Hontiveros shrugs off ‘going center’ comments

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

LABELS: Senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros, who represented democratic socialist party Akbayan in the Lower House, said comments on her shift from a leftist group to the administration don't upset her at all.

"Hindi ako naiirita sa mga labels. Those are just initial ways for people to know who I am or what I am. Proud ako na galing sa tradisyon na lumalaban para sa pagbabago. At proud din ako sa consistent effort namin sa Akbayan at kasama ng Liberal na ilaban ito sa demokratikong paraan, sa mapayapang paraan," she said in an ANC Headstart interview.

Hontiveros said that as an "aktibista" within the system, she stands firm on her ideologies while working with the government to achieve common reforms for the welfare of many.

Although she could see the fulfillment of her platform working best under a Roxas-Robredo leadership, she vowed to be an advocate of health in the Senate whoever may be elected to lead the executive branch of government.

After authoring bills like the Cheaper Medicine Bill and the Responsible Parenthood Act in the Lower House, Hontiveros said universal health care will be her priority if she is elected senator. She said she wants barangay health centers made ‘super’ with better equipment for the people and higher compensation for health workers. She also rejected the privatization of public hospitals.

She is strongly against death penalty, which she said is “very anti-poor,” and changing of the 60:40 land ownership between Filipinos and foreigners, but agrees with the income tax reform, divorce, and same sex-marriage.

Despite pushing for former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s detention years back, she said she will accept motions for GMA’s house arrest following the United Nations’ statement that her current conditions are inhumane.

Inspired by Pia Wurtzbach’s Miss Universe crowning after two failed bids at being the Philippines’ bet, Hontiveros hopes that her third senatorial entry could lead to a win as well.

"There are things worth fighting for and waiting for," she said.