MANILA - Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas had an awkward moment during an open forum in Bustos, Bulacan Tuesday after he refused to promise funds to buy new air-conditioning units for the Bulacan State University.
Roxas visited Bulacan Tuesday for a speaking tour in different parts of the province. His first stop was as guest speaker of the Konsyertong Bulakeno event held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in Malolos, Bulacan where he was welcomed by Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado and other local leaders.
After lunch, he spoke in front of more than 1,000 teachers and students of the Bulacan State University in Bustos, Bulacan. Here, he was hosted by Congressman Gavino Apol Pancho and other local leaders.
In his speech, he told teachers and students to choose continuity instead of change. During the open forum, a student asked Roxas how they would feel the benefits of Daang Matuwid.
Roxas said Daang Matuwid means that funds meant for students will not be stolen, and there will be more classrooms, teachers, scholarships and money for educational projects.
He said one of his goals is to pass a law that will give college scholarships to the best and brightest high school public graduates.
An awkward moment during the open forum was when the dean of the university, Dr. Alberto Valenzuela Sr., asked Roxas if he could help the university source funds for 10 additional aircon units for their new multi-purpose gym. The dean said the gym was not being used because of the heat.
Roxas asked incredulously why, with a P6.8 million budget for a multi-purpose hall, was it not being used, and why was it not designed properly. He also asked why the school can't work within the existing budget.
He told the dean "this is not daang matuwid." He added he is not a traditional politician who will just say yes or promise something he cannot deliver.
Instead, he reminded Valenzuela that when asking for a project, all things should be taken into account, and that taxpayers' money should not be wasted by not using the project.
During interviews after the event, students and teachers said they understood Roxas' explanation on the issue and said that it was not proper to put him on the spot by asking for additional funds and projects.
PRAYING FOR YOLANDA VICTIMS
In a talk with reporters after the event, Roxas said that he chose to commemorate the 2nd year anniversary of Yolanda by praying for the victims, their families and the heroes of the Yolanda tragedy.
He said he chose to keep quiet and lie low so that he will not be accused of politicking, adding that whatever he does--whether he goes to the event or not--would always be criticized by his detractors.
On the upcoming hosting by the Philippines of the APEC summit, Roxas said that he was invited as a guest in one or two events.
Roxas said the country's hosting of an international event is testament to the changing image and growing economy of the country.
He said the event shows the Philippines is no longer the "sick man of Asia" but the best bet of Asia, and the hosting of 21 leaders of the world is a major boost to the country's image.