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Arroyo ally Pineda commits Pampanga’s support to Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo

SAN FERNANDO CITY - Administration standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, can count on the support of Pampangueños in the coming national elections, re-electionist Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda said Thursday.

Addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 at the provincial capitol grounds and with President Benigno Aquino III in attendance, Pineda said: “Dito po sa Pampanga, sa bilyon-bilyong proyekto lalo na sa infrastructure, sa ikakaunlad ng province ng Pampanga, lahat po ng Kapampangan pinapangako sa inyo na susportahan ang inyong mga kandidato.”

Pineda is with the National Unity Party (NUP), a party composed of former allies of detained Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She is running unopposed under the local party Kambilan.

Pineda, a known ally of Arroyo when she was president, also backed the Liberal Party-led Team PNoy senatorial slate in 2013.

“Dahil sa inyong mahusay na pamumuno at serbisyong publiko na nabibigay sa mga kababayan ang ibayong sigla at pag-asa sa kaunlaran,” she added.

In his speech, Aquino expressed hope that the province will support his endorsed candidates like it did when they voted for him in the 2010 presidential elections despite running against Arroyo.

“Ang takbo ko po nung 2010, bagamat kakaunti 'yung pagkakataon ko mangampanya dito sa Pampanga, 'di po niyo -- 'di po nawala ang inyong suporta, inyo pong tulong at tayo po'y nagtagumpay dito sa Pampanga at sa buong Pilipinas,” Aquino said.

He then trumpeted his administration’s projects for Pampanga, comparing it to those implemented by his predecessor during her term.

Infrastructure projects for Pampanga, for instance, almost doubled from 2011 to 2016 to P16.94 billion, President Aquino said.

He also cited the P572.91-billion budget for the construction and repair of health facilities, as well as the enrollment of 51,371 poor Pampangueño households to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

The province also received a total of 478 bottom-up budgeting (BuB) projects funded from 2014 to 2015 while tourism arrivals also improved from 486,595 visitors in 2012 to 992,145 in 2015.

Meanwhile, Roxas promised anew to continue the Aquino government’s programs, including the 4Ps, as he wooed the support of Pampanga voters, estimated at 1.28 million voters according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Hinihingi namin ang inyong tulong para mapagpatuloy ang magandang nasimulan na. Malayo na ang narating natin...Nakatayo rito ang ating bukas. Nakatayo ang kapakanan ng inyong mga anak. Napakahalaga na pumili tayo ng tama,” he said.

Representative Oscar Rodriguez, incumbent congressman of the province’s third district, meanwhile made the pitch for Robredo, calling her the “modern President Cory Aquino” and “modern Gabriela Silang.”

Also present in the event were Vice Governor Dennis Pineda, first district congressman Joseller “Yeng” Guiao, and San Fernando City Mayor Ed Santiago. —NB, GMA News