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Opinion

Tata Salvador vs. Edsel Galeos in the 2nd District

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

One exciting political battle is in the 2nd District. It will be a battle royale between two multi-millionaires in that district with congressman Willy Caminero, the poor man's congressman, as people would say (actually, he is rich), being term limited, the two provincial board members from the 2nd District, who both ran and won under the banner of PDP-Laban, have been pushed to fight each other for the congressional seat, representing the 2nd District of Cebu, which I call ADABOSS for Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, and Samboan.

I have a keen interest in the 2nd District because I was born in Argao, a true-blooded member of the Birondo, Aballe, Sarmiento, and Albarracin clans on my mother's side. The 2nd District is composed of seven towns with an area of 395.21 square kilometers, a population of 239,820 (based on 2015 census, now estimated to be around 260,000), with a voting population of 161,417, now estimated to be no less than 180,000. The district has a total of 143 barangays and its annual revenue was only 761,000,455 in 2016. Today, with the Mandanas ruling, this is estimated to increase geometrically. This district has the highest poverty incidence among all the seven districts in Cebu province, with a per capita income of only 3,663. After the May 9 polls, this will be represented by a very rich congressman.

Among the 10 biggest towns in Cebu, two are from this district: Argao with a total area of 191.5 square kilometers (the third biggest in the entire island, following Balamban with 333 and Tuburan 224.5 square kilometers) and Dalaguete with an area of 154.96 square kilometers. Both Argao and Dalaguete are first-class municipalities but the rest are smaller and poorer. The next congressman of this district must work harder to address the poverty incidence, especially among the farmers and the fisherfolks. Argao, Dalaguete, Oslob, and Santander have strong tourism potentials, and the rest are also rich in agriculture and fishing resources. The next representative should push the development of the district higher.

Tata Salvador, based on his SALN, is the richest member of the Cebu Provincial Board, with a net worth of ?43.5 million and a US$342,447 with no liabilities. He declared in 2016 some ?8.54 million worth of real estate, comprising five residential lots, four houses, and lot units and a commercial house in Cansojong and Canduman, Talisay City. His dollar assets consisted of two dollar accounts in New York, and one in Cebu. He has 20 private and public utility vehicles. His businesses include three branches of gas stations in Talisay, Carcar, and San Fernando, a trucking and hauling services, a water refilling station, and a pizza parlor in Dalaguete. These are not private data but were published a few years ago.

Edsel Galeos has a total assets of ?76.1 million including real properties worth ?20.9 million and personal properties worth ?55.3 million. He has 40 parcels of residential and agricultural lands in the cities of Cebu, Talisay, and Lapu-Lapu, and in Argao, Cebu. He owns two commercial lots in Poblacion and Tulic, Argao, and five commercial buildings in Argao and in Labangon, Cebu City. He owns nine vehicles, jewelries, and appliances and furniture all worth ?24.1 million. These data are based on public documents and are not to be hidden considering that they are public officials. It is also good to know that the people will know that they are already multi-millionaires before they enter Congress, or at least one of them is. These are based on their SALNs.

Since Tata Salvador is from Dalaguete and Edsel Galeos is from Argao, this contest will be a virtual repeat of the fight in 2019 between Argao's Willy Caminero and Dalaguete's undefeated mayor, Ronnie Cesante. Willy won with 66,166 votes over Ronnie's 48,131. Ronnie only won in Dalaguete. All the other towns gave Willy a resounding victory. Now Willy is running for Argao mayor against incumbent Alan Sesaldo who defeated Willy's brother, Dr. Stanley in 2019. Ronnie is also running for mayor again in Dalaguete. I think Edsel has an edge over Tata, but who knows? Salvador may stage a surprise. I may be biased because I'm from Argao but my ears are on the ground. Exciting fight in the 2nd District. I can hear the murmurings of the saliargao tree in the mountains of Alambijud and Tulang.

ELECTION
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