By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY (BicolToday.com/08-Oct- 2012) – “My opponent is poverty”, was the evasive answer of Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda, to the question if he was expecting an opponent for his second term until the final day of the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) Friday and nobody with guts run against him.
Indirectly answering said question by newsmen following the filling of his COC, Salceda, instead mentioned in litany his accomplishments, including the second award he received for Galing Pook Awards from the Department of the Interior and Local Government which, according to him, has pushed the province as nominee to the Hall of Fame.
Assured that he will remain to continue his next term, the governor, known as the “green economist”, is pursuing plans, in priority order “education, health, infrastructure and tourism” by saying that 34,000 students are enjoying the education program, while more than 60,000 recipients of the Pantawid Pamilya Program (4 Ps).
For infrastructure, Salceda enumerated the south rail inclusion of the Philippine National Railways to the “three-way system” from Naga City to Legazpi City connecting the “alternative highway”, aimed for disaster risk reduction and mitigation program, while “agro-ethnic village, Cabesa de Camalig” and improvements for Japanese tunnels and Skyline Hotel are included in tourism plan.
He also proudly mentioned that Albay would be the center of the Philippine Rural Development by the Department of Agriculture “by merely sharing ten per cent equity” the province’s rural roads will be concreted. “The geo-tagging, seminar and training for this program had been finished” he added.
For his re-election bid, Salceda is running under the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) with Harold O. Imperial, the incumbent vice-governor as his team mate facing two opponents namely: Brando Sael (Independent) and Jesus James Calisin (PDP), both wanted to come back as vice-governors.
Meanwhile, the son of former Senator and LP scion in Albay Victor S. Ziga, is eyeing for the congressional seat in the 1st district to be vacated by Edcel C. Lagman who will graduate as three-term congressman who pushed his son in lieu of him.
Ricky Venancio V. Ziga, incumbent Albay Board Member will face off with Edcel Grecko Lagman, incumbent councilor of Quezon City, in the “son- to- son duel” which, according to pundits has abruptly changed the political landscape in the province due to shifting of party affiliations. Despite son of an LP scion, Ziga carries the banner of the United Nationalist Alliance, while Lagman is LP bet.
For Albay 2nd district, Rep. Al Francis C. Bichara (NP) is sure to finish his third term as congressman, though opposed by broadcaster Sultan Wally Magdato, who is a neophyte in politics. On the other hand, Mayor Dante Arandia of Pio Duran town has challenged the incumbent congressman, Rep. Fernando V. Gonzalez in the 3rd district.
Ziga family had been carrying the LP flag since former Albay Gov. Venancio Ziga, former Senator Tecla San Andres Ziga up to Senator Victor S Ziga who became cabinet secretary of former President Cory C. Aquino.
“What went wrong?” pundits said. The old Lagman and Salceda were known as “defender” and “Rasputin” respectively, of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but now under the administration’s ticket. [BicolToday.com]