MANILA—Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas on Sunday said that the Daang Matuwid started by President Benigno S. Aquino III is not perfect despite its many accomplishments especially in fighting corruption but vowed that he would finish what has been started if elected to the presidency.
Roxas determinedly guaranteed this as he traded views with his fellow candidates—Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte—during the second leg of the #PiliPinas Debates 2016 at the University of the Philippines in Cebu.
The debate—which was delayed by more than an hour—tackled each candidate’s position on issues that included the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, corruption, environment, power, employment, income tax, infrastructure, public spending and the coco levy fund, among others.
Prodded by his opponents on the real acccomplishments of the much touted Daang Matuwid, Roxas admitted that this is still a work in progress—despite gaining lots of headways—and still far from a hundred percent done.
“But Daang Matuwid is a step-by-step process. President Aquino established the foundation, of cleaning the government. We will continue the fight against corruption. I will concentrate on what is the most important for our countrymen: livelihood, employment, jobs. These are the main goals of all the efforts of Daang Matuwid,” the administration bet said.
He said that many leaks have been plugged and many corruption cases have been filed but the work must have to continue, the work that he would do if elected.
“We are eradicating corruption so that we can provide better jobs and that basic services will truly reach people. We will guarantee that government funds for infrastructure will reach even the remotest barangay, through the bottoms up budgeting (BUB) plus, so that even farmers and fisherfolk will have better lives,” Roxas said.
He said through the BUB plus, which was started in 2011, rural communities are going to be truly empowered for it would be the communities themselves who would solve the problems besetting them
“Makakarating sa kanila ang pera ng gobyerno ng walang kupit, walang kaltas at walang kiclkback,” he said to his opponents and to the applause of the audience.
To achieve this, Roxas said that if elected president, he vowed to strongly push for a strong FOI law so that Filipinos would know what is happening in government.
Because the Philippines is one of the worst affected by global warming, he said he would also accelerate the transition towards clean energy.
“When elected, we would give incentives to natural gas, hydroelectric, geothermal and other clean energies so that we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” he said.
As president, Roxas said he would also overhaul the EPIRA Law which limits the actions of government in power production.
“We should authorize the government to finance and build power plants so that we can generate more power and reduce power rates. This is our clear plan, our clear strategy,” he said.
In the field of governance, Roxas said that his accomplishment speak for itself.
“In my tenure as head of various agencies, my track record is clear, effective and supportive of the people,” he said.
In fact, the former Interior and Local Government chief said that of the Php4 billion Yolanda fund which was downloaded to the DILG for rehabilitation, the Commission on Audit (COA) had attested that 93 percent of the projects have been completed.
Lastly, Roxas said that he would bring back decency in government.
“Sa Pilipinas napakahirap maging disente. Madalas, ang mga disente, sila pa ang nahuhuli. Magbabanat ka ng buto sa pagsasaka, babaratin ka ng trader, at ikaw pa ang lugi, may utang ka pa,” he noted.
“Gagawin mo nang tama ang iyong trabaho, pero ang sipsip o kamag-anak ni bossing—sila ang maganda ang schedule, sila ang mataas ang sahod. Pipila ka, sisingitan ka naman. Magbabayad ka ng kuryente, kakabitan ng jumper ang linya mo,” he lamented.
This kind of system was revamped through Daang Matuwid but more needs to be done, Roxas said.
“We all know that a lot still needs to be done. We need to enrol millions more into the 4Ps program, the Philhealth. We need to build more bridges, roads, schools and classrooms. Pero alam n’yo, umaaligid na naman itong mga nanja-jumper, itong mga sumisingit dahil nais nilang hijack-in ang ating magandang nasimulan na,” he said.
“We need to fight for Daang Matuwid. Kung may kulang, punuin natin. Kung may mali, itama natin. Para dito sa ating bansa tuluyang makapamuhay tayo kung saan nagtatagumpay ang disente. Iniimbitahan ko po kayo. Ibalik natin ang Pilipinas sa mga disenteng tao,” Roxas said.