MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 August) – It was called “People’s Dialogue,” but the political undertone was all but subtle as the workshop reports presented by a pre-selected audience of people who have benefited from government programs ended with the same call – vote for someone who can continue the administration’s “daang matuwid,” President Aquino’s battle cry for good governance.
The participants, mostly beneficiaries of the conditional cash transfer program and numbering around 300, were referring to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who has been anointed by Aquino as his successor.
Roxas was guest speaker in the dialogue on Thursday at the Bukidnon State University.
Talking in his native Ilongo and donning a yellow shirt – a departure from his erstwhile trademark blue apparel – the presidential aspirant enumerated the things that the Aquino administration has done to achieve the “daang matuwid” agenda.
Before Roxas’ arrival in the afternoon personnel from the Department of Budget and Management had facilitated the workshop on how the conditional cash transfer, scholarships and other programs had helped poor people in the province.
The DBM also provided free lunch and snacks to the participants.
The organizers made sure only the invited participants could enter the venue during the workshop and lunch by posting BSU security guards, cadets and police personnel at the entrance. Even students were not allowed to pass through the entrance.
No local officials and politicians attended the event.
Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. and most politicians in the province are not allied with Malacanang.
In 2010, Zubiri initially expressed support for Aquino’s candidacy but changed his mind after the Liberal Party refused to forge an alliance with him due to his differences with Nereus Acosta, an LP stalwart and former congressman of Bukidnon’s First District.
In 2013, however, Zubiri and Acosta teamed up against former congressman Jesus Paras. They fielded Malou Acosta, Nereus’ sister who lost to Paras in 2010. The female Acosta won in their rematch.
Zubiri is yet to declare who to support for president in the 2016 elections. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)