FORMER Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) chief Joel Villanueva promise to lead efforts in creating jobs paid off as the Liberal Party (LP) senatorial bet notched a spot in the top 12 of a pre-election survey.
Villanueva was the biggest gainer in the Pulse Asia survey released on Friday with 39.1 percent, eight percentage points higher than his previous rating. The survey puts him on the 11th spot of the top 12 candidates for senator.
The survey was conducted from February 15 to 20.
“When I talk about education and jobs, I connect more to people because these are real concerns. Also, it helps that we have a good record in jobs creation [in Tesda],” Villanueva said.
He eclipsed incumbent Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona who ranked 12th with 36.7 percent.
Former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, who is running for the Senate for the third time after two straight losses, ranked 13th with 36.2 percent.
She was followed by world boxing champion and Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani who was booted out of the Top 12 for the first time with 34.8 percent.
The survey was conducted in the wake of Pacquiao’s controversial condemnation of same-sex marriage.
“My commitment is unflinching to deliver actual results when I reach the Senate. I am humbled and grateful with the survey results. I will remain focused on the campaign and work harder to sustain this momentum,” Villanueva said.
The LP bet’s platform is centered on access to free, quality education, including technical-vocation education and sustainable employment or livelihood.
If elected, the former Tesda chief said he will push for the passage of a Philippine Qualifications Framework which will institutionalize a seamless education system and training towards employment.
“We have seen it in TESDA how lives have been transformed when a member of a family is able to complete a tech-voc course and receives a National Certificate, finds employment here or abroad, and supports his siblings so that the streak of good opportunity would continue,” Villanueva said.
“The Senate is a vehicle, but our destination is to create jobs so as to give opportunity for the people to achieve progress,” he explained.