“This is about our nation. This is not about two individuals.”

This was how Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas encouraged Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to raise their political discourse rather than engage in violent word wars.

“Saan ba natin dadalhin ang ating bansa? Ano ba ang pangarap at ano ang pamamaraan na gagamitin natin para maisakatuparan ang ating plano para sa ating bansa,” Roxas said in an interview after the COOP National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) at The Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Wednesday (December 16).

Questioning Duterte’s platforms, Roxas marked that he will not back out in a possible debate with Duterte.

“Hindi ko uurungan si Mayor Duterte sa kahit anong hamunan. Malinaw na hindi ako takot sa kanya at haharapin ko siya,” he said.

He even reiterated the qualities that the next President of the Philippines must possess.

“Ang ating lider ay dapat, ehemplo para sa ating kabataan, may respeto sa ating kababaihan, may pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng tao, na ang batas ang nanaig sa lahat ng gawa at salita,” Roxas stated.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos, reacting to the word ward between the two presidential aspirants, recently said in a forum that the next president must be a role model to the Filipinos.

“Mabuti sinang-ayunan niya [Ramos] ang sinabi ko,” Roxas said in a serious tone.

“Mayor Digong, let’s level up. Our people deserve better. Itong tapunan, itong putikan, itong kasinungalingan ay walang lugar sa ating political discourse,” Roxas told his political rival.

“Itong mga barilan, suntukan—hindi ito importante sa buhay ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.