One Cebu Party’s battlecry: Bring back Cebu’s pride
(The Freeman) - August 8, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - One Cebu Party is set to pick its standard bearer for next year’s election to bring back the province its pride as number one in the country.

Leaders of the party gathered yesterday to reconsolidate its forces in preparation for the 2016 elections.

Party officials, however, refused to name who would be the new leader but the presence of Winston Garcia, former president and general manager of Government Service Insurance System, has raised speculation.

Former Deputy House Speaker Pablo “Pabling” Garcia, the family’s patriarch, has assured the party members that One Cebu will have a full provincial ticket for 2016.

 Among the issues tackled in yesterday’s meeting was the concern on the status of Cebu Province, which slid from being the number one province in terms of competitiveness to number three in the current ranking.

“Subo palandungon nga in the recent survey on competitiveness, number three nalang ta, when we have been consistently in the number one spot since the time of Lito (Osmeña),” said Pabling.

 Yesterday’s meeting of leaders was a welcome development for the town leaders, said former Compostela mayor Ritchie Wagas, as it was proof that “One Cebu is not an on and off party.”

“We may be the minority now, but our spirit is solid and intact and burning more than ever to make Cebu great again,” said Wagas.

 Third district Representative Gwendolyn Garcia said the huge task that lies ahead is to focus on bringing back Cebu its pride.

 “Where is Cebu now? Kung unsa ang napondar, kung unsa ang gilig-on ug mapasigarbuhon nga gisangyaw nato sa kalibutan nga Cebu is number one, where is it now? Atong focus karon ang pagpadaug pagbalik sa mga Sugboanon nga giuhaw sa naandan na unta nga pag-usbaw ug paglambo, atong ibalik ang malig-on ug gikaintapan nga probinsya,” said Cebu’s first woman governor.

 She narrated that some of her colleagues in the House of Representatives had asked her whether the incumbent governor is an ally of the President because Cebu was already overtaken by Iloilo, Bohol and Negros.

What was once a collective pride for Cebuanos seemed to have been transformed into a collective embarrassment, she added.

 “Now we have a cause much higher than each of us, something that burns into the very core of our hearts and minds,” said Gwen.

 Fourth district Representative Benhur Salimbangon also said that if the province has stagnated or deteriorated, “dili ni nato dapat pasagdahan.”

 The meeting, the first for the local party after the last elections, was said to be a sign that One Cebu continues to be a political party that is “alive and well, and is aware of what needs to be done.”

 “That sought after beacon of hope for Cebu can be attained if we share each our own individual light,” Gwen told the mayors.

All seven districts of Cebu were represented in the gathering.

 “If we are united, it is not impossible to find someone to lead us,” said Salimbangon.

Former congressman Pablo John Garcia, the secretary-general of One Cebu Party, assured that the local group has a direction.

 “Cebu needs a leader nga may panglantaw ug makamao mohimo og mga lakang pagkab-ot sa gilantaw nga kaugmaon. I assure you that the One Cebu new leadership will bring you to greater heights,” said Pablo John.

 Other Pabling’s children present include former Capitol security consultant Byron Garcia, former Barili vice mayor Marlon Garcia and Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia.

 “Ibalik ang Sugbo pagka-numero uno” will be the battlecry of One Cebu, said Pabling.  (FREEMAN)

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