FILIPINOS should register to vote as a way to continue the late President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III’s legacy of defending democracy and fighting poverty, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.
Asked about the impact of PNoy’s sudden death, the Liberal Party president said: “Kung mayroon siyang huling salita siguro baka ito ay: Palakasin natin ang ating demokrasya, protektahan natin ang ating demokrasya. Palagay ko sasabihin niya palakasin natin ang demokrasya, magpa-rehistro tayo.”
In a media interview over Zoom, Pangilinan said another silver lining following PNoy’s death is that after over five years of disinformation, all his administration’s achievements are now being shared and talked about.
“Yung tatay niya namatay, pinaglalaban ang demokrasya, ang nanay niya ilang beses tinangkang i-assasinate dahil sa mga coup d’etat because she was defending democracy. Si PNoy, nakita natin nitong nakaraang sampung araw kung ano ang nagawa niya sa demokrasya, paano niya pinasigla ang ekonomiya at nabigyan ng dagdag na pinagkakakitaan, dagdag na panggastos ang ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga mahihirap,” he said.
Pangilinan reiterated his call to register to vote. He said Filipinos want change in the dismal government anti-Covid response that has resulted in record hunger, unemployment, and poverty.
“Yung registration ang palagay ko dapat nating lahat isagawa. Regardless of political party, magparehistro at yung mga rehistrado na, kumbinsihin yung mga hindi rehistrado,” he said.
“Ang problema doon, sabi ng mga hindi nagpaparehistro, eh isang boto lang ako. Eh ang daming nagsabi noon, umabot na ng labingtatlong milyon,” he added.
Government figures show that an estimated 13 million Filipinos are qualified to vote but are not registered.
This number of voters, Pangilinan said, can elect a president, vice-president or any national official into any office.
The voter registration period ends on September 2021. Pangilinan also called for unity among political parties and set aside political differences to focus on the country’s efforts in combatting Covid-19.
“Napakatindi ng kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng pagkakaisa dahil matindi rin ang problema ng ating bansa — the worst economic crisis since World War II and the worst health crisis in a hundred years. Libo-libo na ang namamatay, Milyon-milyon na ang nagkakasakit at ang lawak ng poverty, ng gutom, at ng kahirapan,” he said.
The senator said unity is also needed to protect democracy.
“Ang pagkakaisa ay mahalaga, so we are open to discussions with other groups and personalities para malaman natin kung maari tayong magkaisa — iisa lamang ang magiging kandidato at iisa lamang ang magiging layunin maresolba itong problema ng Covid: Mailagay sa ayos ang response ng gobyerno,” he said.
“Democracy is learning to work with other people you may dislike or disagree with – up to a certain extent. Para magkaroon ng malawakan at matibay na pagkakaisa, kailangan we have to rise above our difference. Isantabi ang ating mga hidwaan, yan ang hamon sa ating lahat,” he added.