"How did the former police chief do in the recent senatorial debate?"
While candidates of the Otso Diretso were anticipating an ambush as Hugpong ng Pagbabago contender Bato dela Rosa was all by his lonesome in the recently held CNN Philippines senatorial forum, they were in for a shock as Bato withstood all of their attacks, political, personal and everything in between.
Long mocked for his entry in the senatorial derby by his opponents who claim his inclusion in the administration slate was out of his mere loyalty to President Rodrigo Duterte, Bato showed them why he and not they, belongs in the upper august chamber.
The emotional, candid and outright Bato not only parried every blow thrown at him. He even managed to turn the tables on his opponents especially when they thought they had him cornered on the issue of the President’s war on drugs and the resulting deaths that had come its way.
Bato staunchly defended the administration’s bloody drug war, as well as the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. He even insisted on capital punishment for corrupt government officials, vowing to work for the reinstatement of the death penalty by executing convicted drug lords through a firing squad in Luneta if he gets elected.
Following the CNN senatorial debate, many voters, who before the event were still undecided on whom to go for come May 13, may have been won to his side. They saw the determination and humility of the former PNP and Bureau of Corrections chief.
Even former PNP chief, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, for his part, has nothing but praises for Bato dela Rosa. In his Twitter post, Lacson said after watching the televised CNN senatorial debate, he believe that Dela Rosa had “singlehandedly” annihilated opposition candidates from Otso Diretso despite being ganged up on over several matters during the discussions.
Lacson said Bato remains one of the top contenders in the coming May polls. Bato managed to remain cool at the height of the heated arguments with the six opposition candidates who belong to Otso Diretso concerning relevant issues in the country.
For her part, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte lauded Bato for outshining opposition rivals during the debate.
While this may sound exaggerated, the presidential daughter said Bato’s performance during the senatorial debate proved that he can be presidential material in the future. He did well in raising points on social issues.
That may or may not happen as there are still those who see him as nothing more than a police officer who has no business in the legislative branch. But not for those he had converted as disciples after the two-hour debate, as they believe Bato could pull some surprises once he gets to sit in the Senate plenary.
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One big push.
With barely a week to go before the elections, who else would best qualify as the best campaigner in vote-rich Leyte other than its most famous daughter, the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.
Last week, the former First Lady, now a congresswoman in her late husband’s home province in Ilocos Norte, returned to Tacloban City to push for the candidacy of her daughter, nephews and Tingog party-list.
She was home again, as she declared upon setting foot in her hometown in Tolosa, to campaign for her daughter Imee, nephews Tacloban mayoral candidate Alfred Romualdez, Leyte First District congressional candidate Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Tingog party-list with incumbent Leyte First District Representative Yedda Romualdez as first nominee.
Pushing strongly for Tingog, the lawmaker said she believed that the legislative agenda of Tingog is a boost to the regional development in the country.
If elected to the 18th Congress, Tingog intends to file and advocate the following proposed legislation, based on a four-point agenda:
1. Higher family incomes through the creation of more industries which would bring more jobs, particularly the creation and expansion of the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ), in order to ramp rural industrialization and expand the manufacturing sector in the region; sustainable support for small business; increased farm and agribusiness output;
2. Increased social services like the free Alternative Learning System (ALS) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) by institutionalizing the implementation of the Alternative Learning System in the basic education and establish at least one ALS learning center in every municipality;
3. Innovative and proactive governance through an enhanced local government autonomy, empowering barangay workers by ensuring a more adequate and stable compensation and beneï¬t structure, including civil service eligibility for long-serving barangay secretaries, treasurers, tanods, and health workers; effective regional governance through the creation of the Eastern Visayas Development Authority (EVDA); and,
4. Sustained economic growth through bigger share in the national budget which can be done by increasing the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of local government units (LGUs) from 40 percent to 50 percent and establish a Local Government Enhancement Fund as separate 10 percent funding for provincial, city and municipal governments in addition to the 50 percent IRA to be used to improve their service delivery performance; better roads and infrastructure like intensifying investments and accelerate the development of infrastructure programs and projects that will facilitate access to agricultural farms and tourism destinations in the region, strengthen disaster resilience capacities and improve social service delivery in fourth to sixth class municipalities.