â€œI am Grace Poe. A Filipino. A daughter, wife and mother. And with Godâ€™s grace, I offer myself for the countryâ€™s highest calling as your President.â€ This is how Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares ended her speech at the U.P. Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City on September 16 as she launched her campaign for President of the Philippines in the national elections in May 2016. She delivered her speech passionately in Filipino. And provided an English version in the Internet.
Her fatherâ€™s political heir. She opened her speech with this political reminder.Â â€œWhen I first asked for your help [as a senatorial candidate in 2012] I said that I wanted to continue that my father FPJ had started. His decision to seek the presidency [in 2004] was anchored on a simple principle. 11 years ago, in this very same hall, he declared that he wanted to help the poor, fight oppression, and forge a prosperous and just society.â€
She recalled that her great actor father, Fernando Poe, Jr. often told her: â€œGracia, poverty is not a destinyâ€¦.Â But to get out of poverty, oneâ€™s own hard work is often not enough. Everyone needs a helping hand. Shouldnâ€™t this be the measure of a responsive government and society â€“ how it uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind?â€
Madalas nâ€™yang sabihin sa akin: Gracia, Ang kahirapan ay hindi iginuhit sa palad dahil nasa kamay ng tao ang pag-unlad. Pero sa kanyang pag-ahon, hindi sapat ang kanyang sariling kayod, kailangang may kamay na humihila sa kanya. Di baâ€™t yan naman ang sukatan ng magandang pamahalaan at lipunan â€“ Lahat ay aangat, walang maiiwan!
So, Grace Poe promised: â€œLahat ay aangat. Walang iiwanan!â€ A responsive government and society uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind.
â€œOur country is richâ€“in natural resources, our peopleâ€™s knowledge and skill, and our heroism. Xxx How can one not be amazed by the daily triumph over struggles of our countrymen?
â€œWe should push for true reforms that will achieve inclusive growth, global competitiveness and transparent government. Any progress we achieve as a country should be progress for each one of us, without exception. Any preferential bias should be for the poor and vulnerable.
So she enumerated what she would do in (1) education; (2) agriculture; (3) infrastructure; (4) â€œTuwid na daan,â€ curb corruption, pass the Freedom of Information bill; (5) lower high taxes; (6) fair wages and benefits; (7) lower cost of electricity, and improve power generation; (8) take care of our OFWs; (9) eliminate drugs and crime; (10) peace and progress in the countryâ€”equal opportunities to the MorosÂ who inspired many of my fatherâ€™s films;Â (11) respect human rights; (12) everywhere improve health and have hospitals;Â (13) protect our West Philippine Sea;Â (14) improve traffic and save time and human energy;Â (15) have more roads and trains all over and remove colorum vehicles; (16) improve access to the internet for all; (17) give more government help to the arts, culture, and sports; (18) have a separate Emergency Management Department to face the reality of climate change; (19)Â provide sufficient infrastructure for tourism; andÂ (20) provide standard lunch program in all public schools.
â€œNo Filipino and no region should be left behind. We will rise and progress together as one nation.
â€œWhen my father ran for the presidency, he was ridiculed; his inexperience was scoffed at and his citizenship questioned. Yet he bravely faced the challenge and the opportunity to help change the lives of his fellow Filipinos for the better.
â€œHis integrity, courage and goodness have become both my guide and inspiration. My mother also gave me sound advice. She said, â€œMy child, amidst the loud noise of politics, never ever lose yourself.â€
â€œMy life is an open book. Who wouldâ€™ve thought that a foundling would ever become senator? I thank you for giving me that opportunity.
â€œDonâ€™t ever forget that Filipinos are a very able race. We are loving, creative and resourceful.
We can achieve whatever we want for this nation if we work hard, be vigilant, and make sure we have an honest person to guide us through our journey.
â€œWe should stick together, because one person cannot bring about this change. Anyone who promises he alone can do it is already lying.
â€œThe story of our future lies in all our hands. I hope you will join me in crafting a bright and meaningful future for our motherland, the Philippines.â€
Vindicating her fatherâ€™s honor and capitalizing on his reputation as â€œDa Kingâ€ of Philippine cinema. Fernando Poe, Jr. ran for president in 2004 against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Vice-President who succeeded President Joseph Estrada when he was forced out of office by â€œPeople Power Twoâ€ in 2001. Although FPJ was first leading the surveys he later lost popular support when he showed his inability to become president in the campaign, for he had not held any public office and was irritable. He finally lost to President GMA.
But Grace Poe Llamanzares topped the senatorial elections in 2013 her first election to public office as a Liberal Party candidate. She proved an amiable and capable candidate. And she provedÂ a worthy senator when she chaired the Senate investigation of the tragic encounter at Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015. And she has led the surveys of potential candidates for president in 2016. In fact, President B.S. Aquino III and Secretary Mar Roxas were anxiously courting Grace Poe to be the Liberal Party candidate for Vice-President.
Having been an American citizen, Grace Poeâ€™s citizenship qualification is being questioned. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 18, reported â€œNetizens on Poe: More jeers than cheers for now.â€ Â
Senator Francisco â€œChizâ€ Escudero is Senator Grace Poeâ€™s running mate. As well known political partners, Chiz announced their joint candidacy on September 17 at the Club Filipino. Parroting Senator Grace Poe, Senator Escudero said: â€œI am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino, a son, a husband father, and a Bicolano public servant. With the grace of God and the Blessed Mother, I humbly offer myself to the mission of serving you as your Vice-President, as the Vice-President of our country.â€
â€œPartido Pilipinas.â€ Senator Chiz said that their political party is â€œPartido Pilipinas.â€ He said that this was not a political party to be accredited by the Commission on Elections. â€œIt is an ideology and principle they call â€œPartido Pilipinas.â€ Â He said: â€œOur party is the Philippines and the members of our party are the Filipino people.â€ This reflects the attitude of most political party members in the country who run on political slogans, not on serious political platforms.
Leaders from various political parties and entertainment personalities are lining up in support of the Poe-Escudero ticket.
Search for other candidates for Vice-President and for senators. Meanwhile, presidential candidates Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party and Jejomar Binay of the political opposition are still looking for their candidates for Vice-President, senators, and other positions. So are Poe-Escudero. (By by Jose â€œPepeâ€ Abueva)