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CEBU CITY, Philippines – For its first official day of campaigning, the Liberal Party (LP) in Cebu focused on the south, barnstorming in the province’s newest congressional district before holding its first rally in Dumanjug town on Monday, March 28.
Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, and provincial board (PB) candidates Raymond Calderon and Jose Mari Salvador also drove by the second district. Calderon is mayor of Samboan.
Upon reaching Barangay Looc in Oslob, one of 7 towns that remain with the second district, the LP caravan met a One Cebu caravan that was coming from the opposite direction.
The fight for Cebu province’s second district, which has 144,386 voters, will be crucial.
The Davide clan is based in Argao, which has the district’s largest group of voters at 45,139. But for years, it was the Garcia clan that held the second district’s congressional seat. Before being elected governor in 1995, former House Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia represented the second district for 3 straight terms.
One thing changed after 2013: the province’s latest district was created, out of 8 towns that used to belong to the second district. The new 7th district has 138,790 voters, with Dumanjug accounting for the largest group at 32,494.
In a press conference Monday, Davide said that, if reelected, he would work for better-equipped hospitals, where poor patients need not pay their bills.
He also said he would push for the trans-axial highway, a new building in the Capitol compound that will house commercial spaces and the local disaster management office, and a public-private partnership to upgrade the South Bus Terminal.
In his first reelection bid, Davide faces lawyer Winston Garcia, Pablo’s son and a former president of the Government Service Insurance System. Davide lost his first gubernatorial bid in 2010 to Gwen Garcia, now congresswoman of the 3rd district, but defeated former congressman Pablo John Garcia in May 2013.
Asked why the LP chose Dumanjug for their first rally, Davide said the town is crucial for their congressional candidates because it is new and it is the biggest in the 7th district.
Vying for the congressional seat in the new district are PB Member Peter John Calderon of LP and Pablo John Garcia of One Cebu.
Among those spotted in the day’s activities were retired PNP Director Marcelo Garbo, who was seen during the mass in Argao. He told Sun.Star Cebu in a text message, however, that he had no role in that activity since he had already retired from service.
“I took it upon myself to give time and support to candidates who espouse my dream for our country to have good leaders for good governance,” he texted.
The Garcia camp previously alleged that Garbo used his influence, as then-chief of the Central Visayas police office, against opponents of local LP candidates in the 2013 elections.
Monday’s LP caravan started with a mass in Saint Michael Church in Argao, followed by a press conference at the town plaza hosted by Vice Mayor Stanley Caminero, who is running for mayor.
The caravan left Argao at 9 am and reached Oslob shortly before noon, where the yellow-clad group met the blue-clad convoy from One Cebu.
With the One Cebu caravan were Mayor Ronald Guaren, second district congressional candidate Teresita Celis, and PB candidates Carmiano Kintanar and Andrade Alcantara.
Guaren said that their group began the day with a mass at 9 am in Oslob, followed by lunch.
After visiting the second and 7th districts, the local LP was scheduled to hold another caravan on Tuesday in the 3rd and 4th districts, starting in Barili in the southwest and ending in Daanbantayan town in the north. A rally is scheduled on Wednesday night in Consolacion town, which is part of the 6th district. – Rappler.com