By Jun Ledesma
Certificates of Candidacy for various positions had been filed by the time this piece hit the press and social media. But of course the battle lines had been drawn and the imponderables in Philippine political and election jamboree starts. Like we see alliances broken because after all what is supreme among political animals is their survival.
But there are interesting scenarios worth watching. Hatched in Davao region is Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP) a party that was the brainchild of the Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio. HnP is an assembly of political leaders in Region 11 that is composed of Davao provinces and cities and Compostela Valley Province. The basic objective is to consolidate the bargaining power of the leaders in Congress and harmonize development plans so as to disperse industries region-wide.
HnP was a rainbow coalition made up of Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, PDP and PDP-Laban including regional parties among them Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod and Kusog Baryohanon. Mayor Inday Sara was the group’s lead convenor and the membership includes political heavy weights among them Gov. del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Gov. Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Gov. Bautista of Davao Occidental, Gov. Uy of Comval, Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo and hundreds of Mayors and Barangay Captains in the Region.
Things evolved into a political machinery when then Speaker Bebot Alvarez dubbed HnP as an opposition and that its organization was without the permission from Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. This was later compounded when Alvarez ordered the dismantling of quarantine stations in the banana plantations of the Floirendos. At that time the dreaded Fusarium wilt that wiped out banana fields in Panama was monitored in the Davao Cavendish plantations. Banana export, for those who are not aware, is the prime driver of economy in the region and the industry, to my mind, is the biggest employer in the country. It is also the major dollar-earner in the region.All these accounts for the unprecedented economic growth rate that is anywhere in the vicinity of 12%.
The spat between Alvarez and Inday Sara did not go unnoticed. Quietly but perceptively influential political leaders all over the country could be seen visiting Davao to touch base with HnP. I saw this happening as the beginning of the rise and alliances of regional parties in the country. The demonstration of power and influence of this alliance was seen later in the blitzkrieg strategy that jettisoned Alvarez as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Well Alvarez maybe down but definitely he is far from being out. He is seeking re-election and had been consolidating forces. He has seen a little crack at HnP and he convinced ex-Tagum Mayor Chong Uy (CO) to run with him for Vice Governor under PDP banner. CO had long wanted to run for VG under the HnP banner but words had it that he is not getting any answer. My eye in both HnP camps however confided that the Del Rosario camp have not actually arrived at any thing concrete (as of last Saturday). But things had shaped up . It’s Rodney del Rosario for Governor, Anthony del Rosario for Representative of the 1st District and Joey Millan for Vice Governor. Former Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario will be the General Campaign Manager. Also completed are the slates in the 2nd District where Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo and nominees for members of the Provincial Board had filed their CoCs. Except for District 2, it will be battle royale in Davao del Norte and its worth watching.
In Davao Oriental, Rep. Cora Malanyaon confirmed she and that Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang will seek reelection. When I called her the other night, Cora was already asleep.
Elections in Davao City is as placid as its prevailing peace. Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, come-backing congressmen Vincent Garcia of the 2nd District and Sid Ungab in the 3rd and Polong Duterte in the 1st District are all running unopposed. It’s only the Vice Mayoral Post that remains vacant. A little bird whispered to me that Inday’s best choice is former Vice Mayor Louie Bonguyan who is presently a member of the Board of the Development Bank of the Philippines. The position is his in a silver platter.
By the looks of it all, the HnP will have a grand celebration when the votes are counted in May. The die is cast. It looks like it will be literally a walk in the park for the HnPs and my hunch is that they will focus on the election of SAP Bong Go and. Gen. Bato dela Rosa instead. I do not think there will be any significant changes ahead but I have an advice to some wannabees who have very slim chance of winning to just keep your money for the Christmas Holidays.