Paete local board bets square off in Usluan 2016

James Andrew Malihan
Paete local board bets square off in Usluan 2016
Good governance, and peace and order are the core platforms of most of the 16 candidates vying for a seat at Paete's municipal council

LAGUNA, Philippines – Paeteños heard their municipal board candidates’ plans and platforms as they faced off during the first part of Usluan 2016 on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Sixteen out of the 22 candidates for the 8 seats of the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) showed up for the debate. Eight of the candidates present came from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party under the incumbent mayor Rojilyn Bagabaldo. The other eight came from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) – dubbed as “Nagkaisang Bisig” (United Struggle) – under Arcel Cadayona.

Despite the heat and glare of the setting sun, Paeteños flocked to the municipal plaza to express their support for their bets. Masses of yellow (for UNA) and red (for NPC) cheered for their candidates.

Key platforms

All 16 candidates delivered their platforms to the Paete crowd. Each candidate was given two minutes to present their plans if they get elected to the position.

Good governance, and peace and order were the core platforms of Dewey Cadapan, Maximo Ballares and Efren Capco of NPC, and Hermie Bagonggahasa, Zaldy Mendoza and Pete Paz of UNA.

Ems Afuang of UNA and Roy Afurong of NPC focused on their 3-year plan on health and social sevices, while Yolly Bagamano of UNA focused on education and additional school buildings in far-flung villages.

PLATFORM. Candidate Pete Paz of UNA says peace and order is his top priority should he get elected. Photo by Mary Joy Gelit/ Rappler

Obet Pascual (NPC) and Fely Cajumban (UNA) tackled giving skills training to the uneducated youth, as UNA’s Doy Baldemor and Marilou Madridejos discussed the environment and national resources.

Other areas of focus for the candidates include NPC’s Bokwet Cosico’s on local water services, Emer Gajitos’ mobile passporting, and Santa Yumang’s women and elderly rights.

Technical difficulties, crowd reactions

Due to technical difficulties during the first part of the debate, one candidate walked out of the podium even before his alloted time finished.

NPC’s Eriberto Pascual stopped speaking when the buzzer rang. He was urged to keep going as the countdown timer continued with more than a minute left. Pascual suddenly dropped the microphone and was about to sit down, but his co-party members urged him to finish the rest of his discussion.

Yan tuloy, nalimutan ko na sasabihin ko.” Pascual said several times within his talk. (Great, now I forgot what I must say.)

Pascual ended his talk cussing about the incident.

Despite the complaints about the sound system and the technical difficulties, most of the attendees appreciated the event.

Marisa Ulberio, a 43-year-old resident, said she was delighted of the event, “Nalaman ko kasi ang mga plataporma at plano nila.” (I got to know their platforms and plans.)

Maganda na nagkaroon ng ganitong debate, kasi makikilala mo ng husto ang mga kandidato,” John Crisostomo Labing, a  20-year-old student, added. (It’s good that we have this debate because we will get to know more about the candidates.)

There are 17,282 registered voters in Paete for the May 9 polls. Last 2013, UNA’s Bagabaldo got 6,708 votes to gain his seat as the municipal mayor, while Cadayona earned 4,367 votes.

No-show candidates

Seven other candidates, however, did not show up for the debate. Brigido Bagayana, Armando Baguio, Floserpida Bucayu, Lorie Cadawas, and Rupert Joseph Velasco, all under the Nacionalista Party, were absent during the program.

In a statement released by the party, the 5 local bets apologized to the community for their absence. They stated that there was an event scheduled prior to the invitation for the Usluan. Other candidates who were not present at the debate were independent candidates Noy Balquierda and Ferdinand Concepcion. Both released no statements for their absences.

The local debate was organized by Paete Youth Collective (PYC), a youth organization in the municipality, in partnership with Move.PH. Usluan 2016 was the first local debate to be held in Paete. – Rappler.com

A student of the Laguna State Polytechnic University, James Andrew Malihan is one of Rappler’s core Movers in Laguna.

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