2022 Philippine Elections

Bag-ao runs for reelection in Dinagat, faces Ecleo-backed group anew

Bobby Lagsa
Bag-ao runs for reelection in Dinagat, faces Ecleo-backed group anew

File photo of Dinagat Islands Governor Kaka Bag-ao.

Dinagat Islands PIO

It's a return bout in this island-province in the Caraga region, pitting the giant-slayer incumbent against the candidate backed by the powerful political clan she unseated in 2019

Dinagat Islands Governor Arlene Bag-ao is seeking reelection in Dinagat Island, a province that used to be dominated by the Ecleo political family.

Bag-ao filed her certificate of candidacy on Tuesday, October 5, against Vice Governor Nilo Demerey Jr. who is challenging her reelection bid. Demerey filed his COC for governor on Sunday, October 3, as a candidate of the Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

Demerey, a former mining executive, rose from being a provincial board member in 2016 to vice governor in 2019.

Former vice governor Benglen Ecleo, who was unseated by Bag-ao in 2019, is running for vice governor under the local Lakas-CMD ticket while the island province’s congressman, Alan Ecleo, is seeking reelection under the same party.  

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Jeff Crisostomo, provincial information officer, said Bag-ao was running without a running mate and neither does she have a candidate for congressman.

Dinagat Island has been dominated by the Ecleo family whose patriarch, Ruben Ecleo Sr., founded the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA). Many islanders are members of the PBMA.

Bag-ao, a former Cagayan de Oro-based community organizer and human rights lawyer, is a stalwart of Akbayan which she represented in the House of Representatives in 2010.

Before entering politics, she worked with marginalized sectors and advocated changing laws that often favored those in power. 

In 2013 she ran for congresswoman in Dinagat and held the position for two consecutive terms, and then she challenged the Ecleo dynasty and succeeded in 2019. –Rappler.com

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