TACLOBAN CITY- Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said that he is now “open” on the possibility of running for a Senate seat in the 2016 national elections.
Romualdez, serving Leyte’s first congressional district which counts seven towns and Tacloban City, is now on his third and last term.
“Well, we are open to it. We want to be a positive factor; we want to be a positive force. Anything for the city and the district and entire Eastern Visayas region, we want to be a part of,” Romualdez said.
The solon, who is the national president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat, said that the current composition of the Senate appears not to be favorable to Eastern Visayas, the poorest region of the three Visayas regions.
In contrast, Western and Central Visayas are enjoying relative economic developments and have their own representatives at the Senate, Romualdez added.
He expressed his lament that Eastern Visayas, home to more than 4 million people and still reeling with the aftermath of the Supertyphoon Yolanda, does not get funding from the national government.
“The budget allocation for the entire country is that the Visayas gets 14 percent, 24 percent goes to Mindanao and the balance goes to Luzon. And when we look at the composition of the Senate, there seems to be a correlation between the representation and the allocation, if not development,” Romualdez said.
“We want to correct this seeming imbalance. Obviously, we want to be in the position that one day, we can help out and bring more… (development) to Region 8,” he added.
At present, the Visayas region is represented at the Senate by Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Serge Osmeña and Franklin Drilon, the Senate president.
Drilon and Santiago are from Iloilo (Western Visayas) while Osmeña is from Cebu.
The closest representative of Eastern Visayas to the Senate is Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, cousin of Romualdez.
Romualdez is a nephew of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos.
Eastern Visayas had its only senator in Jose Avelino who even became the president of the Senate. During the 2007 national elections, former Leyte governor and now Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla was drafted to run for senator under Lakas-CMD only to withdraw to seek for a third term as a governor. (JOEY A. GABIETA)