THE BRIGHT AND THE BRAVE — this is what some Visayan and Mindanaoan political leaders describe the emerging tandem of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez and Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo for the much-anticipated presidential race in 2028.

Romualdez hails from Leyte and could be the first Waray to become the country’s fourth Visayan president after Sergio Osmeña Sr. of Cebu, Manuel Acuña Roxas of Capiz and Carlos Polistico Garcia of Bohol.

On the other hand, Erwin Tulfo would also likely become the second vice president from Davao.

This early, presidential cousin Martin Romualdez and hard-hitting journalist-turned-Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) partylist representative Erwin Tulfo are making their presence felt by showing their hands-on decisive leadership in addressing the country’s problems.

Last August 30, in response to complaints against rice hoarding, Romualdez and Tulfo joined the Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives in another round of surprise inspection of rice warehouses in Bulacan.

An estimated P519 million worth of imported rice and local palay were discovered sitting in four different warehouses in two Bulacan towns.

Prior to this raid, Romualdez also joined the BOC operatives in closing down three warehouses in Bulacan storing P505 million worth of suspected smuggled rice from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand during their operations last Aug. 24.

“Yun lang ang warning natin sa lahat. Kung anong supply niyo ilabas niyo agad, wag niyo hintayin tumaas ang presyo sa world market. Nagbabantay kami at babalik kami dito. Kung kailangang i-raid ng Customs, ipapa-raid natin at kukunin natin at ibibigay natin sa mamamayan sa tamang presyo,” Romualdez said.

The presidential cousin then told BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio that rice smugglers and hoarders must be sent to jail for committing a “heinous crime.”

At the same time, showing his compassion for the poor, Romualdez proposed that the rice confirmed to be either smuggled or hoarded be seized by the government and then sold at very low prices.

$2M Harvard preceptor funding

Meanwhile, the Harvard Crimson daily newspaper of Harvard University said that Romualdez committed $2 million (P113.4 million) to fund the Filipino language instructor’s post.

“Funding for the preceptor position wasn’t guaranteed to last longer than three years — until Romualdez’s pledge,” the report published Thursday, September 14, read.

As of this posting, Romualdez has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

But for Jose Marco C. “Marcky” Antonio II, a co-president of the Harvard Undergraduate Philippine Forum, the focus should be on the existence of a Filipino language course at Harvard in the first place, not the source of its funding.

“I’m just really, really grateful for the fact that the Filipino language is being taught at Harvard. And it’s just really frustrating that this is sort of detracting from the fact that it’s such a major achievement,” he said.

I agree with Marcky.

For me, the Filipinos, both here and abroad, should be thankful to Romualdez if it’s true that he’s the donor.

We should be proud that the first-ever Filipino language course is being taught in the world-renowned Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. (ai/mnm)