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Why Poe is the president we need

12:06 AM May 04, 2016

I am going to vote for Sen. Grace Poe.

She has the integrity that will inspire our youth and the rest of our people. She has the equanimity and proven discernment to negotiate for peace in Mindanao and to enhance relations with our neighbors in the region. She has the moral ascendancy and intelligence to realize that violence begets violence. She has the dignity and eloquence, as well as the global exposure, to represent our country in international conferences and state visits. She has been an erudite and principled stateswoman in the Senate and has been an advocate of protection of women’s rights, universal access to quality education, skills development and gainful employment for workers, expanding our middle class, freedom of information, and good governance.

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Poe’s critics say that she is inexperienced. But we have seen how she ably presided over Senate hearings. Sometimes, being too long in public service makes one jaded and uncreative. What matter most are competence and performance. It helps that she is one of our youngest lawmakers. She does her homework, has demonstrated a fresh outlook and good judgment, and has no political baggage.

Having been a foundling, she defends the rights of children, especially orphans and the poor. She respects democratic institutions and the rule of law, and is committed to combating crime and corruption, even as she values civil rights and due process.

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I am for Poe because she epitomizes the strengths of a woman: decisive and firm, holistic and nurturing, open-minded and hardworking, responsible and reliable.

Last April 29, Poe’s Agenda for Women was launched. The participants committed “to advance equality in rights, status and opportunity among the country’s diverse peoples, and to eliminate what stands in the way of realizing this goal.” With the Magna Carta of Women as the overarching framework, they pledged to review and improve existing laws and proposed legislations on women’s rights. Poe’s Gobyernong May Puso affirms that gender equality is a critical driver of development.

Not only do we need a president who can unify our people, our next leader should also be able to iron out wrinkles in our foreign relations. We cannot underestimate this matter because it has direct consequences on our daily lives. We need a leader who can make peace, not war. We do not want our territory to be once more a battleground of the Big Powers. In this age of advanced military technology, a single missile is enough to decimate the entire population of a small country like ours.

Our next president must have credibility and respectability to strengthen our goodwill with other countries. Poe has those qualities. In November 2014, the Singapore government awarded her the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellowship “for her track record and extraordinary potential to contribute to the development of the Philippines.” It is notable that the Asean country known worldwide for its law and order and one of the cleanest and most competent governments in the world has recognized Poe for her leadership.

According to Dr. Eduardo Araral, vice dean and associate professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore, Poe is “genuinely sincere, she listens, she thinks about issues, she’s measured in her responses.”

Poe was received by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana, and by then Foreign Affairs and Law Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam. She delivered speeches and was invited by different ministries to be briefed on foreign affairs, education, law and social development. She also visited the Corruption Prevention and Investigation Bureau, Central Narcotics Bureau, Housing Development Board, as well as a primary school and the Institute of Technical Education College.

The visit to Singapore provided Poe with additional ideas for educational and governance reform. She has been committed to inclusive growth, promotion of moral values in schools, and increasing the size of the middle class.

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I shall vote for Grace Poe to ensure a brighter future for our younger generations.

Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta is professor emeritus at De La Salle University. A member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, he sponsored the provisions on education and children’s rights and cosponsored the rights of women, social justice and human rights, right to information, and an independent foreign policy. He has retired as Asean deputy secretary general and as ambassador to Asean.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, elections featured, foundlings, Grace Poe, Rights, women
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