RoRo to CL barangay leaders
    Longer terms, P1-M budget, Clark airport

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    CLARK FREEPORT- Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo wooed here Monday the votes of some 3,000 barangay officials from all over Central Luzon by assuring them of their support for a bill that would give them a term of five years and a budget of P1 million yearly.

    Roxas also vowed to declare the Clark International Airport as the country’s official international airport. “Clark is vast and can accommodate even five NAIA’s (Ninoy Aquino International Airport),” he told the barangay officials.

    Pres. Aquino arrived with Roxas and Robredo at the convention center of the Fontana resort here yesterday morning for the gathering of barangay officials who were given color-coded sticker tags to indicate the places from where they hailed.

    Of Central Luzon’s six governors, re-electionists Lilia Pineda of Pampanga, Willie Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan, Ayong Umali of Nueva Ecija, and Hermogenes Ebdane of Zambales joined the President and some LP senatorial candidates on stage.

    During his speech, Roxas asked Tarlac Gov. Vic Yap, who is seeking a congressional post in the second district of his province, to also join them on stage.

    Roxas said that if elected president, he would push for the passage of a law that would extend the term of barangay officials from three to five years. He also vowed to implement the move, already laid out by the Aquino administration, to allot P1 million to each of the country’s over 42,000 barangays under the bottoms-up budgeting or BuB.

    “That BuB funding would require only about P42 billion and I will immediately push for the funding when I become president,” he said.

    “There can be no triumph for the national government unless it reaches the barangays,” he said.

    Vowing to “transfer the international airport to Clark,” Roxas said to accompany such plan will be the construction of high speed railway alongside elevated highway to link Clark to Metro Manila.

    He also said that as president, he would prioritize the drawing of a masterplan that would integrate all anti-flooding projects in Central Luzon, as he noted that while the region has seven provinces, its flooding problem is interconnected.

    For her part, Robredo said that she would push for Congress to pursue the Barangay Reform Bill that made it to second hearing in the House.

    She noted that under the bill, the terms of barangays officials would be extended up to five years. She said she would push for such proposal to cover incumbents whose term would then end in 2018, after deferment of the barangay polls.

    At the same time, Robredo also hailed Roxas’ performance in the last presidential debate held in Dagupan City, describing her running mate as “presidential.”

    For his part, Roxas said Robredo was a “standout” among vice presidential candidates.

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