Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto was the guest of honor at the induction ceremony of the officers of the Movie Writers and Press Photographers Association of the Philippines (MOWPPAP). The event was held last Friday, March 19, at Dulcinea on Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
As the Batangas governor shook hands with the members of the organization, she explained that her husband Ralph Recto would be unable to join them as he was still in Bicol.
After leading the induction, the Star for All Seasons sat down with MOWPPAP President Nap Alip and the other members to discuss her future plans for Batangas.
CORY MOVIE. When asked if she has plans of running for a national position, Vilma has consistently said that she wants to focus on Batangas, where she has been serving for the past 12 years. The multi-awarded actress entered politics by first serving as mayor of Lipa City for three consecutive terms. This is her second term as governor of Batangas.
"Ang dami ko ngang naka-lineup—hindi ko magawa! Yung in-offer ni Malou [Santos, managing director of Star Cinema], yung kay Cory [Aquino]. Meron rin akong movie with Chito Roño pero I cannot commit kasi priority ang public service, e.
"Ang initial offer kasi sa akin, ihahabol this August para sa death anniversary ni Cory. Pero sabi ko, eleksyon ngayon, hindi ko magagawa. Hindi naman puwedeng after ng eleksyon, shooting na ako," explained Vilma.
She added, "Sinabi ko naman sa kanila, bali-baliktarin n'yo man, nasa dugo ko na 'yan, e. Siyam na taon pa lang ako, nasa industriya na ako. But when it comes to public service, sa pagkakaalam ko, I have served Batangas with dignity."
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Ms. Vilma if she and Kris Aquino have discussed this upcoming tribute movie to the late president.
"Initially, napag-usapan namin pero sinasabi ko naman sa kanya, textmates naman kami, so sinasabi ko sa kanya na [baka hindi ko magawa] kasi kampanya. Pero sinabi lang niya na, 'Ikaw ang gusto ng pamilya namin.' Malaking bagay yun that it came from her."
Vilma also clarified that she is very grateful to Star Cinema for considering her for this project.
"Malinaw naman ang usapan namin ng Star Cinema. In fact, yung In My Life, three years silang naghintay, sa totoo lang. I'm very thankful to Star Cinema, naghintay talaga sila. Pero hangga't hindi ako available, nandiyan lang ang proyekto.
"It depends if they can wait kung kelan ako available—thank you. Kung hindi naman, I will understand kasi priority pa rin ang pagiging public servant. Yun pa rin ang second priority ko after my immediate family," she said.
ON RALPH RECTO'S SENATORIAL BID. Vilma is very happy to point out that her husband, Ralph Recto, has landed 6th place in the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations. The former senator is seeking reelection this May.
It will be recalled that in 2004, Sen. Recto authored the law imposing expanded value added tax (E-VAT) on goods and services. Many believe that Ralph lost his reelection bid in 2007 because of this unpopular measure.
Vilma declared, "I'm very positive and I will always stay behind my husband. He is my mentor. Kung sinasabi nilang I am doing good, well-guided ako ng asawa ko. Kaya lang nabibigyan siya ng negative [image] o pagtingin sa kanya kasi maybe because sa mga bills na ginagawa niya.
"That's why I respect Ralph. Hindi niya binawi 'yan, e. Kahit na pinag-initan siya, hindi niya binawi hanggang sa huling sandali. Kasi alam niya kaya niya ginawa yun, it's for the good of the country.
"And in the first place, hindi papasa ang bill na 'yan, ang e-VAT na 'yan kung hindi pinirmahan ng majority ng Senate. Pero nung nagkaipitan, parang siya na lang mag-isa. At hindi na tinayuan ng iba. For that, hindi binawi ng asawa ko at lalong lumaki ang respeto ko sa kanya.
"Kaya napasa 'yan [E-VAT law], maraming pumabor. Kung naging mali ang paggamit ng VAT na 'yan, hindi na problema ng asawa ko. Dahil that VAT is intended para sa basic needs na pangangailangan natin. With the recession that we are experiencing, nakaramdam ang mga bansa sa Asia ng recession pero ang bumuhay sa atin ang E-VAT," explained the Batangas governor.
"Sabi nga nila, walang masama sa buwis," Vilma continued. "Gamitin lang nang tama ang buwis. Kaya nahihirapan rin ang tao kasi yung dapat na buwis na maramdaman ng mga tao, hindi nila nararamdaman. That's why maiintindihan mo rin kung bakit ganyan ang pakiramdam nila pag pinag-usapan na ang buwis.
"Pero ang buwis ay responsibilidad ng lahat ng tao, hindi tayo mabubuhay kung wala ring buwis. Ang issue na lang dito ngayon ay ang tiwala. [Ang tanong ng mamamayan] 'Magbabayad kami ng buwis, magagamit at mababalik ba namin 'yan?' Yun ang issue."
CLICK HERE to view the video of Vilma Santos explaining her decision to make public service her top priority.