(BUSINESS OF POLITICS. Shading a roadside carinderia from the sun is a tarpaulin of gubernatorial candidate Jomar Hizon carrying his family’s iconic business enterprise. Photo by Bong Lacson)
CLARK FREEPORT – “I will deliver a better Pampanga in the years to come especially in terms of commerce, peace and order, agriculture, livelihood and not only social services.”
Thus, said three-term Bacolor Mayor Jose Maria “Jomar” O. Hizon during the “Balitaan” media forum organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. at the Bale Balita here last Friday.
Hizon said if elected governor, “Pampanga will be a lot better in five years in many things.” He said, “right now Pampanga is not even in the top 10 provinces in the country.”
“You will be surprised that Pampanga is not even in the top 10 most competitive provinces nationwide,” Hizon disclosed.
“Among the top 10 in Central Luzon is Bataan; meaning better than Pampanga. But a lot of people know that Pampanga is a lot better than Bataan. But Pampanga is only number 18,” the mayor said.
Based on the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the top 10 most competitive provinces in the country in 2018 were: 1. Rizal, 2. Laguna, 3. Davao del Norte, 4. Cavite, 5. Sarangani, 6. North Cotabato, 7. Sultan Kudarat, 8. South Cotabato, 9. Batangas, and 10. Bataan.
Hizon said the competitiveness ranking among the local government units was rated with the participation of various government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Interior and Local Government as well as private organizations – both local and international.
He said the number one issue in the gubernatorial race is “mismanagement.” Hizon said in governance, “you should not concentrate on just one aspect because there is a formula for other services.”
“If you come to our plant, Pampanga’s Best, as if you are not in the Philippines,” he said proudly. “It’s an entirely diff erent institution. We can do it, it is just a matter of good leadership.”
But he vowed to continue with the “good government projects” of the present administration. “Whatever is good, maintain them and we provide more ideas for Pampanga,” he said.
Hizon said the most dramatic change Kapampangans will notice in his administration will be government hospitals that would be modernized just like high-end hospitals in Manila.
“Government hospitals now are like a slaughterhouse or like memorial parks. Even very poor people would not like to go there because they have poor services,” he said. “Can we not improve them? Yes, we can,” he said.
The mayor said, “election is a decision-making process in which the electorate is given an opportunity to choose a leader. If there will be no other candidate that would run against them (Pinedas), as if there would be no election in Pampanga.”
Hizon began his political career when he was elected barangay captain of Cabalantian, Bacolor in 2002.
He was reelected in 2007 and became the Association of Barangay Captain (ABC) president before his election as mayor of Bacolor in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
Hizon said Bacolor is a lot different now as compared to when he took over as mayor with an annual projected budget then of only P59 million to the present P200 million.
“A few elected officials tried to recover Bacolor after it was inundated by lahar in 1995 but they failed because when I came to office in 2010, Bacolor was still in the recovery period,” he said. “But now, if you come to Bacolor, it has significantly improved a lot better.”
“To trace back its history, Bacolor was the capital of the Philippines from 1762 to 1764. Now, Bacolor is reborn,” the mayor said.
“If elected, I will concentrate on issues on infrastructure, especially the integrity of the projects, agriculture, livelihood, economics, tourism, peace and order and many others because government service should not only be confined in one service of government,” he said. “I will invite investors and create industries to generate more jobs.”
Hizon said he is running as a truly independent candidate. “I have no running mate,” he said.
“Of course, I am all alone. When I started to ask who will run with me, nobody would like to but that does not mean that if I have no running mate, I will no longer pursue my filing of a certificate of candidacy,” he said. “That did not make me stop,” he added.
Hizon admitted that former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo is his supporter because he is openly campaigning for him. “I still have other supporters but right now I would not like to disclose their identity,” he said.
Hizon declared that he will be mounting a vigorous campaign, “and I would like to ask your permission to enter your cities or municipalities for me to campaign.”
He said he is confident to win the elections since three other independent candidates were elected by Kapampangans even without political machineries – Governor Ed Panlilio in 2007, President Duterte in 2016 and Lito Lapid when he ran for vice governor in 1992.