Young candidates from showbiz-and-political families are vying for locally-elected positions with the main goal of providing livelihood for people impacted by the pandemic.
Gunning for congressman under the Agimat Partylist, Bryan Revilla, 34, has an agenda of anti-poverty programs if elected: creating an emergency unemployment assistance program that not only serves government and corporate workers but also for the informal sector. It aims to expand government assistance and more unemployment benefits; increasing the minimum wage to accommodate the current standards of living without compromising the profitability of the business sector; providing security and protection to the street vendors and sellers; formulating a law to supply hazard and risk allowances to healthcare workers in the government and private sectors, including frontliners such as barangay health workers, during the pandemic and other emergency situations; and enhancing the barangay health care program.
“One of my priority bills is to craft a law giving regular salaries, emergency benefits and hazard pay, medical facilities and supplies to our barangay health care workers during this pandemic,” says Revilla.
A third-generation movie actor, Revilla hopes to endow assistance to workers in the performing arts, entertainment and film industry who lost jobs in this pandemic and to help them restart their work.
Revilla grew up in a political family. His grandfather, the late action star, Ramon Revilla, served the Senate for 12 years. His father, Ramon Jr. or Bong likewise an action star, has been in politics 26 years and has been a senator since 2004. His mother, former actress Lani Mercado is mayor of Bacoor, Cavite.
A graduate of Consular and Diplomatic Affairs in De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, the younger Revilla says that more than the family’s political tradition, he believes that politics is his calling. He has been working in Bacoor’s rehabilitation program for drug surrenderees.
Graduates of this community program have quit their substance abuse and found jobs as skilled workers and rehab counsellors.
“We want to help these people to stay away from drub abuse and crime and show them that we are capable of doing great things as long as we work together and trust the Lord,” says Revilla.
To prepare for his platform, the political aspirant conducted consultations and caucuses. “What struck me profoundly were their persistent concerns on employment, livelihood and social services. My family and I have helped in our own capacity. When elected, I will surely address these concerns immediately on a nationwide scale and solve these in an institutional level.”
For his motto, he quotes his late grandfather as saying, “It is not enough that the Filipino people should be served, but they should be served well.”
Meanwhile, Nina Sotto, 37, daughter-in-law of singer-turned councilor Val Sotto, is making her foray in politics as she is running for councilor in Parañaque.
Her agenda focuses on providing livelihood or employment, creating equal opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs), empowering women through skills training and educating mothers about breastfeeding, addressing mental health by providing programs and opening a place where people can seek professional help for free, job generation for people displaced by the pandemic, providing free training programs with allowance, and giving people starter sets to jump start small businesses and teaching them how to budget their finances.
While studying mass communications at the College of the Holy Spirit, Sotto would represent her school in Extemporaneous, Impromptu, Memorized and Manuscript speech competitions. She went to St. Scholastica’s Manila from prep to high school. Her father-in-law and her husband, Viktor “Wahoo” Sotto, also a councilor, noted her courage and confidence to undertake public service.
No stranger to politics, Sotto was a member of the logistics and campaign team of her father-in-law and the Think Tank Team of her husband. “We formed programs to address the needs of our constituents. With 18 years of experience, I have learned the ropes. Working with my husband, I was inspired by his joy in serving others, and he has helped transform lives. I have learned to embrace service and I aspire to serve well.”
While her immediate family has been in politics for three decades, she has also been inspired by Val’s brother, Senate Pres Vicente Sotto III, and comedian Vic Sotto, father of Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto. “From the senator, I learned that grit and resiliency are keys to longevity in government service. His mission is very clear that no matter what life throws at him, he stands strong,” says Nina.
She admires the mayor for his conviction. “This is what enables him to make decisions, whether they are popular or not, as long as it benefits the majority of the constituents he serves.”
That independent-mindedness, which is characteristic of the Sotto clan, is what she will carry. (Ayunan G. Gunting)