Biron: the Better Choice

By: Limuel Celebria

EVERY election, the vast majority of our electorate go to the polls with the hope that they would be voting for “the lesser evil.” This is because, over years of frustration from a non-responsive government and corrupt officials (elected or otherwise), the people have come to believe that all politicians are alike. They are invariably bad, evil, out only to enrich themselves. Many people would vote for a dog if they could.

But luckily, not this time for Iloilo province.  The Ilonggos have a better choice for Governor.  And it is Doc Ferj Biron.

Biron has a plan, he has set a goal – the long awaited emergence of Iloilo as an economic powerhouse, and a roadmap towards achieving that goal – opening Iloilo to foreign investments by establishing modern ports and improving infrastructure, establishing economic zones that will create jobs and livelihood, improving health facilities and services and more.

And it is no idle boast nor pipe dream. He has the ability and the capacity to do it. Biron’s personal life story – a struggle from poverty to riches through education, determination, and a knack for business, shows the world that he is able to achieve what he sets out to do. Even his record in congress – of crafting laws that are seen to create a better atmosphere for the conduct of doing business, reflect a mindset that is driven to improve the economy thus lifting the lives of everyone, especially the poor who will benefit from a multitude of opportunities and services.

On the personal side, Biron is a God-fearing, family man. Despite efforts by his political opponents to portray him as a vengeful person, those who know Ferj attest that he is a kind, respectful, and caring human being. He is generous to a fault, especially to those in need. Above all, he is a man of his word.

This is not to say that Biron’s opponent, Cong. Art Defensor Jr. is bad. Not at all. But he simply has no plan for Iloilo other than propagating the worn cliché that he will continue his father’s legacy – which, apart from the personal achievements for good governance, consists of nothing but a few infrastructure projects.

At a recent business group’s gathering where they were asked to present their executive agendas, Biron outlined his comprehensive plan for Iloilo as briefly summarized above. Defensor, for the first time in this campaign, also laid out his own hastily-cobbled agenda. Some things stood out as terribly off.

One: Toto D said he will focus on Food Security as a priority program. What!? For many decades, Iloilo had always been a net producer and exporter of palay and other agricultural products. Food is not a problem in Iloilo.  Nevertheless, Toto D said he will make it his priority to increase palay and corn production in the province.

Two. In terms of tourism, Toto D bad-mouthed the northern islands, currently the most popular destinations in the province, saying they are not world-class. He didn’t even care to explain why he said so. Moreover, he stressed that – based on his talks with his friends in Manila – food is the most popular attraction in Iloilo. Well???

Based on his whimsical commentaries, one can easily get a glimpse of Toto D’s parochial, if not feudal, point of view. Or probably it’s because he’s a lawyer and not a businessman.

If you talk to businessmen, it is Toto D’s kind of thinking that has got Iloilo overtaken in terms of economic development by other places like Cebu, for example, which had very limited natural resources as compared to Iloilo. Cebu relies on us for food. But the foreign investments are in Cebu. It need not remain that way.

Ilonggos now have the rare opportunity of voting for The Better Choice and not just The Lesser Evil. And Ferj Biron is that choice.