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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 29, 2011
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Mar to convey Negros
concerns to president
BY CARLA GOMEZ

Former Senator Mar Roxas yesterday met with Negros Occidental officials to help bring their concerns to the attention of President Benigno Aquino and expressed interest in replicating the province’s comprehensive health care program in other areas of the country.

“I’m just here as a Negrense trying to help in whatever way I can to push the programs of the province…and bring them to the attention of the president,” he said.

Roxas refused to say what position he would take on in the Aquino administration.

“You have to ask the president, I am only here as a waterboy,” he said.

Roxas was briefed on the programs being implemented in Negros Occidental at a meeting with Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez and Representatives Alfredo Marañon III (second district), Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (third district) and Mercedes Alvarez (sixth district) at the Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City.

Roxas said he was briefed on the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Care Program (NOCHP) that aims to provide free health care for all Negrenses, and the province’s rice and livestock programs.

The NOCHP is “very, very ground breaking and pioneering, I’m very excited to see the elements of the program being put into practice. Certainly, this is consistent with the president’s campaign promise also with regards to universal health care,” he said.

The governor asked him to inform the president about the Negros health care program so it can be helped, Roxas said.

Yesterday was the first time Roxas had visited Negros Occidental since he was defeated in his bid for the vice presidency by Jejomar Binay last year.

Although Roxas lost on the national level, he won by a wide margin over the vice president in Negros Occidental.

Asked if he would meet with his Negrense supporters considering that he even garnered more votes than the president in Negros Occidental, Roxas said “my mother is from here, I consider myself Negrosanon. I’m thankful for the help and support given to me, that is why I want to help make Negros progressive.”

He said a visit of President Aquino to Negros was also being worked out.

Roxas was invited by the governor to watch the football match between the Philippines and Mongolia at the Paglaum Sports Stadium on February 9 and he said he would come.

Marañon and Benitez said Roxas is interested in replicating the NOCHP in other areas of the country.

Benitez also said Roxas was in Negros Occidental as the president’s troubleshooter.

“I’m sure he has the president’s ear in terms of economic programs that the will be implemented,” he said.

“For us the more people listen to our programs the better,” Benitez said.*CPG

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