DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 September) – “I am running for Vice President of the Republic of The Philippines. I am putting my faith in God and in our people. And I am praying for a President who will make us all proud and bring true change to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano declared here Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel after his announcement, Cayetano cited several reasons why he chose this city as venue for his declaration.
“First of all, we keep saying all the power, all the money, all the focus in Manila, why are all the announcements done in Metro Manila?” he said. “I took my oath in Cebu as senator, it’s a privilege for me to make my announcement in Davao.”
Cayetano, who was accompanied to this city by his wife, Taguig City mayor Lani Cayetano, also said his advocacy is not only for the city of Taguig or the Senate “but my program is true change” for the entire country.
He mentioned the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the third reason. “We’ve been saying if we have peace in the country, peace in Mindanao we can pursue progress. Why don’t we make Mindanao, the center of programs and argument? Because so far, the programs are all motherhood statements.”
“I offer a start to a discussion for a solution,” Cayetano said, as he pushed for decentralization of national services away from Metro Manila, the way Duterte is advocating for federalism as a solution to the country’s ills during his “listening tours.”
He explained it would be a loss to the country if Duterte does not give in to the clamor of the public to run for President along with Vice President Jejormar Binay, administration bet Mar Roxas and Senator Grace Poe.
Cayetano’s announcement came three days after a “People’s Call” rally for Duterte at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta drew thousands of supporters, prompting Duterte to send a message from Zamboanga City asking for some more time to decide. The message was read to the crowd by retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon.
The message was initially seen as the mayor asking for time to decide on the Presidency, which he later denied, saying his message was taken out of context.
Cayetano, three-term Taguig representative and senator since 2007, also announced he was pursuing a P200-billion Mindanao Development Plan, which includes a 200-kilometer, P150-billion Mindanao railway system.
The development also includes the development of centers like facilities for heart, lung, and kidney centers.
“This program is cheaper than the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” said Cayetano, a staunch critic of the peace deal the government peace panel signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (MindaNews)