Cebu News

Camotes officials shift allegiance to One Cebu

Le Phyllis F. Antojado-Orillaneda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  All incumbent municipal and barangay officials of the four towns on Camotes Group of Islands are now under the Garcia-led One Cebu Party.

At least 89 officials from the towns of Poro, San Francisco, Tudela and Pilar added to the strong force of the current dominant political party in the entire Cebu Province.

Mayor Al Arquillano and Vice Mayor Aly Arquillano of San Francisco; Tudela Mayor Greman "Jojo" Solante, Poro Mayor Gary Rama and Vice Mayor Dina Rama; and Pilar Mayor Manuel "Winky" Santiago and Vice Mayor Chiziline Maratas, including the municipal councilors and barangay captains in the four towns took oath before Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as the newest member of One Cebu.

Tudela Vice Mayor Erwin Yu was not able to attend the oath taking since he is currently in abroad, but already signified his allegiance to One Cebu.

The officials pledged their allegiance to One Cebu party yesterday at the Tudela Civic Center.

The island of Camotes was previously known as allies of the Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (BAKUD) Party of the Duranos in the Fifth District of Cebu Province.

But after several years of being with the Durano-led local party, officials of these towns bid goodbye to BAKUD and joined the Garcia-led political group.

Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III, the BAKUD chairman emeritus, earlier said that they were already informed about the transfer of allegiance of their partymates in Camotes.

Durano said the development is "unfortunate, but it's the political reality" adding that they "do not harbor ill-feelings towards defecting party-members, partners, and friends."

Santiago said before they transfer to One Cebu, he and the three other mayors in Camotes went to personally talk to the Duranos last September about their plan to leave BAKUD. He said their former partymates understood their decision.

Santiago said it was easy for him to decide because of his constituents.

"Ningkuyog lang ta sa grupo diin nakita nato nga maka-deliver, makahatag sa unsa gyud gikinahanglanon sa atong mga katawhan. Dapat unta unahon ang interes sa katawhan kesa sa imong kaugalingong interes o political affiliation. Para nako dili lisod ang pag decide nga mokuyog na ko sa partido nga maoy makahatag og kasulbaran, kaayohan, kalamboan sa among gamayng isla sa munisipyo sa Pilar," he told reporters.

For barangay Altavista Captain Antonio Basarte, the Capitol under Garcia's watch has poured a lot of projects in their town.

"Karon nakahukom na gyud ko nga mopasilong na gyud ko kay daghan man gud nahimo si Gov gud," he told The Freeman.

During his speech yesterday, Fifth District Representative and Deputy Speaker Vincent Franco "Duke" Frasco recalled that on August 29 he received a phone call from the governor informing him about the plan of the four mayors in Camotes to join their camp.


Frasco believes that because of the projects and programs his group poured to the island of Camotes he was given another chance to lead the district.

During his term, he said, he experienced challenges in implementing his programs and projects in the island stating that some of it were delayed or were not even implemented at all.

"Karon kay nagkahiusa naman ta, manghinaot ko nga mas sayon sayon na ang pagpa-implementar nato sa atong mga programa, sa atong mga proyekto diri sa isla sa Camotes gumikan kay kuyog na nato ang atong mga mayors ug vice mayors," Frasco said.

For Governor Garcia, political differences should end after the election and everyone should unite.

"Mga kauban mga kaatbang usa ra kita ka katawhan, mga Sugboanon kitang tanan, magkuyog kita, magtinabangay kita ug manghinaot ako nga kani akong mga pulong karon moabot ngadto sa nagdumili lang gihapon nga makighiusa," she said.

Garcia calls for unity, as what her party had been promoting.

"Nanghinaot ako nga niining nahitabo karon, our leaders have shown the way, I am calling on all our supporters, tanan nato nga mga kauban, ang tanan natong mga bag-ong kauban, reach out and grasp each other’s hands, in unity in this one undivided and indivisible Province of Cebu," Garcia said. — GMR (FREEMAN)


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