By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Reelectionist Senator Grace Poe started her campaign by feeding public school students in Payatas, Quezon City on Tuesday.
Poe, who is running independently for the May 13, 2019 senatorial race, said she chose to veer away from the usual campaign rallies and highlight at the first day of the campaign period her advocacy on giving nutritious meals to children.
She hosted a feeding program for some 800 pupils from Payatas B Elementary School in Quezon City, because children, she said, remind her of her reason for seeking a Senate seat.
“Sila talaga ang simbolo ng pag-asa kaya gusto ko dito mag-umpisa kasi masaya. Sila ay nagpapaalala sa akin kung bakit ako tumakbo sa unang pagkakataon (Children are the symbol of hope that is why I chose to start my campaign here, because it makes me happy. They remind me of why I decided to run in the first place),” Poe told reporters at the sidelines of her feeding program.
She recalled that when she was campaigning in 2013, she had vowed to push for a nationwide school feeding program for students.
She said her “advocacy” is now a law, referring to the Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para Sa Batang Pilipino Act, which provides for funds for school- and community-based feeding programs for undernourished children.
“Sa umpisa pa lang, alam naman ninyo na ‘yun talaga ang ipinaglaban ko sa Senado: na ang pinakamahihirap at nangangailangan ay dapat na unahin. Mga bata talaga ‘yun (You know that I have been pushing for this ever since: that we prioritize the poor and those in need. Especially the children),” she said, citing anew that this was the legacy of her late father, Fernando Poe Jr.
Poe, despite her being a consistent frontrunner in pre-election surveys, said she will not be complacent as she promised to live up to the people’s expectations.
She said she had also learned from her experience during the 2016 presidential elections.
For this year’s polls, Poe said she will continue to push for the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, which she sponsors in Senate as the chair of the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.
She said she will also ensure that the 2019 budget will be used for the benefit of the people, particularly for education, and other social services.
She added that she will still pursue her push for better public transport services, and at the same time, assistance for operators and drivers.
“Pinangako ko ‘yan at ang mga pangako ko sinisikap kong hindi mapako (I have promised that and I am working to fulfill those promises),” Poe said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Poe will be in Tondo, Manila for her kick-off rally along with some of her fellow reelectionist senators.