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Candidates’ forum held in Bataan

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Organizers and candidates at the forum. Photo by Ernie Esconde


 

BALANGA CITY — The Philippine National Police in partnership with the Provincial Advisory Council composed of the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Department of Education and media on Thursday held a candidates’ forum at the Lou-is Resort here.

Serving as panelists were Joanne Lobrino, president of the Rotary Club of Balanga and associate professor of the Bataan Peninsula State University; Bryan Santos, deputy director of Bataan School for the Arts; and Mhike Cigaral, RMN Manila correspondent.

Past Rotary Club of Balanga president Maricel Galura welcomed the guests and participants while local reporter Zenaida Soriano explained the mechanics/rules of the forum.

Col. Romell Velasco, Bataan police director, said that the activity was aimed at ensuring a safe, free and peaceful elections in the province, even as as the towns of Limay and Mariveles are considered “areas of concern” due to election-related incidents in the past.

He said that the PNP chief and the Region 3 police director have ordered larger deployment of personnel from the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the two towns.

“Bukod sa naunang unity walk and peace covenant, minarapat naming magsagawa ng candidates forum para malaman sa mga kandidato ang kanilang saloobin at kanilang plano,” the provincial police director said.

On the holding of the forum a day before the start of the official campaign period for local candidates, Velasco said: “Sa pagsisimula ng local campaign period ay malalaman na talagang ang mga kandidato ay taos sa loob ang kanilang sinumpaan at kanilang commitment na maging mapayapa at patas ang gagawing mga activities.”

Bataan is still one of the most peaceful provinces in Central Luzon if not in the country, Velasco said, adding “umasa kayo na ang PNP ay gagawin ang lahat para masiguro ang secured, accurate, free and fair elections sa May 9.”

 

Harbor City

Businessman Alex Acuzar, Samal mayoralty candidate, when asked if he will replicate what his grandfather, Jerry Acuzar, is doing in Pilar town, that of building the multi-billion-peso “Harbor City”, he said that if elected he also wanted an ecozone in his town.

Jerry Acuzar is owner of the well-known theme park Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.

“Malaki ang maitutulong ng isang ecozone sa isang bayan kaya kung mabibigyan ng pagkakataon ay gagawin din namin ito sa Samal pero hindi naman necessarily na ang aming pamilya ang magtatayo nito kasi marami namang tao ang capable na magtayo nito,” Acuzar said, adding that he will encourage investors to do business in his town.

 

E-HEART

Reelectionist Orion Mayor Antonio Raymundo when asked of his plans on his last term said projects in his town are categorized into short, medium, and long term.

“Nakaplano ang mga programa namin at may tinatawag kaming E – HEART na ibig sabihin ay Enhance Health for all, Education for all, Agricultural development, Revitalization ng revenue at Trade and industry,” the mayor said. “Nakaplano lahat at hindi pangarap lang dahil nasa programs at activities namin ito at kapag naputol kawawa naman ang mga kababayan ko.”.

 

Saludo

Samal Mayor Aida Macalinao, also a reelectionist, was asked how she got the Saludo Excellence Award that she said she could not believe.

“May nag-nominate sa akin. Kapag gumagawa ng mabuti, ikaw ay mapapakiramdaman at napagmamasdan ng iba at nakikinig sa iyo. Ang ginagawa pala namin sa Samal ay maraming nakikinig, mga kuwentong sakripisyo, mga kuwentong may katotohanan at may kuwento talaga ng katapangan,” Macalinao said.

 

Comeback

Former Limay Mayor Lilver Roque was asked the reason for his comeback. “Gusto kong isulong ang pagkakapantay-pantay ng mga mamamayan at gusto kong mapaunlad at mapaayos ang pamumuhay sapagkat hindi pa tapos ang pandemic. Nagtataasan lahat ng presyo at hindi maintindihan kung ano pa ang mangyayari in the future.”

“Kinakailangan na leader ng isang bayan ay may malasakit, pagmamahal, pagbibigay na hindi nanggagaling sa kanyang talino, sa sariling ninanais, sariling nararamdaman kundi ang pagsunod sa ating Pnaginoon, ang napakaimportante para maibigay natin ang ating sarili at ang ating buhay tungo sa pag-unlad ng ating mamamayan at pamilya,” Roque said.

 

Ecozone

Reelectionist Hermosa Mayor Jopet Inton was asked if he has plan of adding an ecozone to the Hermosa Economic Zone and if this will be realized in his last term. “Meron pang expansion at meron na kaming approved na dalawang economic zone under the Freeport Area of Bataan kaya magkakaroon pa talaga ng dalawang freeport.”

“Ngayon ay mayroon pang isang malaking investor na papasok sa Hermosa na magtatayo din ng freeport. Ginagawa na rin namin ang lahat ng aming mega build project para ituloy na ang lahat ng ecozone. Magkakaroon na kami ng sariling daan papunta sa Subic na kasing-lapad ng Roman Highway na magko-connect sa bagong ecozone,” Inton said.

 

Health first

Abucay Vice Mayor Robin Tagle who is running for mayor wanted to focus first on the health and livelihood of his constituents and the schooling of children that he said were greatly affected by the pandemic.

“Kailangan suportahan at bigyan ng programa maging ang mga negosyante. Kung ako ay bibigyan ng pagkakataon, hindi ako magtataas ng mga local taxes para makarebound naman ang aming mga negosyante. Papasok din kami sa local public–private partnership na makakatulong para ma-encourage ang mga investors. Malaking tulong ang pagkakaroon ng local PPP na parang may one-stop-shop at madaling makapasok ang mga investor,” Tagle said.

Provincial Board member Rey Ibe who is eyeing the mayoralty post in Orani and reelectionist Limay Mayor Nelson David spelled various programs they plan for their towns.

Also attending the forum were second district congressional candidate Eliza Ann Roque and vice-mayoral bets Ronnie Ortiguerra of Samal, Ritchie David of Limay, Jayson Mercado of Abucay, Dr. Kristine Ann Gaza of Hermosa, Robert Roque of Limay. Roy Samson of Abucay, and Eduardo Santos, Jr. of Pilar.

Other candidates failed to attend the forum.

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