natin ang laban na ito!”

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