LP bets fire opening salvo in Mar’s bailiwick

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, Philippines – President Aquino and administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II are back on the campaign trail today with continuity for daang matuwid (straight path) as the main message.

The President, Roxas and his vice presidential candidate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, along with the ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s senatorial candidates, will fire their opening salvo here in Roxas’ home province.

It was raining and windy here and except for men wearing yellow shirts as uniform for a business establishment, there was no sign of election fever at the airport. 

Roxas, who served as Aquino’s secretary for transportation and communications and then the interior and local government, gave way to Aquino to be LP’s standard-bearer after support snowballed for the son of democracy icon and former president Corazon, who passed away in 2009.

The program prepared for the kick-off rally here and in Iloilo later today has testimonials from beneficiaries of the government’s programs, particularly the conditional cash transfer, to show that daang matuwid has a track record to show voters. 

The President has been saying the coming elections will be a referendum for daang matuwid and that Roxas will surely continue the good programs his administration has started.

Roxas’ speech will be the highlight of the activities after Robredo, lawyer and widow of the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, and the President speak.

On Saturday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said the campaign season would be the best time to scrutinize and get to know the candidates better.

Before the kick-off rally, Aquino will lead the inauguration of the 6,200th kilometer of national roads paved in this province and a give briefing on major infrastructure projects in Panay Island.

In Pavia, Iloilo, Aquino will also lead the inauguration and formal turnover of a brand new three-story, 18-classroom school building donated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to Pavia National High School, the only public high school in the municipality.

Noy magic

For his allies, President Aquino’s presence in LP’s campaign kick off will achieve two things:

First, attending the rally will allow him to explain the gains of his administration and convince people to vote for those who will sustain them.

The LP also believes that Aquino, who has consistently enjoyed high satisfaction and trust ratings, will help boost the chances of its candidates especially Roxas, who is lagging behind in surveys.

LP spokesman and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said Aquino’s presence in the Capiz rally means that the President would “actively campaign” for his allies “from the first day until the last day.”

He said the campaign would not affect the performance of the President because he can always accomplish his tasks with the help of technology.  

“Wherever he goes, he can speak of accomplishments. Even in remote areas, the daang matuwid has positive contributions,” Erice told The STAR in a phone interview yesterday.  

A look at recent survey results showed that Roxas and Robredo badly need a boost. – With Alexis Romero, Paolo Romero, Romina Cabrera, Danny Dangcalan

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