Mother Lily Monteverde, matriarch of Regal Films, hosted a presscon for Quezon City vice mayor candidate Joy Belmonte yesterday, January 19, at Imperial Palace Suites in Quezon City. The film producer supports the tandem of Belmonte and mayoralty candidate Herbert Bautista.
Joy Belmonte was in a bubbly mood when she was introduced to the press. She also cleared herself from several allegations of her "lack of experience" in governance, from opponent Aiko Melendez. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
She said that although she has no experience serving in an elected position, she has already served many years in public service, through several non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
"Wala akong karanasan sa halal na posisyon. Ngunit sa larangan po ng paglilingkod-bayan, e, marami na po akong karanasan. Nung ako ay nasa kolehiyo pa lamang ay nagtayo na ng mga organisasyon na nagbibigay ng serbisyo sa ating mga depressed communities. Ako po'y nagtapos ng college, sumali po ako sa Jesuit Volunteers Philippines. Naging volunteer teacher po ako sa Bukidnon, na nagtuturo ng mga anak ng magsasaka doon," Joy narrated.
Concern for the plight of the poor, therefore, is inherent in her, Joy said.
"Kung kaya kapag sinasabi sa akin na hindi ko naiintindihan ang suliranin ng mga maralitang taga-lungsod, hindi po totoo 'yan. Dun po sa tinirhan kong baryo, wala pong umaagos na tubig, wala pong kuryente, wala pong sementadong kalye, ngunit dinanas ko po 'yan. Marami na po akong sinapian na organisasyon at foundation na ang layunin ay tunay na volunteerism at public service," she added.
Belmonte further noted that her NGO experience makes her more effective than a politician in poverty alleviation.
"Ayon sa ADB reports, halimbawa, one of the reasons why we are unsuccessful with poverty alleviation in our country is because there's too much politics, and politics hinders genuine reforms and genuine change," she said.
POVERTY ALLEVIATION. Belmonte said her number one priority as vice mayor would be solving poverty. According to the Quezon City Urban Poor Affairs Office (QC-UPAO), around 200,000 families in the city are informal settlers.
"Gusto ko tumaas ang pamumuhay ng mga mamamayan sa Quezon City... katulad ng, walang nanay na namamatay sa pagpapanganak. Walang batang namamatay, five and below. Walang baby na namamatay," she said.
To help infomal settlers get more decent homes, Belmonte said she wants to create a lot of jobs.
"Livelihood and job creation definitely. Halimbawa sinasabi, maraming informal settlers, dapat bigyan ng pabahay. And yet, kung tulungan mong tumaas ang suweldo nila, magkaroon ng trabaho, magkakaroon naman talaga sila ng lilipatan. You don't have to give all of them houses, di ba?" she said.
FATHER'S REACTION. Joy Belmonte told the press that her father, Mayor Belmonte, did not react harshly when actress-politician Aiko Melendez's tirades against her came out in the media. The actress will also run as vice mayor with former Secretary Mike Defensor as her running-mate. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
"Well, kung sumama man yung loob niya, hindi niya pinaalam sa akin. Wala rin siyang reaction. You can defend that naman, e, kung tanungin ka... so okay lang yun," Belmonte said.
Joy added that Mayor Belmonte thinks Aiko Melendez has the right to run for vice mayor.
"My dad, you know, sinasabi niya, everybody has a right to run to the position that they want. Everybody has a right to fulfill their dream. So kung dream ni Aiko 'yan, let her do it," she said.
FAMILY. Joy Belmonte is married to Raymond Alimurung, who graduated Medicine from the University of the Philippines in Manila. He also finished an MBA degree in Stanford, and is currently working in Amazon.com in the United States.
"Sabi ko, 'Habang ginagawa ko itong pangangampanya, diyan ka muna sa Amerika. Para pag natalo ako, dun tayo sa Amerika. May Plan B tayo, hindi tayo magugutom. Tapos pag nanalo, dito ka, punta ka,'" joked Joy.
The couple have a one-year-old son named Gael, who accompanies his mom in her meetings and other events related to the elections.
The candidate for vice mayor is an archaeologist by profession, and specializes in colonial period archaeology. She has led excavation jobs in Intramuros, Cebu, Batanes, and Cavite.
WHY NOT MAYOR? One of the main reasons Belmonte is joining politics is to continue the programs of her father, who is running for congressman.
She said she decided to run for vice mayor instead of mayor because Mayor Belmonte has already endorsed incumbent Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista to run for the top city post.
"Si Mayor naman, really endorsed Herbert talaga," she said.
She added that she wants to do politics "one step at a time."
"Ang pag vice mayor, e, pag vice mayor. We do it one step at a time. Ang layunin ko dito, una, ipagpatuloy yung sinimulan ng tatay ko. Dahil meron siyang malawakang vision para sa lungsod. Gusto ko lang matuloy yon," she said.
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