THE UP Los Baños community held a forum on March 25 on the gubernatorial race in Laguna. Nine candidates were invited but only three were there: Berlene Alberto, Bronson Grajero, and Brother Rico San Sebastian. The top two candidates — incumbent governor Ramil Hernandez and ER Ejercito — did not attend.
Hernandez’s and Ejercito’s failure to show up was unfortunate.
It would have been a chance for the two most popular gubernatorial candidates to present their plans for the province and allow themselves and the Lagunenses present to consider their ideas, particularly on pressing issues that are not normally tackled in showbiz-oriented campaign sorties. Issues like the environment, gender equality, the economy, education, and, yes, even the bad traffic in many parts of the province.
It would have been an excellent opportunity for Lagunenses to watch not the usual movie stars and comedians but politicians and leaders offering their thoughts about the state of the province’s affairs.
We can only speculate why Hernandez and Ejercito failed to show up. Was it a scheduling problem? Or was it a lack of appreciation for these types of dialogues? Whatever it was, the two candidates missed an opportunity to engage with their constituents in a more meaningful way.
As a result of their absence, those who attended or followed the forum were left with no choice but listen to the three candidates present their programs. Some of their ideas were generally sound, some laughable. But even if they had the best plans, they won’t matter because none of those present will ever win against either Hernandez or Ejercito.
It was important, therefore, to hear both men weigh in and convince people why they should vote for either of them.
Laguna’s leaders need to take these seemingly small engagements seriously. They should give Lagunenses the respect they deserve, especially at a time when these politicians are expected to come up with solutions to the province’s problems. (Laguna Now)