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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is seeking a second term as local chief executive of the Philippines’ most populous city.
Belmonte filed her certificate of candidacy on Tuesday, October 5, at a local office of the Commission on Elections.
She is running under the Serbisyo sa Bayan Party, with fellow reelectionist Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto as her running mate.
The Belmontes have long been in power in Quezon City. Joy’s father, Sonny, represented the city’s 4th District in the House from 1992 to 2001, and from 2010 to 2019. Sonny was also mayor from 2001 to 2010, while Joy’s cousin Kit Belmonte has represented the city’s 6th District since 2013.
Joy also has over a decade of experience in the city hall. Before ascending to the mayoral spot in 2019, she was a three-term vice mayor.
Belmonte took charge of Quezon City’s pandemic response beginning in 2020. Under her leadership, free COVID-19 tests became available for its residents and workers.
The city also built its own molecular laboratory to speed up the release of coronavirus test results.
The local government had also provided financial aid to employees of high-risk establishments affected by lockdowns, and care kits to closed-care setting facilities grappling with virus outbreaks.
But Belmonte also had to answer controversies surrounding the city.
Belmonte also gave a “second chance” to a city task force official who posted a “shoot-to-kill” threat online against quarantine violators, despite the mayor calling his statement “appalling.”
In July, Quezon City was among those lagging in Metro Manila in terms of vaccination rate, but city officials said it was due to the problems that come with the large population.
The pace of inoculations, however, has improved since then. By September, the city had partially or fully vaccinated over 2.8 million people against the coronavirus.
Belmonte also drew praise from critics of the administration and progressives over her pushback against the red-tagging of community pantries in April, and efforts to hold talks with activists over the safe conduct of rallies during the State of the Nation Address in July.
Belmonte is expected to face Anakalusugan Representative Mike Defensor, who announced his mayoral bid on Monday, October 4.
In September, Defensor accused the Quezon City government of purchasing overpriced food packs for beneficiaries, a claim which the incumbent mayor said was part of a smear campaign against her. – Rappler.com