"Once a politician, you’d be thinking of nothing else but to aspire for public office."
Antique province lies in the western section of Panay Island, and borders Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo to the east, and faces the Sulu Sea to the west. It has 18 municipalities and 590 barangays, and as of 2015, its population stood at 582,012. It has rich mineral deposits, with its mountains yielding copper, marble, silica, coal and clay, but poverty incidence in the province is around 26 percent. Two killer typhoons devastated Antique in recent years, Typhoon “Frank” in 2008 and Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013. It comes as a surprise to many that Senator Loren Legarda traces her roots to the province and considers Antiqueños as kababayan. In fact, she wants to represent the province in the Lower House after sitting for 18 years in the Senate. It seems that once a politician, you’d be thinking of nothing else but to aspire for public office. In this sense, Legarda shares the same boat with her fellow senator, Chiz Escudero, who wants to run for governor of Sorsogon as his term also ends this year. Legarda has always called Malabon City home, because that’s her mother’s hometown. Even then, coming from national position is no assurance to win in a local election. Take, for instance, the late Blas Ople who held various key national positions but did not win a local position in Bulacan, his home province. Former Senator Lito Lapid lost the mayoralty race in 2016 in his hometown in Pampanga and now wants to return to the Senate. Legarda is currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance. But if Antique’s economic development leaves much to be desired compared to its neighbors, that means she has judiciously allocated taxpayers’ money without any favoritism, unlike a predecessor who held the position during the previous administration who made sure his province would get enough funds for vital socioeconomic projects. Aside from running for a congressional seat, Legarda appears to be covering all her political bases. The scuttlebutt is that she has her own party-list group, Luntiang Pilipinas, also running in May, apart from two other party-list groups that’s allied with her camp. If these party-list groups would really help in protecting the environment, why not? Given all this, observers are wondering whether Legarda wants to become the next House Speaker, using Antique as her stepping stone. Or perhaps even Prime Minister if the shift to a federal-parliamentary system of government takes off? Better times ahead for Okada Manila?