House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Thursday the ruling PDP-Laban will actively campaign against candidates who are opposed to a federal system of government in the 2019 midterm elections.
Speaking before more than 3,000 party recruits in Agusan del Sur, Alvarez urged the people in the province to support the advocacy of President Rodrigo Duterte and the PDP-Laban for a shift to a federal system of government, which he said would open up the development potential of the provinces and the regions.
“I have one request, please don’t vote for candidates, particularly for senator, who are opposing federalism,” Alvarez told the new PDP-Laban members.
In interview with the local media after the event, the Speaker explained his call against anti-federalism candidates.
“Ganito kasi yan, yung partido PDP ang nag-iisang partido na merong advocacy ng federalism. So kami, kung ayaw mo ng federalism we really have to campaign against you. Kasi ayaw mo na umasenso yung mga probinsya,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the ruling party was pushing for federalism to ensure inclusive development, particularly of the poor and neglected areas of the country.
“Because para sa amin itong federalism ang magbe-benefit nito talaga yung mga provinces, yung mga regions. Kaya kami gusto naming maaprubahan ito at maging parte ng ating saligang batas upang sa ganun ma-ensure natin na within the term of President Duterte ay iba na ang structure of government natin,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said it was also time to elevate the political maturity of the nation by focusing the campaign on issues instead of the old practice of politics based solely on popularity or personality.
“Hindi kagaya nung dati porke’t sikat, palaging nasa telebisyon, artista o kung sino man yan—anak ng artista—na iboboto natin. Yung mga kampanya noon na pag lumabas sa telebisyon andun pa yung kung sino yung background na artista. Mali yun. Dapat issue-oriented tayo,” Alvarez said.
He dared the senatorial hopefuls for the 2019 elections to make a clear stand on the issue of federalism.
“So ito yung issue, saan ka rito? Manindigan ka. Hindi na pupwede yung hindi mo alam kung saan ka, yung naglalaro-laro ka lang. Kung ano yung gustong pakinggan ng tao doon ka. Hindi ganun. Dapat kung maayos ka na pulitiko manindigan ka,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said that if a candidate was opposed to federalism then he was clearly against the interest of provinces and regions.
“Kung aayaw mo rito bakit kita iboboto, ayaw mo na umasenso kami? It is as simple as that. If you want the provinces na magkaroon sila ng opportunities, na mabigyan sila ng karapatan to chart their own destiny then pabor ka sa federalism. Kung ayaw mo na mangyari yun, doon ka sa kabila,” Alvarez said.