CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Elected top officials of Cagayan De Oro city took their oaths of office on Sunday, June 30.
Mayor Oscar Moreno, 1st district representative Rolando Uy, 2nd district representative Rufus Rodriguez, Abanet Mindanao (AbaMin) party-list representative Maxi Rodrgiuez and re-elected senator Koko Pimentel were sworn in in front of a crowd of at least 2,000.
“This is an unprecedented event…a joint inauguration in this city. A first and a symbol that we build the future now,” said Rodriguez in his speech.
Former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel, hailed as the first Senate President of Mindanao and a true son of the city, administered the oaths of office to the officials.
“Kani nga celebrasyon dili gapasabot na ang kaugmaon makuha na nato ugma, kung dili dapat nato bantayan ang liberasyon sa atong dakbayan,” Pimentel said. (This celebration does not mean that the future has already been won. This only means that we need to be vigilant for the liberation of our city.)
Re-elected senator Koko Pimentel said that the new set of leaders will hopefully bring about change in the city.
“We have tried to imagine before a leadership that will be solid in this city. Today, we no longer need to imagine, we will all work for the good of the city and the good of the country,” he said.
The younger Pimentel also promised to pursue amendments to a landmark legislation — the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or EPIRA law — which has often been cited as the reason for the power crisis in Mindanao.
“We will amend the EPIRA law to help Mindanao solve its crisis on electricity,” said Pimentel.
Eyes on the new mayor
After taking his oath, Moreno said he will not seek re-election in 2016.
“We are undaunted by the huge challenge facing us ahead… I will serve the people to the most of my abilities and within my term,” he said.
Moreno also slammed the previous administration’s soft implementation of discipline.
“I will implement the law, even those that may hurt my popularity,” he added.
Moreno defeated then former mayor Vicente Emano in a heated race in May. Moreno’s victory marked Emano’s first electoral loss in the last 15 years he has been in public service.
Former Senate president Pimentel also offered a prayer for the recovery of former 1st district representative Benjo Benaldo, who attempted to commit suicide in his office at the House of Representatives on June 27.
“Let us hope he recovers from this tragedy, that he can soon find a way back into serving the people even outside politics,” Pimentel said.
Benaldo served as the city’s 1st district representative for only one term. He ran for re-election in May under the Nacionalista Party but lost to Rolando Uy of the Liberal Party. – Rappler.com
Giano Libot is a Rappler Ambassador.