CEBU, Philippines – Cebu Governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III said on Monday, March 28, that he would continue the Liberal Party’s platform of good governance if reelected in the May polls.
Davide, Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Cebu 2nd District Representative Wilfredo “Willy” Caminero, and other provincial candidates of the LP here kicked off their campaign Monday in the municipality of Argao.
Davide traces his roots to Argao, which is part of the province’s 2nd legislative district and is home to some 200,000 people.
“Our second journey to the provincial capitol starts here,” said the governor.
Davide promised to make healthcare a priority if he wins a second term, vowing free health services for the poor. He said the local government would ensure that PhilHealth covers costs, and that hospitals prioritize patients who are claiming PhilHealth benefits.
Davide and Magpale are running against One Cebu candidates Winston Garcia, the former chairman of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, former Cebu 6th District representative and provincial board member.
“My strength is that I have no graft and corruption cases,” Magpale told reporters.
Dominated by LP
At the local level, not much is expected to change where LP members are already incumbent officials.
Out of Cebu’s 44 towns, 33 have mayors who are members of the ruling party. The mayors of all of the province’s 6 component cities are also LP members or allies.
Cebu is the most vote-rich province in the Philippines with 2.7 million voters. For presidential and senatorial candidates, strong alliances with local political families are crucial to secure a major chunk of votes. (READ: Fast Facts: What you ought to know about Cebu and elections)
In the 2010 vice presidential race, LP candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II clinched 1,054,708 votes in the province, compared to United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Jejomar Binay’s 414,417 votes. The win in Cebu, however, was not enough to propel Roxas to the vice presidency. (READ: Can Mar Roxas win Cebu anew?)
LP candidates in Cebu will end their first day of campaigning with a rally in Dumanjug, where rival Nelson Garcia is current mayor.
Dumanjug is the largest town in Cebu’s newly created 7th District, with over 40,000 residents. LP candidate Peter John Calderon is running against One Cebu candidate Pablo John Garcia to fill the congressional seat for the first time.
Last December, LP member Dumanjug Vice Mayor Efren Gica – who is now running for mayor against Nelson Garcia – had survived an ambush. Also damaged during the attack was a vehicle owned by Gica’s running mate, vice mayoral candidate Rene Asentista.
Police are still investigating if the incident was politically motivated. No suspect has been named.
According to Davide, the LP has coordinated with the local police to make sure candidates and attendees of the Dumanjug rally are safe. – Rappler.com
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