Former vice governor Arthur “Art” Ventura is determined to fight corruption and establish “leadership by example” in Palawan as he takes another run for governor in the May 9 elections.
Ventura stressed in an interview with Palawan News through The Profile that corruption is the top cause of the increase in poverty incidence in the province. He said Palawan resources such as Malampaya gas, internal revenue allotment (IRA), and taxes can be utilized to elevate the lives of Palaweños without the need for a loan.
However, these resources only go to politicians with personal interests, he added.
“Napakaganda (ng kakaharapin ng Palawan) pero ‘yan ay base kung talagang masasagot o ma-curb natin itong tinatawag nating corruption. Iyan ang pangunahing problema sa ating lalawigan. Hangga’t nandiyan ang mga corrupt na politiko, corrupt na department head, corrupt na ahensya ng ating lalawigan, mahihirapan tayo,” Ventura said.
“Kung ma-curb natin itong corruption, madali natin maiaangat ang ating ekonomiya. Madali tayong magkakaroon ng subsidies in agriculture, sa farmers, sa mangingisda. Pwede tayong gumawa ng mga livelihood center. Mayaman tayo sa isda, sa niyog—ni isa ba meron ka nakitang livelihood center dito na ang ating coconut industry ay merong isang gumawa ng mantika, sabon at saka natin i-export?” he added.
Ventura said he believes the processing of value-added products must also be done in Palawan to increase the sales of agricultural products instead of just producing raw products.
He also said he is confident that he never had experience in land grabbing from his time as executive director of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), vice governor, acting governor, and board member.
He recalled that during his time in PCSDS, there was direct participation from different stakeholders, and the management respected the views of experts.
“Ganyan sana muli ang PCSD, walang kampi-kampi. Sundin lang ang batas, hindi tayo magkakamali. Hindi ‘yong parang anarkyal o diktatoryal na pag-uutos. [Dapat] direktang partisipasyon, direktang pakikipag-uganayan ng mamamayan tulad ng IPs,” he said.
One of his projects as governor will be to establish livelihood centers, which he believes will provide job opportunities for locals. Ventura said that teaching locals how to earn by themselves is better than just giving them money to bring back their dignity as Palaweños.
“Kung sakaling bigyan ako ng pagkakataon, ipapakita ko sa kanila ang tunay na tinatawag natin na leadership by example,” he said.
When asked about his views on different environmental issues, Ventura took aim at the coal-fired power plant, saying it is disastrous, adding that different energy sources can also be utilized to address the power problem in Palawan.
He also took a swipe at mining companies operating in the province.
“Kung ang mining ay nag-overboard doon sa batas, diyan natin pakikialam sila ng husto. Hindi pupwede ‘yan pero kung sinasabi nila na may sustainable mining, so why not? Huwag lang talaga na pagkatapos ng year mo, nagkaroon ng pekeng environmental clearance, ‘yan ang hindi tama,” he said.
This is the third time that Ventura is aiming for the province’s top post after failed bids in the 2016 and 2019 elections. He is running again after getting an endorsement from One Palawan for Good Governance movement.
“Muli sasabihin ko, ang pagpasok ko ay wala akong tinatagong pansariling kapakanan. Ang gusto ko lang katulad ng pinairal ng One Palawan for Good Governance na kung saan, ang One Palawan, sa sikap ng liderato tulad ni Cynthia (Sumgaysay), ng inyong abang lingcod at ng iba ay nanalo tayo against sa 3-in-1—hanggang ngayon naniniwala pa rin sa akin lalo na ‘yong matatandang Palaweño,” he said.