Friday, May 2, 2014

Ecija vice gov denies mayoral bid, says he may even quit politics

GAPAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos on Thursday denied eyeing the mayorship of this city and said he may even consider quitting politics altogether in 2016.

          Speaking to reporters during this city’s fiesta and his birthday celebration in Barangay Mangino here, Padiernos, more commonly known as GP, said he has not disclosed his political plans even as reports continue to circulate that he has been eyeing the position of governor, congressman or even mayor of his hometown.

          His supposed mayoral bid has spread like wildfire in the social media, and he was abandoning a third and last term to give way to the vice gubernatorial bid of outgoing second district Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago, a close personal friend.

          Violago, earlier rumored running for governor, is reportedly contemplating on seeking the vice governorship to give way to former three-term fourth district congressman Rodolfo Antonino, father of incumbent Rep. Magnolia Antonino.

          Padiernos’ non-politician wife was also designated hermana mayor during this city’s fiesta, further fanning speculations about his mayoral bid. 

          Padiernos, a close ally of outgoing three-term Gov. Aurelio Umali, dismissed such reports as speculations, saying he has never mentioned anything about his purported plan to seek the governorship, the House or the mayorship.    

          “The elections are still too far away so let us work first,” he said. He said his supposed political ambitions have long been the subject of much speculations, dating back to 2010 when he was first elected vice governor as Umali’s running mate.

          The governor has declared that his wife, outgoing third district Rep. Czarina, will run for governor and is eyeing Padiernos as running mate.

          Padiernos said the governor’s camp has asked him to make known his political plans by next month.

          Padiernos said that he has several political options. “Of course, if I chose to, I may run for governor, vice governor, congressman or mayor. But I may also opt to quit politics. I can do that if only not to disappoint people who have been egging me to run for any of these posts,” he said.

          He said he has been talking with the governor and assured the latter he has not arrived at any political decision at this point. “I told the governor that if I will run for governor, I will come up to him, shake his hand and tell him I am running. It will come directly from me, not from anybody else,” he said.

          Padiernos said he has also talked with Gapan Mayor Maricel Natividad and assured her he was not eyeing her post. He said he thanked her for supporting his wife as hermana mayor.

          “I just told Mayor Natividad that I won’t eye her post for as long as she won’t seek my post also,” he said.

          He said he has been friends with political personalities in the province, from Umali, Antonino, who defeated him in the 2007 congressional polls and Violago .

          He admitted, however, that he is not close to Cabanatuan Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, a former ally of Umali.

          Earlier, Vergara said his wife may also run for governor if this is the clamor of leaders from the political opposition in the province. (Manny Galvez)

Legarda: Culture and Heritage Must Be Part of Development Policies

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, today renewed her call to preserve Filipino culture and heritage and make it part of the country’s development policy.

“The Philippines is a nation endowed with rich and diverse culture. Among our cultural heritage are the various age-old structures, ethnic traditions, indigenous songs and dances, weaving traditions and other forms of folk arts. While the preservation of our heritage is a continuing challenge especially in this era of rapid technological advancements, it is a fact that our heritage is a fundamental source of socio-economic empowerment,” Legarda said as the country celebrates National Heritage Month this May.

The Senator cited the Historic City of Vigan as one of the best examples in making heritage preservation part of development.

“The Historic City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur brings people back in time and gives a bittersweet feeling as it reminds us of the challenges our ancestors had to overcome during the colonial rule, but the magnificent structures carefully preserved bring awe to visitors. The preservation of the Vigan heritage has not only contributed to the development of the city through gains in tourism but also brought honor to our country when the UNESCO awarded it the Best Practice for World Heritage Site Management in 2012,” she said.

Meanwhile, Legarda also said that more jobs can be generated in sectors related to preserving the country’s heritage.

“The restoration and conservation of the age-old structures in various parts of the country—baroque churches, heritage houses, colonial buildings and bridges—is an area where we can generate jobs for Filipinos skilled in building methods,” she said, noting that in 2013, several heritage churches were damaged and destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol.

“When we have restored our colonial structures, we can further boost cultural tourism in our areas of heritage to produce more jobs and generate bigger income for our citizens and local governments,” said Legarda.

She added that a vocational school in Intramuros has been teaching skills related to building construction to disadvantaged but talented Filipino youth.

The Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc., an initiative of the Spanish Embassy in Manila, in partnership with its development agency AECID, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), TESDA and the Intramuros Administration, is a vocational school that specializes in masonry, carpentry, metal works, painting, plumbing woodcarving and stone carving, among others.
Students have been involved in revival projects for the historic quarter of Intramuros, establishment of Vigan Conservation Complex, rehabilitation of the Rice Terraces in Ifugao, restoration of colonial churches and bridges, and other related heritage restoration projects.

“The Escuela Taller can also contribute to a cultural revolution that we wish to advance through the establishment of folk art museums in provinces in the country. These folk art museums will be houses of heritage that will feature unique products of the provinces and their cultural music and performing arts,” Legarda said.

“I am certain that many citizens and groups in our country are also working towards cultural preservation. These may not be as big as the Historic City of Vigan, the Ifugao Rice Terraces or the Escuela Taller, but all our efforts when put together can usher a cultural renaissance and revitalize Filipinos’ love for our culture and heritage,” Legarda concluded.


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