Julius Fortes on Palawan News' The Profile.

Political newcomer and educator Julius Fortes said his lack of experience will not deter him from his desire to serve the people.

During his interview on Palawan News’ The Profile, Fortes who is running for board member in the province’s first district addressed comments about his Palawan heritage, stating that contrary to popular belief, he is just as qualified to run for the position because he was born and raised in Coron.

He also stated that he is the descendant of a war hero and former mayor of Coron, and that his grandfather is his biggest inspiration for getting into politics.

‘”Yong aking lolo, si Captain Carlos Amores, Sr., na kilala rin sa tawag na Balalong ay isang hero ng Palawan noong World War II at naging mayor rin ng Coron. Lumaki akong iniidolo yong aking lolo, at naalala ko noong elementary days, may mga bumisita sa kanyang residence, hindi ko makakalimutan ang sinabi niya sa mga bisita niya, na ang pagpasok sa pulitika na isang commitment ng pagsisilbi sa taumbayan,” Fortes said.

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“Natanim sa isip ko ang mga sinabi ng lolo ko, kaya ang pag-iidolo ko sa kanya, mula noon ay dala-dala ko pa,” he added.

Fortes explained that lack of resources prevented him from entering politics earlier. However, thanks to the Partidong Pagbabago ng Palawan (PPP), he was given the chance to compete for a seat in the first legislative district.

“Matagal na [may balak pumasok sa pulitika], pero wala pa talaga ako noong resources. Nagpapasalamat lang ako ngayon na nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon at may kumuha sa akin na isang partido. Isang karangalan din na irepresenta ang bayan ng Coron, i-represent ang Calamianes sa kapitolyo sa unang distrito ng Palawan,” he said.

Fortes also shared his experience as an ex-seminarian. Though he has left his dream of becoming a priest, he said he hopes he can still express his desire to help others through politics.

“Pumasok ako ng seminary para magpari. Pero sa maraming dahilan, hindi ko yon natupad. Pero hindi nawala sa isip ko ang makatulong sa kapwa. Kaya nga ngayon, nasa edad na rin ako, at hindi man ako natuloy magpari, sa pamamagitan ng pulitika ay nakikita kong isang paraan upang makatulong sa mamamayan dito sa Palawan,” he said.

“Sa pagiging pulitiko, matutupad ang pangarap ko na makatulong sa taumbayan,” he added.

Strengthening agriculture in Calamianes

Asked about his plans for the first district, particularly in the Calamian group of islands, Fortes explained that he wants to focus on agriculture and fisheries. He stated that these two industries in the island towns have long been neglected in favor of strengthening tourism, and that it is time that these two sectors receive adequate attention.

“Dapat din natin isipin na ang Palawan ay mayaman sa likas-yaman. At pagdating sa likas-yaman, papasok na rito ang agrikultura. Kailangan habang umaakyat ang turismo, dapat hindi napapabayaan ang agriculture, at isama na natin dito ‘yong fishery,” he explained.

Focus on education and sports

Fortes also wants to take his experience as an educator to his political career, if he wins. He said he wants to strengthen education, sports, and other youth development programs.

“Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang kahirapan sa edukasyon. Sa youth and development, kailangan magkaroon ng programa talaga na nakatutok sa kabataan. Nakagawian kasi natin na tuwing fiesta lang may liga, after ng fiesta, next year na naman. So ang gagawin natin dito, magkakaroon ng mga programa kung saan nakatutok talaga sa kabataan,” he said.

“Simple lang ang layunin dito. Gawin nating busy ang schedule ng mga kabataan, nang sa gayon ay mailayo sa mga masasamang mga bisyo,” he added.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.