Filipino voters, especially those who live and/or work in Metro Manila, definitely cannot miss the name Atty. Francis N. Tolentino in the list of candidates for senators in the 2016 national election. But this doesn’t guarantee that they will vote for him.
With the kind of airtime that major media networks gives to the traffic congestion that we have in te metropolis, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and former Chairman Tolentino was a regular “personality” in TV morning programs and radio shows like the hosts and announcers.
After his stint at the helm of MMDA, Tolentino has take on an even bigger challenge as he vie for one of the 12 seats for the senate net year. The road will not be easy as he maneuver himself self away from the “traffic” of a total of 172 senatorial bets who officially filed their certificates based on the records Commission on Elections (Comelec). He is joined in the race by incumbent and former senators and congressmen, Cabinet members, and other high-ranking government officials.
Last November 28, Tolentino held a media roundtable with bloggers and writers from local online portals and engage himself in an afternoon of Q and A session over meryenda at Annabel’s Restaurant at Quezon City.
On Social Media and Technology
Tolentino, who is a regular columnist of the Manila Bulletin and author of various books like Philippine Cities Creation (1999) and Soul of Freedom (Book 2006) to name a few, believes in the power of social media.
“It’s part of the technological growth. Social media is real time,” Tolentino compares how fast news and information can be shared with just a click of the finger to the time that is required before they will broadcasted over TV or radio and printed on the newspaper.
He also has an eye for innovation that he is proposing for new approach in dealing different issues that Filipinos faces every day. One of these is introducing a satellite technology for farmers that will be bundled with an insurance system to compensate the lost of crops and properties when calamities arrive. The satellite will be able to survey and accurately compute the cost of damage
Tolentino is proud to share that as the MMDA Chair, he was able to introduce many innovative programs that will useful and effective for years to come, “Under my leadership we have established one Pasig ferry system terminal and an integrated bus terminal. For the entertainment industry, we have launched the cellphone film festival, new wave film festival, and the digital archiving of films.”
On running for higher office
Tolentino is a Doctor of Judicial Science (International Environmental Law) (Candidate, SJD) – Tulane University Law School (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA); was elected as Mayor of Tagaytay City for three (3) consecutive terms (1995-2004); the President of the League of Cities of the Philippines (2001-2004) and the Executive Vice President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (2001-2004).
When asked why he is seeking for a a seat in the senate, he said that he can do more given a chance to entrusted by the people as a legislator. Tolentino emphasized that he wants to amend the Local Government Code that will increase the allocation of Internal Revenue Allotment based o performance and automatic release to LGUs; create Police Youth Reserve Corps for peace and order and disaster response; establish and support community colleges, build community airports in support of tourism; and create a Philippine Urban Development Commission that will work closely with LGUs to promote the concept of planned cities to prevent problems experienced in the NCR from happening elsewhere.
In the midst of criticism for failing to to solved the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila, he is proud to say that under his leadership in the MMDA, there was no garbage crisis nor any record of a terrorist attack. This he would like to credit with the hardworking and passionate men and women of his agency who he have worked with from 2010 to 2015.
The traffic congestion is one issue that seems to get worse as years go by because Tolentino points out that the problem rooted from the lack of sound urban planning decades ago. He sums up the situation by asking a simple yet meaningful question, “Why do people in the provinces have to go to Metro Manila to look for a job or bring their patients for hospital care?”
Tolentino has a vision to bring community development projects all throughout the country and thus the idea of everything is in Metro Manila will be erased in mind of Filipinos who wants to prosper in life.
And just like the ordinary heroes we see along the streets manning the traffic prone areas rain or shine, helping out lost motorists or vehicular accident victims, and making sure that we are safe every time, Tolentino is a ready aide willing to go through the long and seems like “forever” traffic jam to reach his destination and to realize his visions for the country.