The nation’s brighter future is paved by the continuity of Daang Matuwid. For the first time in decades, the Filipino people have cause to cry, “ipagpatuloy!” rather than their usual call for change or reform.

For Daang Matuwid standard bearer Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo, President Noynoy Aquino started the journey in 2010. What is left now is to build on what has been achieved, and to fill in the gaps that would strengthen and broaden the original vision.

Roxas and Robredo kicked off their campaign in Roxas City, Capiz today (February 9) with the complete Daang Matuwid senatorial slate. They rode a motorcade from Roxas City to Iloilo, making a pit stop at Passi City, Iloilo to join in its celebration of the feast of its patron saint San Guillermo de Ermita.

Team Daang Matuwid reconvened at Freedom Park in Iloilo City, ending the first day of the official campaign period with two successive rallies.

“Ari na kita tanan, dili na mapunggan, daug na po ‘ta [Andito na tayong lahat, hindi na mapigilan, panalo na tayo]!” Roxas cheered in his native Hiligaynon. “Nagtipon ‘ta dinhi para sa kauswagun na kinabuhi. Madamo na salamat sa ining tanan [Nagtipon tayo dito para sa kaunlaran ng pamumuhay. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat].”

President Aquino, in his short message, pointed out some of the gains of Daang Matuwid.

“Ang tanong po, tama ba itong landas na tinatahak natin?” He asked the crowd. “Tama ba na mula sa pagiging Sick Man of Asia, ang Pilipinas ngayon isa na sa may pinakamabilis na paglago ng ekonomiya sa buong mundo? Tama ba na 7.7 milyong nating mga kababayan ay naiangat na mula sa kahirapan?”

Roxas echoed the call for good governance in his speech, where he reiterated the importance of continuing the fight for Daang Matuwid.

“Limang taong nakalipas, ang sigaw natin, ‘patalsikin natin ang isang tiwaling gobyerno at pamunuan na mandaraya, magnanakaw at sinungaling.’ Babalik pa ba tayo doon? Babalik pa ba tayo sa baluktot at tiwaling nakalipas,” Roxas asked.

By starting his campaign at his roots, Roxas kept in theme by looking back to the beginnings of Daang Matuwid: a noble program that he was part of and hopes to continue. He promised the cheering crowd that he will continue and expand the administration’s efforts to bring change at the grassroots level through programs such as Bottom-Up Budgeting, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, and PhilHealth.

He also cited the millions of lives changed by government programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which has been successful in uplifting the lives of the Filipinos who most need help by providing opportunities for education and future employment.

“Dipensahan naton ang 4Ps, itaguyod naton ang 4Ps, padamuon pagyud naton ang 4Ps para tanan, makaagom benepisyo para makagradwar ang ila sang mga kabataan [Dedepensahan natin ang 4Ps, itataguyod natin ang 4Ps, papalawakin natin ang 4Ps para lahat, makakuha ng benepisyo para maka-graduate ang ating mga kabataan],” he promised.

Roxas also reminded the crowd that the economic gains made during the administration’s run would come to full fruition in the coming years. “Matagumpay ang Daang Matuwid at dapat lang itaguyod,” he said.

“Simple lang ang programa natin: Sisiguraduhin natin na ang bawat pamilya ay malaya sa gutom, malaya sa takot at malayang mangarap,” Roxas said. “’Yan ang ating ipinaglalaban, ‘yan ang alam ko,’ yan ang kaya ko, at ‘yan ang gagawin nating lahat.”

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