Moreno, Ong open to endorsements from Duterte administration, opposition

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Mabalacat City, Pampanga (CNN Philippines, December 3) — Aksyon Demokratiko’s presidential and vice presidential aspirants, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Dr. Willie Ong, are open to endorsements from the Duterte administration, the opposition and other parties.

During the tandem’s visit to Talavera, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday, Moreno was asked about the possibility of getting an endorsement from President Rodrigo Duterte.

Ayoko silang pangunahan… ang Pangulo botante, ah. Gusto ko nga maiboto niya ako. Isang boto rin yun e,” Moreno told reporters.

[Translation: I don’t want to pre-empt them. The President is a voter. I want him to vote for me. It’s also one vote.]

Moreno was also asked if he would accept support from the Makabayan bloc, one of the critics of the administration. He said he would thank them in case they support him.

Moreno’s statement comes after the administration’s bet Senator Bong Go announced that he would withdraw from the 2022 presidential race.

In a separate event in Mabalacat City, Pampanga on Thursday, Ong told reporters that he was also open to endorsements from different parties.

Nung nag-announce ako (na tumakbo for vice president), halos 80% ang nagalit sa akin sa iba’t ibang parte. Pero after two to three weeks, nakita naman nila ‘yung hangarin kong makatulong. Ngayon kung maraming babalik sa ibang grupo—sa administrasyon, sa oposisyon—maganda po,” he said.

[Translation: When I announced my decision to run for vice president, around 80% of my supporters were displeased. But after two to three weeks, they saw my drive to help people. Now, if many people will support me again—from the administration or the opposition—it will be good.]

Moreno: Filipino farmers first

Moreno and Ong visited farmers and tricycle drivers in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga. The tandem discussed their plans for the country.

Moreno promised to prioritize local produce by reducing rice imports, which he said should only be done “for purposes of reserve” during calamities.

He also called for stricter import controls on pork and chicken. He said that if he would be elected president, he would issue guidelines for the importation of pork and chicken to help local hog and chicken raisers.

Ong: PH should have bigger infectious disease hospital

Meanwhile, Ong promised to build a bigger infectious disease hospital, saying the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila is “too small” for the country’s needs.

San Lazaro Hospital has a 500-bed capacity, according to its website. It aims to be the “center of excellence for infectious and tropical diseases in the Philippines by 2023 and in Southeast Asia by 2030.”

Ong also said the Philippine General Hospital should not be reused as the country’s premier COVID-19 referral hospital because other patients would be in danger. He expressed support for House Bill 9560, which seeks to create the Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

The facility will help in strengthening the country’s COVID-19 response as it will provide laboratories, biosurveillance, and more doctors. It will become an entity separate from the Department of Health and will serve as the principal agency tasked to handle communicable disease prevention and control.

The House of Representative passed H.B. 9560 on third and final reading in July.