Two candidates for this town’s highest elective position presented their political agenda, hoping to win the people’s votes for the upcoming May 13 elections.

Davao Today

STO. TOMAS, Davao del Norte, Philippines — Two candidates for this town’s highest elective position presented their political agenda, hoping to win the people’s votes for the upcoming May 13 elections.

Incumbent’s agenda

Medical doctor Daniel Lu, the incumbent Board Member of Davao del Norte Province, said he wants to try “a more challenging job” in the local politics, and that would only mean serving as the town’s chief executive.

He’s running under Kusog Baryohonon, a coalition of the NUP-Liberal Party.

In an interview by, Lu said if he gets elected, his top political priorities would be livelihood, infrastructure, youth, health, tourism, the LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender) community and peace and order.

He said he wanted to address the issue of poverty in the municipality by “uplifting the people’s standard of living.”  He added this can be done through concrete and sustainable livelihood programs which, he said, “can soften the impact of poverty.”

He added that these programs are community-based and income-generating which are to be delivered directly to the poor and jobless constituents of Sto. Tomas.

Kinahanglan nga mahatagan og konkretong solusyon ang kahimtang sa atong mga pobreng ka-igsoonan labi na gayud katong mga walay trabaho sa matag barangay para mahimong produktibo sila sa komunidad,” Lu said.

Lu said that even though Sto. Tomas is categorized as a first class municipality in Davao del Norte, the poverty incidence is very high and not a few families live below the poverty threshold.

He said he would push for the continuous improvement of public infrastructure including the opening of additional farm-to-market roads, the rehabilitation and construction of flood-control systems, the rehabilitation of drainage systems and concreting or asphalting of entrance and exit roads of the municipality.

With respect to his health programs, Lu said he will strengthen the health stations in each village.  He will also intensify medical and dental missions, provide cheaper access to medicines by establishing Botika ng Bayan for the poor.

He also plans to establish a task force that will focus on the moral recovery of the youth engaged in gangsterism, drug addiction and prostitution.  The said task force, he said, will provide livelihood trainings, intensive campaign on the ill-effects of drug and rehabilitation programs for the affected youth.

“Ang hinungdan nganong kanang mga tawhana naga apil sa mga gang, gagamit og druga ug labaw sa tanan gabaligya sa ilahang unod kay tungod wala silay gugma makit-an sa ilahang pamilya,” Lu said.

Further, Lu also plans to improve the tourism program of the town; disband the drug syndicate operation in Sto. Tomas and reduce the crime rate and improve the town’s overall state of peace and order.

Challenger’s plea

Meanwhile, Benigno Andamon, the incumbent village captain of Tibal-og, who’s challenging Lu for the position said his programs will focus first on health by establishing a public hospital for the people of Sto. Tomas.

Andamon, who is Lakas-CMD’s Municipal chairman, cited the lack of public hospital in the town deprives its people to have “free access to health services.”

Subo lang huna-hunaon nga isip usa ka first-class municipality ang Sto. Tomas, wala kitay public hospital , apan ang ubang lungsod sama sa Carmen ug Kapalong naa sila ginatawag na district hospital,”he lamented.

He noted that while there are privately-owned hospitals and clinics, their facilities and personnel are not enough, and that ordinary people find it hard to afford their fees.

For his infrastructure program, Andamon said that during his stint as the village captain, he opened five kilometers of farm-to-market roads.  He planned to open more roads for the improvement of economic trading.

He showed to a resolution passed to Sen. Francis Escudero and the approved program of work seeking for a budget on the concreting of roads from Sto. Tomas to Tagum City.

“There are still pending infrastructure projects that will be constructed which were put on hold because of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) ban,” he said.

He also said that he plans to push for a permanent and sustainable livelihood program intended for the indigenous peoples.

He vowed also to erect a livelihood training facility for the jobless, strengthen the Early Childhood Education through the establishment of Day Care Centers in villages,  establish Bagsakan Centers and empower out-of-school-youth, among others.

And as a retired and former Chief of Police, Andamon stressed, that he will have a stricter policies on the escalating rate of drug-related cases in this town.  (Mart D. Sambalud/

(Editor’s note: The other mayoral bet, Mr. Joel Bayanay, refused to give an interview.)

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