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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 21, 2019
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with Matè Espina


Rock & Refuge

Over the weekend, I had a leisurely chat with Judy Araneta Roxas who was in town to ask support for the senatorial bid of her son, Mar Roxas.

Of course, there shouldn’t be any worry for Mar to get votes from our province as this was one of the areas where he won over Duterte during the last election. And just like Sen. Migz Zubiri who has roots in our province, we see Mar as one of our voices in the Senate if he gets in the winning circle come May.

This is more so now when the sugar industry is beset with the threat of liberalizing sugar imports which can really be tragic for our province. Seeing how the Cabinet and the Lower House have responded to our problems in the past, our hope remains in the Senate chambers.

With the Unity Team in Negros pledging their support, one can surmise that Mar will get votes here.

But there lies the problem too – with a unified team, candidates who are assured of their seats in the next election may not campaign hard enough and their supporters may not care about national posts unless they are made to understand why we need to vote.

The president has been going around endorsing some hopefuls but is yet to officially announce his “DU It” list soon. Analysts say his endorsement may be a big help to his candidates as he still commands a strong following. But personally, the names he has endorsed so far leaves nothing but bad taste to the mouth.

Topping his list is former aide, Bong Go, whose face is plastered all over our city and if you happen to drive down to Dumaguete, his face is visible too along the route.

But if his supporters who are responsible for hanging up these ginormous billboards think they are providing him a service, I have not heard anything but criticism for those eyesores, especially that one along the circumferential road near Homesite.

To quote a friend, who ironically is a die-hard Duterte supporter, that billboard smacks of “trapo” and vowed that Go will never get his vote. And he is not the only one with that sentiment.

What has Bong Go really done for us except to affix his name to the dole-outs from DSWD and hover behind the president in his sorties?

Ergo, it doesn’t follow that a Duterte fan will actually vote for those he will endorse. The president may be popular in his own right, but I think some of his supporters are discerning enough to see whom of those he has been endorsing will actually be good for the country. Freddie Aguilar – any takers?

And speaking of tarpaulins, prominently displayed as well in some areas are the posters of another senatorial hopeful, Maguindanao Rep. Dong Mangudadatu, welcoming people to the City of Smiles.

It has been criticized in social media, but actually that brought a smile when I first saw it knowing that Mangudadatu may have another over-eager supporter here who is crazy enough to ruin the candidate’s chances of endearing himself to Bacolodnons.

Imee Marcos too had been embarrassed enough in Cebu when her billboard was ordered removed by Mayor Tommy Osmeña at the height of the Sinulog Festival. Imee’s people should be fired over this incident for not researching enough that nobody politicizes the Sinulog as it is a religious event.

And this is also the reason probably why the monstrous billboards of Bong Go got so much flak because these came up during the holidays when politics is farthest from the minds of people.

Going back to Mar Roxas, women leaders from various NGOs vowed their support for his candidacy and it was on a simple premise – the values he embodies.

And I agree. If the president thinks we have been immune to his vulgar language or his disrespect for our Church leaders, he may be in for a surprise if indeed people will come out and show we have had enough of this.

We need to bring back decency and respect. It’s as simple as that.

Presidential spokesperson, Salvador Panelo said that one joke does not make Duterte a bad leader. Unfortunately, the president has uttered rape, drugs, killings in so many ways than once and it sure does not sound funny anymore.

Hopefully, we put our money where our mouth is and show them – this time, the joke’s on you.*

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