Paete local bets tackle water shortage, leadership in town debate
LAGUNA, Philippines - Mayoral and vice mayoral candidates in the “Carving Capital of the Philippines” faced off in a local youth-led debate on Sunday, May 1, discussing their plans to solve key issues facing the town of Paete.
Vice mayoral candidates Aurelio Paraiso of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Elizabeth Calma of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) were the first to face each other. Both candidates shared what they plan to do if elected as vice mayor.
"Ako po ay hindi pulitiko kundi lider. Ang lider po ay inuuna ang bayan, ang kapakanan ng bayan at mamamayan at hindi sariling kapakanan," Paraiso, who is the incumbent vice mayor, said. (I am not a politician but a leader. A leader puts his town’s welfare and his constituents first before himself.)
He added, "At bilang tinatawag na lider, tayo ay gaganap na walang pinipili na panahon at oras at araw. Una ang mamamayan at bayan. Hindi ang sarili.”
(As a leader, I will fulfill my roles at any time or place. I will always put Paete and my constituents first.)
Calma, who is a barangay captain, retorted: “Kung ako po ay pagkakalooban ng ating Panginoong Diyos na manalo sa halalang ito, ako po ay magiging isang public servant na maglilingkod sainyo, hindi isang lider na uupo lang sa ating pamahalaang bayan.”
(If God will allow me to win, I will be a public servant who will really serve - not a leader who just sits in the municipal office.)
The water shortage Paete is experiencing was the key issue among the mayoral bets. (READ: Paete local board bets square off in Usluan 2016)
According to Marcelino Cadayona of NPC, there were issues that were posted on Facebook that were not addressed by the incumbent mayor Rojilyn Bagabaldo, who is affiliated with UNA.
“Let’s start with our water supply problem. How can our town thrive if houses don’t have water?” Cadayona asked Bagabaldo.
Bagabaldo, however, dismissed Cadayona's statement and said the problem is not with the water supply but the pipes.
"Hindi totoong walang tubig ang bawat tahanan. Malakas ang tubig, ako ang magpapatunay. Ang suliranin po ay linya. Ang mga linya ng tubig ngayon ay bulok na," Bagabaldo. (It’s not true that households don’t have water. We have a good water supply and I can prove it. The problem is with the piping, which are already damaged.)
He added that if he is reelected, he will lend the local water district P6.3 million ($134,000) from government funds for the rehabilitation of water pipes and P1.5 million ($31,900) for the water source.
Cadayona hit Bagabaldo for not doing enough during his first term and promised that he could solve the problem in 3 months.
Bagabaldo responded that he would try to fix the problem in one week.
The mayoral seat of Paete is hotly contested. Bagabaldo used to serve as vice mayor to Cadayona’s older brother, former mayor Emmanuel Cadayona. This is also the second time the two candidates will face off.
During the 2013 polls, Bagabaldo got 6,708 votes to gain his seat as the municipal mayor, while Cadayona earned 4,367 votes.
Bagabaldo served as councilor from 2001 to 2004, vice mayor from 2004 to 2013, and mayor from 2013 to 2016.
The candidates were asked why they should be elected as Paete’s top officials.
"Ang inyo pong lingkod ay nagnanais muli na maging pangalawang punong bayan. At ako po ay nagsusumamo po muli, sapagkat ako ay may malasakit, nagsasakripisyo sa ating bayan at mamayan," Paraiso said. (Your servant is asking again to become vice mayor. I am asking you this because I care for you and am willing to sacrifice for our town and you.)
"Pinapangako ko po sainyo na pagsisilbihan namin kayo ng tapat, walang kinikilingan, walang kulay-kulay, lahat pantay-pantay,” said Calma. (I promise you that I will serve you without any biases or political colors. Everyone will be treated equally.)
Among the mayoral candidates, Bagabaldo said that his edge is his experience in public service which is opponent does not have.
“I believe that the town of Paete has smart voters. I believe that on May 9, the yellow party (UNA) will smile and the red party (NPC) will be angry as always,” he said.
Cadayona ended his speech saying that honesty is more important than experience.
“It’s more important that we give the town what they deserve and not abuse government funds. It’s high time that we guard the government funds and set things right. It’s time we clean up the streets of Paete. We don’t need someone with experience to clean up this town,” he concluded.
The local debate was organized by Paete Youth Collective (PYC), a youth organization in the municipality, in partnership with MovePH. Usluan 2016 was the first local debate to be held in Paete. - Rappler.com
Karla Sambajon and Janella Masilungan are Rappler movers in Laguna.
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