By Hilda Austria
OUR vote-rich province Pangasinan has been a favorite place to visit by politicians vying for national elective positions for 2016 election.
The most recent visitor was Senator Grace Poe, who admitted it was a plain visit to
Dagupan City and San Carlos City, hometown of his late father Fernando Poe Jr., unlike the other rumored presidential and vice presidential candidates who launched their “advocacies” here.
For instance, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte held a Federalism Symposium while former Senator Panfilo Lacson brought his “equal distribution of budget” advocacy in Lingayen. Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas met with people’s organization and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano distributed funds under his project “Presyo-Trabaho-Kita/Kapayapaan (PTK) to drivers and women’s groups.
Although one cannot judge the intentions and the purity of heart of these politicians, meeting them face to face somehow gives me an idea of their personalities, this I would like to share with you.
Duterte known for his fearless remarks and actuations, believed to have made Davao a progressive city and one of the most peaceful cities not just in the Philippines but in the world, seemed to lack the courage to state what is obvious. One of his companions or advisers confirmed his intentions to run for higher elective position but Duterte kept on denying which made us even more puzzled instead of being enlightened.
Lacson’s advocacy for the equal distribution of the budget is notable. He remains critical of corruption and knows exactly what reforms he can do to benefit local governments. But for me he lacks warmth and he is intimidating.
Roxas had not been my favorite since he gave way to President Pnoy in the last presidential elections. It was practical on his part but showed where his loyalty rests. I was also disappointed when he did not give concrete plan on how to address the concerns aired by the senior citizens during a forum with the people’s organization in Dagupan City. However, I admire him for not giving false assurances or promises to solutions. It was still honesty unlike other politicians who kept on making promises of impossible solutions.
Cayetano’s “PTK” is remarkable and practical. His visits in the province helping marginalized sectors in the community have been very helpful. He also gave us an idea on how he plans to address the poverty, starting from the small groups in the community.
In contrast to the belief of potential presidential and vice presidential candidates who say they are visiting places in the country, meeting with the people to sense whether they would pursue higher elective position or not, basing their decision on the people’s clamor, Poe believes the decision to run for higher office should come from her.
She said the public’s clamor would not be the only basis for her to run but also her preparedness to accept the responsibilities of being the highest leader of the land noting the challenging role she would play.
I admired her for thinking of preparing a framework or platforms for the national security, poverty alleviations programs, globalization and ease of doing business in the country before even deciding to run or not. I just hope she is telling the truth.
However, these remain superficial to be the basis of who to vote for in the upcoming election. We should be wise voters and use every means to know more about the candidates. Data on their track records are available in social media.
Let us all hope and pray that the next leaders of our country will have the true fear of God above all, integrity, purity of heart and wisdom. God bless the Philippines.