Lesser known senatorial aspirants to push for Marawi rehab, federalism, stronger manufacturing industry

They may not be as popular as other established names in politics, but three of the lesser known aspiring senators are hoping that their platforms will fuel their possible bid for a Senate seat in next year’s elections.

Women’s rights advocate and former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission Samira Gutoc is banking on the timely rehabilitation of Marawi City as she seeks a seat at the Senate under the opposition coalition.

“I am from Marawi and we would push for legislation that would protect the interests of internally displaced persons,” Gutoc told CNN Philippines’ On The Record on Thursday.

She hopes the rehabilitation of the city will set as a “sample case” on how other local government units should address disasters.

“Marawi rehabilitation is very big budgeted and it’s also the first armed destruction in the country so we need to rehabilitate not just buildings and homes but also people’s heart and their relationship with each other and even government,” she added.

“We need to rebuild the trust again,” she said. “It needs legislations so there will be actions and policies that will be instituted.”

Ding Generoso, former spokesperson of the Consultative Committee that President Rodrigo Duterte tasked to review the 1987 Constitution, sees the election as an avenue to raise people’s awareness on federalism.

“Right now everybody’s mind, everybody’s eyes are on the elections. We need to steal the thunder from the politicians this time. We have to make this an issue-based election,” he said during the show.

“We have to bring it to the people and answer all the questions. There’s no other better platform to answer all questions raised about federalism in an election arena,” he added.

Generoso, who filed his certificate of candidacy under the Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi party, said he will push for “system change” through a new form of government if he wins in the senatorial race.

“We felt that we have to bring the issue of system change and draft constitution to the people. We felt also that none among, or very very few, if ever, among the candidates in the lower house or higher chamber of the Congress would be willing to take this to the people,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan III eyes economic reforms by developing the country’s manufacturing sector.

“China is off loading because they want to move to high tech, and so they’re looking for other countries to unload, so they’re eyeing us. It’s a question of how we play our cards right with China,” he said during the show, adding that a robust manufacturing industry will lead to more jobs in the country.

Alunan, who belongs to Bagumbayan party, said the Philippines should only tie up with China in areas that will not lead to dispute.

“The contentious issues are something that we must talk about with them (China), but in areas that are not contentious then let’s proceed with collaboration. That’s what our independent foreign policy is all about,” he said.

Alunan said he will also push for a change in criminal justice system and a stronger national defense.

“There will always be threats to the country. You’ll never know who’s gonna be the next threat. If you have a good diplomatic position, it must be backed up by a strong military position as well,” he said.

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