Presidential candidate Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Wednesday vowed to connect the provinces of Bataan, Cavite, and Batangas as part of his plans to continue the Build, Build, Build program of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We will continue the Build, Build, Build. But in our case, while continuing what has been started, let’s build, build, let’s build: build more schools, build more hospitals, build more industries, build more jobs, and build the bridge from Bataan to Corregidor, to Batangas and Cavite,” said Moreno, who is the standard-bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko.
Moreno made the statement before local officials and employees of the Bataan provincial capitol here in Balanga City. Governor Albert Garcia personally welcomed Mayor Isko who came with his vice presidential candidate Dr. Willie Ong and the three senatorial bets of Aksyon Demokratiko: Dr. Carl Balita, Samira Gutoc, and Jopet Sison.
The Aksyon Demokratiko candidates were in Bataan to meet with farmers and fisherfolks as part of their “Listening Tour” to ascertain the real state of the people in the rural areas of the country.
Moreno stressed that linking Bataan to Cavite and Batangas would pave for faster transport and easier exchange of goods between the three provinces.
“Your dream of connecting the two ends of Batangas, Cavite, Bataan, is no longer impossible,” the Manila City mayor said.
The Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge being built on Manila Bay. It will reduce the travel time from Bataan to Cavite from five hours to 40 minutes.
The project is being developed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with an estimated investment of P175.7 billion.
It is a priority project under the government’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program that aims to boost the country’s economic growth through increased investments in public infrastructure.
Moreno recounted his recent visit to Cebu province where he saw the 8.9-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Bridge which connects Mactan Island to Mainland Cebu.
“That’s why for you, you will no longer have traffic in Metro Manila if you go to Batangas, you will go to Cavite. Even if you are just here on Mariveles road, you will just go straight,” Moreno said.
The 47-year-old presidential candidate said construction of the linkage may be costly — estimated at about P175 billion — but the benefits it will give to the people is beyond value.
Beside the Bataan-Cavite-Batangas link, Moreno has plans to build bridges across major islands of the Philippine archipelago which will not just facilitate the exchange of goods and services but will also serve as tourism circuits and tourism highways as spelled out under the Bilis Kilos 10-Point Agenda for Governance under an Isko Moreno presidency.
“We will also continue to support the economic zone to provide more jobs and industry,” Moreno told the people of Bataan.
To ease the plight of farmers and fisherfolk, as well as protect businesses and jobs, Moreno said he would also cut taxes of oil and electricity by 50 percent.
While this may result to a decrease of government revenue by about P130 billion, he said the same amount would immediately benefit the people in terms of savings – savings that would subsequently return to government as people spend more due to their stronger purchasing power.
Governor Garcia thanked Moreno for visiting the province, and also thanked him for his invaluable efforts to help the Province of Bataan in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He was the one who helped us set up our cold chain facility here in the Capitol. That is why outside of Metro Manila, Bataan takes the lead in the supply of vaccines, and so outside of NCR, Bataan takes the lead in vaccinating its countrymen. Mayor Isko also helped us get drugs against COVID-19,” Garcia revealed.
Meanwhile, to effectively reach as many voters as possible during this time of COVID-19 pandemic, the other candidates of the Aksyon Demokratiko have split up in barnstorming various areas in the country.
Its standard-bearer Domagoso was winning the hearts and minds of Cebuanos during his two-day “Listening Tour” in the Central Visayas province.
Over the weekend, Moreno’s vice presidential tandem Dr. Willie Ong barnstormed various areas in Bulacan, while the party’s senatorial candidates travelled to Mindanao preaching the “Buhay at Kabuhayan” them in Luzon and Mindanao.
Dr. Ong was in San Miguel, Bulacan on Friday where he was personally accompanied by former Bulacan 3rd District Rep. Bodjie Cabochan and Aksyon Demokratiko mayoralty candidate Jiboy Cabochan in a meeting with the town’s barangay leaders.
Ong presented Moreno’s four-point plan that will have an immediate impact to the people – lowering excise taxes on oil products and electricity; utilizing the windfall from the Mandanas ruling to revitalize micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); building post-harvest and cold storage facilities across the nation; and building necessary infrastructures that are focused on catering on the needs of the masses.
“That’s his style in Manila. His government in Manila is always tolerant and the people benefit. Moreno instituted tax amnesties and lower tax for businesses,” Ong said.
Because of this, many businesses that closed at the height of the pandemic are reopening, and businessmen are flocking to invest in Manila, thus creating more job opportunities, he noted.
“Our tag line apart from ‘Bilis Kilos’ is ‘Tao Muna.’ Because he really came from poor family,” Ong added.
Ong admitted that Moreno’s leadership and devotion to help the people are among the main reasons why he agreed to be his running mate. The other is his advocacy to overhaul the healthcare system in the country.
“Yorme told me, ‘If you come with me, you will take care of the health sector, help me.’ So, I work hard because I am no longer happy with just giving advice. I want you to have medicine, I want, if your mother, father, when they get sick, we can operate for free. We can fix a lot,” Ong stressed.
The Aksyon Demokratiko vice presidential bet also asked the Cabochans and the people of Bulacan to support their senatorial candidates.
“Carl Balita is a nurse, educator, midwife, good at work, and honest. Jopet Sison, if there is a reason, you will fight. He can help too. And Samira Gutoc is for women’s and family rights and the rights of evacuees,” Ong said.
While Ong was in Bulacan, the three Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial candidates were busy going around in Mindanao, highlighted by dialogues with local officials, transport groups, youth groups, as well as members of the LGBTQI community in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.
Like Ong, Balita, Sison and Gutoc took the cudgels for Moreno in explaining his plans and visions to uplift the lives of the people and turn the economy around.
“No president can understand the poor more than Yorme Isko Moreno. And everything that happened in Manila, he planned for 10 years, but he delivered in just two years. That is how fast the action of Yorme, our next president, Isko Moreno,” Balita said.
Moreover, they said their advocacies and legislative priorities complement that of Moreno’s platform of governance: housing for the poor: better healthcare and education system: protection of the rights of women, evacuees and the LGBTQI community; free legal aid for the poor; and ease of doing business and tax exemption for MSMEs, among others.
“Why did Yorme choose us? We have no political machinery, we are not old names in the field of politics. But what are we? Representative of what we stand for. Like Yorme, new, hope, credibility, that’s what we bring,’” Balita said. Rey E. Requejo