Last week, I disclosed that I had yet to decide whether or not to continue working as the presidential spokesman or move forward elsewhere. Hence, my pronouncement to have some personal time to think about the best possible course of action.
Over the weekend, I finally had time to think thoroughly of my choices. Through the guidance of God, I finally arrived at a decision: to bid farewell as presidential spokesman and start my attempt at going back to the Congress by taking the proposal to be the first nominee of the Luntiang Pilipinas partylist.
This decision, however, is not devoid of any blessing from my principal President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. In fact, last Sunday after the book launch of former President Fidel V. Ramos, PRRD and I had the chance to talk.
My choice of running for an environmental partylist was largely influenced by recent developments that happened in Itogon, Benguet, as well as events that happened in Mactan, Cebu. This is in keeping with the President’s unrelenting desire to protect and preserve the environment. And this does not go against my basic advocacy on human rights because part of these rights is taking good care of Mother Nature.
While it is my long-time dream to be part of the policy-making institution, legislating laws has really been my forte through the years.
For one, as a former partylist representative, I was able to author and co-author various pieces of legislation that had great impact on the lives of our countrymen. These include laws providing free irrigation to our poor farmers, free college education in state universities and colleges, a national feeding program to combat hunger for public school students, free wi-fi Internet access in public areas and strengthening the Philippine comprehensive policy on HIV/AIDS.
In particular, I am very proud of my Universal Health Care (UHC), which I passed as early as August last year before taking over the presidential spokesman role. Currently, the UHC has already passed the third and last reading in the Senate. This will give access to all Filipinos to quality healthcare on the basis of their being citizens of this country.
Now with my new bid as an environmental advocate through the partylist I am running for, I am sure that I will be able to carry out my mandate effectively. It is going to be a new venture, but it is now or never that someone as principled as I am should stand up for the environment.
Moving forward, I envision to legislate laws which will favor nature, especially those that are related to the vision of Luntiang Pilipinas. This partylist’s advocacy is promoting environmental protection and awareness among Filipinos, aside from it being a national urban forestry program.
With all these said, I am more than ready to turning another page on my public office career.
It has been one year since I assumed the presidential spokesman post and I am convinced that my services were valuable because the people do have the right to freedom of information which is corollary to the right to freedom of expression. As a spokesman, I tried my very best to accord the people this right.
To the Office of the President, to the Malacañang Press Corps, to the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, to my staff in the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson and Content Group and to the Filipino people, thank you so much for trusting and working with me. Without your cooperation I would not have succeeded in whatever way I have succeeded. And I look forward to working with you because I simply refuse to vanish into the night.
This is going to be a temporary farewell because you will see Harry Roque once again bouncing back into public life. May our paths cross again.