VP Leni launches Ahon Laylayan, campaigns for Otso Diretso bets
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Vice President Leni Robredo campaigned for the Otso Diretso senatorial bets in the province last week as she led the launching of the Ahon Laylayan Koalisyon attended by hundreds of sectoral leaders and representatives in Virac.

At Plaza Rizal, the country’s second highest official urged local officials led by Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes and Vice Mayor Arlyn Arcilla, as well as San Miguel Vice Mayor Alen Taule, to consider organizing their respective People’s Council so that the voice of various sectors of society can be heard.

She cited the initiative began by her late husband Jesse, who overcame opposition from entrenched legislators in the Naga City government by asking the help of the Church in organizing different sectors to act as fiscalizer and support system.

The permanent sectoral representatives in all committees at City Hall not only observed proceedings but cast votes, thus ensuring that the voice of each sector will be heard as early as the planning phase, Robredo disclosed.

“The automatic appropriation for the People’s Council as provided under the People Empowerment ordinance also enabled it to strengthen its member organizations,” she added.

Urging the people to consider the issue of one sector as the concern of all, the vice president said that they should work with the government in a partnership for meaningful development.

“If we will not be strong, we will not be heard by the government,” she bared, adding that the idea behind the coalition is to create a platform with which to bring what we want to the attention of the government.

Robredo described the May 13, 2019 national and local elections as an opportunity to get support by choosing candidates who will represent the people.

“Let is seize this opportunity to make them hear our voices,” she stressed, adding that helping Otso Diretso candidates will fight for what is right and bear three important qualities – “matino, mahusay, at may paninindigan.”

The Otso Diretso bets are election lawyer Romy Macalintal, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former Rep. Erin Tañada, Atty. Pilo Hilbay, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Sen. Mar Roxas, Sen. Bam Aquino and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno.

“We did not choose movie stars but those who will fight for us,” she said. “The current political landscape is disheartening because money rules elections.”

Vote-buying is a cause for concern, VP Robredo stated, but expressed hope that there will be other places like Naga City and her former district in Camarines Sur where those without money win elections.

On the other hand, she expressed satisfaction with the progress of the capital town.

“Very vibrant ang Virac ngonian,” she told Mayor Laynes and the crowd, comparing her experience during her previous visits in 2013 and 2016.

Earlier in San Andres town, she spearheaded the turnover of a 25-meter seawall worth P2 million funded by donations to her office’s Angat Buhay program from private individuals and companies willing to help poor communities.

She promised to assist Catanduanes towns secure funding for seawalls to protect coastal communities and urged the people to preserve the unique beauty of the island.

A side event of the Ahon Laylayan launch was the signing of a covenant for the People’s Legislative Agenda for social justice and human rights by defending and giving life to the 1987 Constitution.

The covenant calls on the people to fight any attempt by the current administration to amend the Constitution and repressive policies violating basic human rights, and to push for laws and policies that would, among others, create a graft-free government, empower the people, strengthen the agriculture sector, respect women’s and indigenous people’s rights, ensure workers’ security of tenure, oppose the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, punish those who destroy and abuse the environment, and protect poor urban settlers.


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