At least 24 provincial governors have supported the resolution issued by the ruling Partido ng Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
In their collective statement, the governors said the administration’s Covid-19 response is “succeeding”, and they want the next President to be guided by Duterte particularly in the fight against illegal drugs and the prevailing pandemic.
“We want the President to seek the vice presidency so he could help his successor oversee the implementation of Covid-19 pandemic response programs his administration is carrying out to keep Filipinos from dying of the highly contagious new coronavirus and the illness it is causing,” the governors said.
Governors who signed the collective statement were Daniel Fernando (Bulacan), Aurelio Umali (Nueva Ecija), Edgar Gadiano (Occidental Mindoro), Pepito Alvarez (Palawan), Edwin Ong (Northern Samar), Ben Evardone (Eastern Samar), Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo), Antonio Kho (Masbate), Abdusakur Tan (Sulu), Zaldy Villa (Siquijor), Bonz Dolor (Oriental Mindoro), Edgar Tallado (Camarines Norte);
Imelda Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte), Ryan Singson (Ilocos Sur), Dakila Cua (Quirino), Florencio Miraflores (Aklan), Art Yap (Bohol), Bai Mariam Mangudadatu (Maguindanao), Suharto Mangudadatu (Sultan Kudarat), Damian Mercado (Southern Leyte), Micheal Tan (Western Samar), Rogelio Espina Jr. (Biliran), Esteban Evan Contreras (Capiz), and Victor Yu (Zamboanga del Sur).
The governors said they want Duterte to continue having a say in the implementation of infrastructure projects throughout the country.
“We are witness to new roads, bridges, school buildings, airports, seaports, and similar infrastructures the administration has been constructing and which have generated jobs and income for our people, and economic growth for the country. The nation under President Duterte was on the way to a high growth path until the pandemic struck,” the statement read.
They cited Duterte’s implementation of the Mandanas ruling which would translate to more infrastructure and services to the poor in urban and rural communities.
“We want the outgoing Chief Executive to have an influence on full devolution to local government units with the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling, which would increase LGUs’ Internal Revenue Allotments by about P1 trillion,” they said.
The governors also wanted Duterte to pursue his fight against criminality, particularly drug-trafficking and other drug-connected crimes, beyond his presidency as well as corruption.
“His war on drugs has made urban areas and rural communities more peaceful to live in and more conducive to economic activities. Just ask the people in our provinces,” they said. “He has sacked scores of officials on the basis of reliable information reaching him and those publicly linked to corrupt activities, even if they were his fraternity brothers.”
They said the next president would need to keep up with Duterte’s “genuine concern” for the safety and wellbeing of the country’s overseas workers.
“We will continue to need President Duterte’s sincere concern for millions of overseas Filipino workers, whom he has consistently protected against exploitation and abuse. At the first sign of maltreatment of an OFW, he orders an investigation and suspends the deployment of additional workers until terms of employment and living conditions could be improved,” the statement read.
The local officials said Duterte could also help the next President revive the country’s tourism industry which was badly hit by pandemic-related lockdowns.
“The next administration would need Duterte’s help in reviving local tourism, which has been booming until the new coronavirus outbreak. Millions of Filipinos were crisscrossing the country to see its beauty. Local tourism never had it so good,” they said.
Duterte earlier acknowledged the clamor for him to run for vice president but admitted that he does not know what to do if he wins.
“I don’t know what I can really do, what a vice president can do, can have an impact on the policies of the president because the Constitution is very silent. He does not have a job at all,” he said during the national assembly of PDP-Laban at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga on Saturday.
Early this month, Duterte said he was now “seriously considering” running for the country’s second-highest post but said the winning president should be his friend or he would be reduced to inutility.*PNA