Zubiri: time for a Mindanao leader to be President

MALAYBALAY, Bukidnon (MindaNews/01 April) — Bukidnon governor Jose Maria Zubiri has endorsed the lone Mindanawon Presidential candidate – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte — during a rally in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on Friday in time for the 2016 Kaamulan Festival.

At the Capitol Grounds, the venue of the festival’s major highlight Kaamulan Street Dancing Competition, Zubiri told thousands of supporters that it’s time for a leader from Mindanao to lead the country.

Many of the supporters braved the sweltering heat of the sun, as they stayed even after the 11thand the last contender of the ethnic dance competition performed at past 1 p.m. for the afternoon rally.

Duterte arrived at past 2 p.m. in Malaybalay on-board a helicopter but came to the venue at almost 3 p.m. to deliver his 30-minute message before locals and tourists as the guest speaker.

Zubiri, who is running for a third term under the local party, Bukidnon Paglaum Party (BPP) and father of former Senator Miguel Zubiri and another son who is running for representative of the 3rd district, said the province would give its all-out support to Duterte, despite his recent endorsement of Liberal Party’s Rep. Leni Robredo for Vice President, instead of Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano.

“We are supporting him despite the fact that he doesn’t have the machinery or funds — unlike the other candidates,” he said. “Sariling sikap itong amin (We are helping ourselves here).”

In his message, Duterte slammed other presidential contenders Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who he said have both figured in corruption controversies.

“Si Binay kinahanglan modaug. Kung siya mapildi, siya, iyang asawa og anak, masulod sa prisohan (Binay needs to win. If he loses, he, his wife, and children will go to the prison)” he said.

“Binay can talk about criminality and drugs but certainly cannot talk about corruption. Mar cannot talk about criminality, drugs, and corruption,” he said. Grace Poe is unfit for the presidency on the grounds of citizenship, according to Duterte.

Duterte again pushed for federalism as a means of decentralizing the government and giving the local governments a bigger share of the tax revenues.

If federalism pushes through, the local governments would get 70 percent share of its contributions, he said.

Under Section 285 of the Local Goverment Code, provinces and cities get 23 percent each, municipalities 34 percent, and barangays 20 percent.

He also discussed about the plight of the moro people for genuine peace through the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which was not passed in the House of Representatives.

“I talked with (Moro Islamic Liberation Front vice chair) Gadzhali Jaafar. I told them do not start a violence, do not start a revolt just because BBL was not passed,” he said.

MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in a two-page, nine-paragraph “official statement” signed by MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and dated February 18 or 15 days after Congress adjourned without passing the Bangsamoro law, expressed its “deep disappointment and grave dismay” over the non-passage of the BBL” but said it will “continue to uphold the peace process and ensure that all the gains will be preserved.”

Duterte visited Camp Darapanan on February 27 en route to a rally in Cotabato City.

Randy Usman, Davao City deputy mayor for the Maranao tribe and member of the People’s President Rody Duterte (PPRD), said some 20 members traveled for at least five hours to participate in the rally.

Josephine Soria, 52, a barangay worker and resident of Malaybalay, said the tough-talking Duterte is her preferred presidential candidates.

Soria said she has high hopes Duterte would solve the problem on illegal drugs.

“Mga drug addicts mawala. Once ma-proclaim siya as president, mahadlok na man na sila (Drugs addicts will be gone. Once he’s proclaimed, they will fear),” he said.

Esmeralda Bucao, 38, of San Jose in Malaybalay, said she is expecting a better Mindanao teeming with job opportunities if Duterte wins.

Bucao, mother of seven children, sustains her family on her own by peddling dishes around Malaybalay. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)