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“The government should not just be there to regulate. The government should be there to enable [businesses].” These words served as presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe’s promises to the business community.
Less than a day prior to the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables Series’ third installment featuring presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, the Commission on Elections second division disqualified her from running for the highest position in the country.
But this did not stop Go Negosyo, PLDT SME Nation, Smart Communications, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation and RFM Corporation from pushing through with the forum yesterday at the Solaire Grand Ballroom because we believe every Filipino has the right to get to know every candidate vying for the presidency and know what they intend to do with our country and our people.
Although this series aims to give the entrepreneur community and key enablers a chance to meet the presidentiables who will share their vision on economic and entrepreneurship development, we also leaned toward different national issues such as: agriculture, entrepreneurship development, public transportation, foreign land ownership, disputes with China, constitutional change, laglag-bala, and politics among several others.
In her opening speech, Sen. Poe revealed that aside from being an actor, her father was also an entrepreneur. He built his own film company with the help of friends so that he would be able to make movies that he wants to be in. She spoke of the importance of entrepreneurship in the country, stating the number one problem of our country is poverty. “Hindi po natin matutugunan ang kahirapan kung walang trabaho, at hindi magkakaroon ng trabaho kung walang investments at puhunan sa ating bayan.” Sen. Poe also commended her fellow Sen. Bam Aquino for authoring the Go Negosyo Act. She said the private sector and the government should work hand in hand to help each other.
At the forum, Poe was directly asked about the disqualification case against her. According to the senator, this case is a fight that has only made her braver. And while she lost the 2nd round (the first being the Senate Electoral Tribunal), she is confident and more positive of the upcoming Comelec en banc and the Supreme Court. As she said, “tuloy ang laban…ang tao ang magde-desisyon.”
Ramon Lopez from Go Negosyo asked Poe if she supports the conditional cash transfer program, since it might encourage a culture of dependence among the poor. While the senator responded on a positive note, she added the need to balance dole-outs with conditions in order to elevate the situation of those in the poverty line through the inclusion of livelihood education and training programs.
When asked about her plans on reducing the horrendous traffic in major cities in the country, Poe’s answers are circled around construction of proper mass transit system and developing the rural areas in order to decongest the cities.
Sen. Grace Poe with the panelists – Patty Chilip, Rosalind Wee, Mike Toledo, Joey Concepcion, host-Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Sen.Poe, Ramon Lopez, Babe Romualdez and Myrna Yao.
On agriculture, the senator thought this sector is one of the most overlooked industries in the country, thus, threatening food security. According to her we should turn farmers into agri-businessmen so we can achieve inclusive growth.
“The three worst things with the current administration are: infrastructure, peace and order, and inclusive growth,” said Poe. For her, the current administration has not fully focused on these things which hurt our economic growth. She added that drugs should be added to the national security threats so public agencies can join forces in fighting against it. She also plans to come up with a national emergency line all over the country.
Sen. Poe also took the opportunity to acknowledge the presence of the student attendees of the forum, saying the youth will be the biggest beneficiary of a Poe administration since she will push programs that will provide better opportunities for the young. Aside from that, she strongly supports lowering corporate and personal taxes.
Throughout the forum, Grace Poe answered every question thrown at her with integrity and competence—two things that she said would also determine her cabinet members. “Regardless kung kalaban man o kakampi, basta ikaw ay mabuting tao, may kakayahan at may plano para sa mamamayan, kailangan kita.”
I will never regret the decision of having Sen. Poe in our forum. She is the epitome of an empowered woman who knows herself and her capabilities. In a matter of minutes, she revealed a huge part of her personality by showing integrity, intelligence, and principle-centeredness, and with a heart. But most of all, it’s her humility that struck me the most. When asked about her inexperience in working for the government, she said that while experience is important, it is not a guarantee of successful leadership. She even compared herself to a blackboard, “Kung isang pisara ang buhay ko, ‘yung mga ibang nanilbihan, punung-puno na ng sulat. Sa akin, marahil hindi pa puno pero maayos ang outline, at pakikinggan ko kayo kung ano ba talagang hinanaing ninyo at sabay nating isusulat ang maayos na kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.”