MANILA – The lone female and Muslim contender running under the opposition banner Otso Diretso remains focused on her goal to win a seat in the Senate in the May elections, despite not making it to Pulse Asia's "Magic 12."
Samira Gutoc's candidate awareness number was at 19 points in the February pre-election survey and her voter preference was at 4.4 percent.
Despite lagging behind other candidates, Gutoc still remains optimistic.
"My team and I were ecstatic. From 1 percent awareness to 4; and from 40 to 26…I mean that's a big leap for me na Gutoc, hindi kilala. Malaking bagay. I credit my team," said Gutoc in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Aside from tapping social media in her campaign, she also pins her hopes on their clans.
"They are everywhere in the country. We have 600 cousins, they are working abroad and here and they made patak-patak," she said.
Gutoc served as a Moro assemblywoman under President Rodrigo Duterte, but resigned 3 months later after the first Mindanaoan president cracked a joke about rape and declared martial law in Mindanao.
She said she will preserve the gains of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) if given a chance to serve in the Senate.
"The budget that should be nakalaan sa ating pro-kapayapaan progrmaing like the BOL. Mindanao peace programming and in general," she said.
The budget that should be nakalaan sa ating pro-kapayapaan programming like the BOL should be there…Mindanao peace programming and peace programming in general. I'll push for [Philippine Military Academy], Army to have more women generals," she said.
Like other candidates, Gutoc is also hoping to be considered by several religious groups in the country. She admitted that she did reach out to some of them through channels, but have yet to talk with its leaders.
In the same interview, Gutoc reiterated her stand on several issues including martial law in Mindanao and death penalty.
"You really need to have a civilian government in place. That's democracy. Hindi na tayo 1970s. Jolo blast happened. Zamboanga blast happened…it didn't shield us. You're going to have to strengthen enforcement mechanisms pa rin," she said.
On death penalty, Gutoc said the Philippine justice system still has loopholes.
"As long as the court is not corrected, we still go non-death penalty," she stressed.
— ANC Headstart 20 March 2019