By Jezza Nepomoceno
ILOILO — Reelected Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. thanked his supporters on Tuesday for giving him the mandate to continue the reforms he has started in the next three years.
“Thank you for your trust and confidence in me. I am hopeful that in my last term as your governor, you will help me fulfill the dreams and aspirations we both share for Iloilo,” Defensor said in mix Hiligaynon and English.
In a separate interview with PTV-4, Defensor reiterated his promise to transform the face of then sleepy and poor Iloilo into a progressive and vibrant province through good governance before his term expires in 2019.
“That will be the kind of legacy I want the people to see and experience. Iloilo will be entirely different three years from now,” he said.
Poverty alleviation will remain in the forefront of his platform of governance and the programs to make the province business-friendly and competitive will be intensified to pull more big-ticket investments here.
He also stressed that his administration will be “aggressive” in seeing to it at every Ilonggo has access to basic social services, especially in healthcare, education, sustainable livelihood and improved accessibility (e.g. paved roads).
Meanwhile, Defensor, also the provincial chairperson of the ruling-Liberal Party in Iloilo, admitted that he was expecting presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to win based on the surveys released days ahead of the election.
He believed that the traffic woes in Metro Manila, including the Mamasapano clash and the poor services in Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which the present administration failed to address, affected the candidacy of their standard-bearer, Mar Roxas.
“Although Mar is the most qualified candidate…, it is clear that the majority wants a different style of governance. I am just crossing my fingers that this will not turn into a disaster,” he said.
The Liberal Party in Region 6 delivered the expected majority votes for Roxas. As of 3:30 PM on May 10, the voters in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Guimaras gave Roxas a wide margin against his opponents based on the partial and official tally of Commission on Election.
Roxas garnered 1,116,609 votes while Grace Poe got only 290,670 votes, Duterte with 268,499 votes, Jejomar Binay with 119,581 votes and Miriam Santiago with 77,486 votes.