Montemayor pushes for better OFW aid; Abella eyes national volunteer corps

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2022 07:34 AM

Presidential candidates Jose Montemayor Jr. (left) and Ernie Abella discussed their platforms online during the Comelec e-rally on Friday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file
Presidential candidates Jose Montemayor Jr. (left) and Ernie Abella discussed their platforms online during the Comelec e-rally on Friday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Two presidential candidates in the 2022 elections again made use of the Commission on Elections’ online campaign channel on Friday to lay out their platforms should they become the next chief executive.

Cardiologist and lawyer Jose Montemayor Jr. of the Democratic Party of the Philippines addressed overseas Filipinos’ concerns during his 10-minute slot on the Comelec e-rally stream, his 4th time on the platform since the campaign began.

Montemayor highlighted the contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the Philippine economy but noted the many social costs of the diaspora, such as destruction of many families back home. 

He added many OFWs have concerns, such as pilferage of balikbayan boxes and abuse. 

“Alam niyo, Luging lugi ang mga OFW. Andami nilang binibigay sa ating ekonomiya, pero kakapiranggot ang binibigay nating proteksyon sa kanila. In my administration, I will see to it that they are fully protected, that they are fully cared for,” he said.

Montemayor advocated for protecting rights of OFWs by adding more lawyers in embassies abroad in place of what he called “white elephant” foreign service employees who have proven lax in their jobs.

He pushed for OFWs to be provided legal, civil, and medical assistance as well as social support.

A Department of Migrant Workers is currently being formed after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the agency that would consolidate services for OFWs in late 2021.

ABELLA: CREATE NATIONAL VOLUNTEER CORPS

Meanwhile, former presidential spokesperson Ernesto “Ernie” Abella in his e-rally slot raised the 3 pillars of his campaign — a just society, a government felt by its citizens, and a resilient nation.

Among the independent candidate’s proposals to achieve this is to put up a national volunteer corps of young Filipinos aged 18 to 35.

Abella said volunteers would devote at least 2 years to community service, particularly in mentoring primary and secondary students.

“They will help them gain mastery, they will have a presence that they can become ates and kuyas and they'll become role models of what it means to love the nation and to be of service to the nation,” Abella said. 

The former evangelist and foreign affairs undersecretary said teaching Filipinos to be supportive of their nation would help build a “confident national identity”.

His other campaign promises include focusing on agriculture to develop it into a mega industry, and to monitor the bidding and awarding of government contracts to arrest corruption.

Abella said he hopes his platform would lead to the start of a “siglo Filipino” or 100 years of Filipino progress seen in “a nation worthy of Filipinos and Filipinos worthy of the nation”.

The Comelec’s e-rally stream, which goes live at 7 p.m. nightly for the duration of the campaign period, also includes slots for candidates running for other national posts.

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