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Roxas kicks off campaign, vowing to fight hunger, fear

Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas speaks at the launching of his campaign for the presidency in Roxas City in Capiz province on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Roxas staff/Released

ROXAS CITY, Philippines — Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Tuesday kicked off his campaign here in his hometown with the usual promises of ending hunger, creating jobs and expanding government services.

Speaking to about 10,000 people, most of them wearing yellow shirts and sweating in a humid gymnasium, Roxas said his platform would be about three freedoms – freedom from hunger, freedom from fear and freedom to dream.

“How can we continue the straight path? It’s simple. Our programs will focus on the success of every Filipino family,” Roxas said.

“We will make sure that every family is free from hunger, free from fear and free to dream. These are the things we will fight for and I know I can do it and we can do it,” he added.

While such promises have already been made in previous campaigns, Roxas’ statement drew cheers from his home crowd, many of whom were carrying placards expressing support for the administration candidates.

Roxas said the freedom from hunger would require the creation of jobs in the manufacturing sector and luring investors. He also vowed to promote the business process outsourcing and information technology industry, which has created more than million jobs.

“We will also grow the tourism sector, one of the fastest way to create jobs and we will ensure that development will spread in all parts of the country,” Roxas said.

The LP standard-bearer also vowed to start a “Bukid (farm) Revolution” which would provide credit access to farmers and fishermen, create infrastructure that would allow them to sell their goods and add post-harvest facilities.

Roxas said freedom from fear would involve the provision of cheap and decent housing for the homeless, expansion of health care services, safety from disasters and crime, and a police force and justice system that would punish crooks.

Roxas said his administration would also provide Filipinos the freedom to dream for those who want to escape from poverty.

“This will bring hope for those who want their children to finish their studies. We will defend the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) and expand its coverage so that more families will see their children on stage to receive their diplomas,” he said.

The 4Ps provides cash incentives to families who send their children to school and avail of state health services.

Roxas only provided general statements about his platform during his speech.  Administration allies, however, said the LP presidential candidate would discuss the specifics during the campaign period.

Roxas’s speech lasted for about 20 minutes. Yellow confetti rained while Roxas, vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo and their senatorial candidates pose for photo opportunities.

The crowd was enthusiastic while Roxas, Robredo and the senatorial candidates were delivering their speeches. However, people were seen leaving the gymnasium while the candidates were posing for photos on stage.

Just like any Philippine campaign sortie, the LP kickoff rally was not without entertainment numbers, a sure way to sustain the interest of the audience. Among those who performed during yesterday’s campaign launch were Philippine rock icon Jet Pangan, acoustic singer Noel Cabangon and singing contest winners Frenchie Dy and Jonalyn Viray.

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