Top CDO mayoral candidates face-off

Giano Libot
Two top contenders for the mayoral post of Cagayan de Oro battle it out in a forum


FACE OFF. Mayor Emano (left) debates with Governor Moreno(right) inside the XU gym. Photo by Rene Gandeza Jr.

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – City Hall versus the Provincial Capitol, that was the theme of the debate between the two leading candidates for mayor of Cagayan de Oro (CDO), as incumbent mayor Vicente Emano faced off against incumbent Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno in a forum organized by Xavier University on Tuesday, May 7.

The candidates tackled five prominent issues identified by the organizers based on the university’s recent survey. There are seven people running for mayor in the city, but Moreno and Emano are the top contenders in the race.

First salvo

The environment, peace and order, governance, health and sanitation, and food security were the central issues in the afternoon’s discussion.

Emano claimed the following as his administration’s accomplishments: privatizing the city’s garbage collection; the transfer of the city landfill to a better location; reforestation; and clean air projects with the cooperation of local universities.

Moreno countered that the Mayor did not take time to explain his initiatives for managing the Cagayan de Oro River in light of destruction brought about by typhoon Sendong. Moreno proposed that the city create a mining regulatory board, similar to what he established for the province.

Rule of law

CANDIDATES. Mayor Emano (left) with Fr.Bobby Yap SJ (center) and Governor Moreno(right) after the debate. Photo taken from Moreno's facebook page

The exchange went more personal as Moreno hit Emano’s lax enforcement of the law in the city, saying “Lisod kaayo subayon ang balaod, kung mismo ang mayor manigarilyo sa kung asa ang bawal (It is hard to follow the law when even the mayor himself smokes in places where it isn’t even allowed).”

Emano was quick to defend himself by stating that peace and order has always been his legacy, even when he was mayor of Tagoloan. “Crime is inevitable, but we have been able to combat it and CDO still remains as one of the most livable and peaceful city’s in Mindanao,” said Emano.

He also claimed good governance and the provision of quality service as his legacies, saying “Kung ako magkulang, kinahanglan pud ma suspensohon ako.” (If I fail, I too must be suspended. He added that his office has consistently responded to those seeking funeral services and stocks of medicines that are allegedly neglected by Moreno. 

Moreno rebutted these accusations claiming that it was his office that responded first during typhoon Sendong.  He also enumerated the achievements that he has done under his administration, including the emancipation of former communist insurgents.

General hospital

Things started to heat up when the debate on health cropped up.  The debate centered on the alleged mismanagement of the J.R Borja General Hospital, an issue used heavily against the Emano administration.  For years the hospital has been cited as the caricature of poor management in the city and has constantly been cited as a failure. 

Mayor Emano rebutted by allegding that Moreno spent excessively on the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the provincial hospital.

However, Moreno capitalized on this attack by claiming that people from the city would rather be confined in NMMC than J.R Borja.  He also accused Emano for ignoring the health sector, enumerating the lack of health provisions implemented under his terms as governor and mayor of Misamis Oriental.

HAPPY THAT IT'S OVER. Governor Moreno is flanked by his supporters after the debate. Photo by Rappler/Giano Libot

Moreno is on his third term as Governor of Misamis Oriental, under the Liberal Party. He served as a two-term Congressman for the first district of Misamis Oriental from 1998-2004.

Emano is running under the Padayon Pilipino Party. He was previously mayor of the city from 1998-2007 and was also Governor of Misamis Oriental from 1988-1998.–


Giano Libot is a Rappler Mover. Follow him on Twitter for real-time updates.

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