A day after dashing Vice President Jejomar Binay’s hopes of getting his support in 2016, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday stopped short of endorsing Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd during the celebration of the country’s 117th Independence Day in Iloilo.
Roxas is the president-on-leave and the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.
Aquino last month revealed that Roxas is still the Liberal Party’s top choice for President.
On Thursday, he refused to lend support to Roxas’ rival, Binay, who was still hoping for the incumbent leader’s help for the 2016 polls.
In his speech in Santa Barbara town, Aquino notably mentioned Roxas’ role in the integration of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental into one region called Negros Island Region.
According to the President, it was Roxas who presented him with the idea of creating a Negros Island Region, which he said has been the clamor of the people of the two provinces.
“Kaya nang inilapit sa akin ni Secretary Mar Roxas ang mungkahi niyang ito, at naisagawa ang mga nararapat na konsultasyon, agad na natin itong pinirmahan [This is why, when Secretary Mar Roxas put forward this suggestion, and after all the necessary consultations were undertaken, we took action by signing the Executive Order],” Aquino said.
“Alam naman po ninyo, itong tunay na anak ng Panay Island na si Secretary Mar ang nanguna sa pagsusulong nito. Gaya po ng nabanggit ko na, alam nating kapag inatas nating pamunuan ng isang Mar Roxas ang isang proyekto o programa, asahan mong magtatagumpay po ito [You know, Mar Roxas, a true son of Panay, advanced this initiative.
Like in the past, we know that whenever we task Mar Roxas to lead a project or program, you can expect that it will succeed],” he added.
The President then urged Filipinos to keep treading the straight path and reiterated that they will be the ones to continue the reforms of the administration.
“Tiwala po ako: Basta’t nananatili tayong tumatahak sa daang matuwid, maipagpapatuloy natin ang pagbabagong ating tinatamasa sa kasalukuyan [Indeed, I am confident that so long as we continue to tread the straight and righteous path, we will be able to continue the positive changes we experience at present],” Aquino said.
“Sa pag-usbong ng makabagong teknolohiya at sa panahon ng social media, may higit na tayong kakayahan, at mas malalim na responsibilidad na makiisa sa paghahanap ng solusyon sa ating mga problema. Sa halip na maging pabigat sa ating kapwa, nawa’y gawin natin ang lahat, iambag natin ang ating maiaambag sa abot ng ating makakaya, upang sama-sama nating maiangat ang atin pong minamahal na bansa [In this period of evolving technology and social media, we have the greater wherewithal, and the deeper responsibility to contribute in finding solutions to our shared problems. It is my hope that, instead of being a burden to our fellowman, we would do our utmost, contribute what we could to the best of our abilities, so that we may collectively uplift our whole nation],” he added.
The President also expressed confidence that Filipinos will choose the right leaders in next year’s elections.
“Alam nila kung ano ang tama, at kung ano ang mali. Tiwala akong pipiliin nilang muli ang nararapat na pinuno, lalo pa’t nakikita nila ang resulta ng ating mabuting pamamahala [They know what is right, from what is wrong. I am optimistic that they will choose the right leader, especially because they have seen what our agenda of good governance brings],” Aquino said.