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Opinion

Mindanao governors can tilt next year's presidential polls

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Mindanao has always been the tipping point. Both GMA and FVR won because of Mindanao. FPJ and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago lost because of Mindanao. To win the presidency, the candidate must get the support of most, if not all, the governors of Mindanao, including the 2.4 million voters from the Zamboanga Peninsula or Region 9, the vote-rich Region 10 or Northern Mindanao with 3 million voters. They must also get the support of Region 11 or the five Davaos (Norte, Sur, Oriental, Occidental, and de Oro), with 3.2 million voters, Region 12 or SOCCSKSARGEN, with 2.6 million voters, plus Region 13 or Caraga which has 1.9 million voters and the Bangsa Moro Region with 2.2 million voters.

These are a total of 15.3 million voters, comprising 24% of the total voting population of the whole country. Governors expect help from national candidates to fund the campaign. If there is no funding there is no support, party affiliations notwithstanding. Those who are running for the presidency should be prepared to face this reality or else they should be prepared to lose. They need to deal with governors one by one. They should talk even with those belonging to the opposing party, and the independents as well. The three Zamboanga governors all belong to the PDP. Roberto Uy of Zamboanga del Norte, Victor Yu of Zamboanga del Sur, and Wilter Palma of Zamboanga Sibugay. Region 10 is divided. Bukidnon's Jose Ma Zubiri belong to the Paglaum Party, Camiguin's Jurdin Romualdo belong to the NPC. Lanao Norte's Imelda Dimaporo belongs to the PDP. Misamis Occidental's Philip Tan belongs to the NP. Misamis Oriental Yevgeny Emano belongs to the Hugpong.

Region 11 or the five Davaos are not totally Hugpong. Davao del Norte's Edwin Hubahib belong to the PDP. Davao del Sur's Douglas Cagas is an independent. Davao Occidental's Claude Bautista, (unopposed) belong to the Hugpong. Davao Oriental's Nelson Dayanghirang (unopposed) is NP, and Davao de Oro's Jayvee Uy (unopposed) is Hugpong. Cotabato's Nancy Cotamco belongs to the PDP. Sarangani's Steve Solon is also PDP. South Cotabato's Reyaldo Tamayo Jr. belongs to the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. Sultan Kudarat's Suharto Mangudadatu belongs to the NUP. Agusan Norte's Dave Cabrera is with PDP. Agusan Sur's Santiago Cane Jr. is with NUP. Liberal Party's Arlene Bag-ao won over PDP's Benglen Ecleo. The two Surigaos are under PDP governors; Surigao del Norte's Lalo Matugas and Surigao del Sur's Alex Pimentel. Basilan's Jim Hataman belongs to the PDP. Lanao del Sur's Mamintal Adiong Jr is with Lakas. Maguindanao's Bai Mariam Magundadatu is with NP. Sulu's Abdusakur Tan belongs to the PDP. And Tawi-Tawi's Ysmael Sali is NUP. He won over PDP's Sadiku Sahali.

Mindanao will play a vital role in the next presidential polls for many reasons. First, the incumbent president is from this group of regions. Second, the next candidate of PDP, Inday Sara, is also from this island. Third, Manny Pacquiao, the dark horse, also comes from this strategic region. Many politicians come from this region too, including Migz Zubiri of Bukidnon and Koko Pimentel of Cagayan de Oro. Senators Bato de la Rosa and Bong Go both come from Davao. Presidential candidates who will not have a strong grassroots support will find it hard to win the national elections. But support means money, bundles of money, that means a lot of it.

Therefore, our thesis is; he or she who can come up with the biggest campaign kitty to help the governors convince the constituents whom to vote will win the presidential derby. Principles are necessary, platforms are required. But without money, logistics and organization, they all shall come to naught. It is a shameful thing to admit. But elections are won here not with ideology but with resources. This is bad and we abhor it. But, in the meanwhile, we need to confront the reality. Or forget the presidency.

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