STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte—Four mayoral bets in this town have officially kicked-off their local campaign on Monday, March 28.
Re-electionist Sto. Tomas mayor Benigno Andamon vowed that he will continue to implement his HEART program which outlines his priorities on health, education, arts and culture, tourism, among others.
Andamon claims that HEART is at the core of his public service. “Tungod sa gugma ni nadaug si Bong Andamon. Mao na ang development thrusts ni Bong Andamon is HEART.
(Because of my love [to the people of Sto. Tomas], I won. Thus, my development thrust is HEART [program].”
Once re-elected as the town’s local chief executive, Andamon promised that he will improve health services and bring more road concreting projects.
On his three-year term as the town’s local chief executive, Andamon cited the construction of the town’s rural health center, the establishment of the LGU-owned University of Southeastern Philippines in Sto. Tomas.
He attributed that all these developments to his HEART program. “I am not a perfect leader, but I work hard to make our town progressive as ever,” he said.
When pressed to comment about his rivals, Andamon said “they are all qualified to serve the people.” He pointed out that his desire to serve the people had bolstered his campaign to seek another term despite meager funds.
Andamon was the former Lakas-CMD’s Municipal chairman and served as the village captain of Tibal-og back in 2013.
Meanwhile, independent candidate and lawyer Rose Angelie Tugay claims that she will push for radical reforms if she will be elected as the town’s local chief executive.
Tugay, the lone woman seeking the mayoralty post, bared that she will implement a “transformative governance” that will overhaul the status quo. “Gisulayan na ninyo ang doctor, gisulayan na ninyo ang pulis, sulayi na pud ang abogado. (All of you had tried the doctor [referring to former Sto. Tomas mayor Maximo Estela], all of you had tried the police [incumbent Sto. Tomas mayor Benigno Andamon], this time try a lawyer.)”
Prior to her mayoral bid, Tugay had served as the legal counsel of incumbent Sto. Tomas mayor Benigno Andamon. She resigned after she failed to win the battle on tax reforms, she said. “I am thankful to God that I’ve been given the opportunity, for a short time, to serve the people of Sto. Tomas.”
Tugay took aim on the suspension of the town’s tax ordinances. For her, the town’s tax laws are too expensive, if not a burden to those who do business in the locality.
“It is a promise, a fact and that’s our agreement,” Tugay said, stressing that she would suspend the implementation of tax ordinance within a year of her term.
She blamed the high taxes for the town’s “slow development.”
“Nganong dili ta mulambo kay mahal kayo atong taxes diri. Ako ng gipangutana katong naa pako sa sulod sa munisipyo, unsa ang ilay gi-ingon: ‘Mao mana attorney balaud mana, let’s implement the law.’ (The reason why Sto. Tomas wouldn’t progress is because of our expensive taxes. I asked that [taxes] before when I was still employed in the local government, but what they told me: ‘That’s the law attorney, so let’s implement the law’ she said.
She claims that Sto. Tomas is the richest municipality in the Davao del Norte province in terms of its income but the residents remain poor.
“Pero luoy ang mga tao, naglisod labi na diri ang mga vendors. Kamo na taga palengke sa tinuod lang paghawa nako sa munisipyo kay akong gipaglaban kamo ug wala natuman nigawas ko. Kamo ang nihagit sa ako na mubalik ug mo serbisyo
(But I pity our people, [because] they are having rough times especially our market vendors. I want all of you to know that before I resigned, I fought for your right. All of you challenged me to serve again)”Tugay said.
Tugay also claims that at present Sto. Tomas suffers a “crisis of peace and order.” “Dili ta mga buta, dili ta mga bungol, mga bright ta. There’s a crisis of peace and order. Tinuod na talamak ang kriminalidad diri. (We are not blind, we are not deaf, we are all intelligent. It is true that criminality is rampant in our municipality).”
In order to deter crimes, Tugay said she will fully implement the law. “Kung nakasala ka, dakpon ka. Kung nakasala ka, ikulong ka. (If you committed a crime, you will be arrested. If you committed a crime, you will be imprisoned.) I will empower the police by providing them logistical support such as vehicles for them to do their job. ”
She disclosed that the local government has earmarked a budget of P15 million for peace and order program. “I believe if there’s a clear implementation of the law, public peace and order will follow. So kung hinay ang pag implementar ang sa atong balaud diri labi na ang criminal law nato then hinay atong peace and order. (If we failed to implement our laws especially our criminal law then our peace and order is weak.)”
For his part, Sto. Tomas vice-mayor Daniel Batosalem Jr. who is running under under the Tadeco-backed local party Kusog Baryohanon, said his governance will be anchored on “Barangay Una,” a platform of governance authored by business tycoon Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr.
Kusog Baryohanon is a coalition of NUP-Liberal Party. The party, he said, aims to promote a responsive government that will make strong, democratic and effective governance. Batosalem said that he will focus more on the needs of every barangay.
“Ang sukdanan sa maayong tao ug ligtong na lider dili lamang ang pagkamaayo mo estorya apan labaw sa tanan ang tinuod na buhat dili sigeg istorya ug kahadlok sa ginoo. (A great leader will not be measured only by his wise words but above all, by his deeds and for being a God-fearing person.”
Batosalem held several government posts prior to his mayoralty bid for this year’s election. He was elected as a village councilor of Barangay Tibal-og and elected thrice as village chief of the same barangay.
During the Comelec-led fora, Batosalem failed to present his political platforms but, instead, endorsed his colleagues in his political slate.
Meanwhile, Daniel Lu, a former Board Member of Davao del Norte province, vowed to provide a dynamic and corrupt-free leadership if he wins in the May 9 elections.
Lu, while banking on his long political experience, claims that he can deliver and contribute something to make Sto. Tomas reach its peak to progress.
“Mga kaigsoonan, ang isulti sa inyo si Dr. Lu, magdagan sa pagka-mayor sa atong lungsod. Nagtuo si Dr. Lu na dako pa siya mahimo para ma utro ang hulagway sa atong Sto. Tomas,” (My dear constituents, I want all of you to know that I am vying for a mayoralty post in our municipality. I believe that I can do more to improve our town.) Lu said. “This is not an attack to the incumbent mayor Bong Andamon and vice-mayor Jun Batosalem. Pero akong pagtan-aw ang kulang nila kinahanglan pun-an, walay lain mopuno si Dr. Lu lang. (I am of the opinion that I can provide whatever things that are lacking to improve our town.)
He also vowed that the intelligence fund will be given back to the people. “Daghan wala kabalo kung unsa ning intelligence funds.. ug mao kini ang hinungdan nganong daghan mudagan sa pagka mayor sa lungsod. (Many are clueless of what is intelligence funds.. and this is the main reason why many are interested to be the mayor of our town.”
Lu said that intelligence funds doesn’t require stringent Commission on Audit (COA) liquidation which, he claims, a factor that a local chief executive will be tempted to use the fund for personal purpose.
“Sultian tamo….kung nagsulti si Angelie [referring to Tugay] na dili siya modawat sa iyang sweldo sa pagka-mayor. Sultian ta kamo kung si Dr. Lu kung mahimong mayor, dili ko mudawat sa intelligence funds.. ibalik nako na sa katawhan. (I’ll tell you if Angelie said that she won’t received her salary as mayor. On my part, I , as your mayor, would not receive the intelligence funds but I will give it back to the people.)”
Lu stressed that he won’t be tempted to corruption because he has a financially stable family. Running as an independent candidate, his candidacy was bankrolled by his supporters, sectoral groups who believe in his platform of governance. (davaotoday.com)