BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN / CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Partido Reporma senatorial bets Dr. Ma. Dominga “Minguita” Padilla and Monsour del Rosario have embraced the underdog’s role as they both acknowledged how a long shot their victory is in the May 9 elections.
But Del Rosario, a Bacoleño, former Makati congressman and martial artist, who acknowledged the challenges of being an “underdog” running against veteran opponents, said he would not back down from the fight.
Stressing that he is aware of his advantages and disadvantages, “I have chances to win, if it is a fair game,” del Rosario said, recalling his experiences as an athlete competing in international gameswhere he won several fights against veteran and known athletes.
I know I have a chance. It really needs information dissemination, where media has a great role to play, the Filipino taekwondo champion said.
Del Rosario said he has four important legislations to push, which include agricultural measures to uplift the lives of farmers especially those from Negros Occidental.
He is also pushing for the “Healthcare Heroes Card” for healthcare workers, especially the nurses, to avail of benefits that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens get in order to convince them to stay in the country.
He also wants to help children with learning disabilities like those with mild or severe autism, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, to have inclusion in regular schools.
Del Rosario said he also wants to help the youth and retired athletes, as well as the agricultural sector.
He plans to create a council that will help farm workers understand what benefits they can avail of from the national government and also stop the importation of agricultural products. He also plans to help the fisherfolk, he added.
Padilla, who used to be a PhilHealth chief, said she and del Rosario are fightersin a joint press conference on March 14 in Bacolod City.
Like Monsour, there is a calling… there is a need, Padilla said. “I think people will be grateful that we are trying,” she pointed out, although they have inadequate resources for the campaign.
Padilla recalled that even her mother discouraged her to run for a Senate seat. “But I have to do this, because the only thing at worse than failure, is regrets. I cannot live my life regretting,” the renowned eye doctor said.
Asked his chances of winning against legislations veteran politicians, with some he linked to corruption, Del Rosario said he wants to show to the Filipino people “the goodway and the right way.”
“I know I’m going up against senatorial veteran candidates that have been there, seasoned,” he added. “I know I am the underdog, but that’s fine with me because I’ve always been an underdog most of my life.”
“If I lose, it’s okay. At least, I tried my best to make a difference for the future of our children and grandchildren,” del Rosario stressed.
As founder and president of Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines Inc., Dr. Padilla has been leading in efforts for the procurement, processing, and distribution of corneas and eye tissues since 1994 — an endeavor that has helped restore sight to thousands of patients around the country; including indigent patients who would otherwise remain blind.
Many are saying that it was impossible to establish an eye bank, as nothing happened when it was attempted numerous times since the 1950s. Padilla however said she has done the impossible.
COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
Meanwhile, Padilla said that if elected, she will ask for the Committee on Health, which should be chaired by a doctor like her.
Padilla said she will immediately convene the bicameral oversight committee on health because there is a need to review the Universal Healthcare Act and PhilHealth Act due to its many problems.
She wants PhilHealth’s information technology system audited randomly twice a year because it is porous and fragmented. It should also tie-up with the National Statistics Office, she said.
Padilla said they want the establishment of many oversight committees because there are many laws that have not been implemented. This includes an oversight committee for the Department of Health.
They want to push for a Magna Carta for Barangay Health Workers so they will receive decent honorarium and for some of them to be hired as plantilla employees in order to avail of real benefits as well, she said.
She also wants to push for climate justice and help the country become more resilient to climate change. Food security is also related to climate change resiliency, Padilla said, adding that the West Philippine Sea sovereignty is also among her platforms.
Del Rosario and Padilla said that they are leaving their fate to God.*