PAG-ILA 2019. Cagayan de Oro City’s four mayoral candidates present their respective platforms during the third session of PAG-ILA, a series of local candidates’ fora.

Report by Winona Serra
Photos by Gene Verona

Cagayan de Oro City’s four mayoral candidates presented their respective platforms and plans on how to address the public’s concerns during the third session of PAG-ILA, a series of local candidates’ fora, held at the Xavier University Little Theater in late April.

The forum shed light on the different priorities of mayoral candidates Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña from Padayon Pilipino, Oscar Moreno from Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and independent candidates Felix Borres Jr and Ben Tiu Contreras.

The questions were derived from the top five issues identified by the respondents in the first survey conducted by the Kinaadman: University Research Center Office. These topics were: economic issues, peace and order, basic services, the environment, and local governance. 

La Viña shared that “Bisan asa dinhi sa Cagayan de Oro, otsenta ka barangay na akong natuyok, parehas ra ang singgit sa mga tao: Kausaban. Pagbabago. Change.” To this end, he proposed to build a “Bag-ong Cagayan,” create a city university, and implement free public internet and WiFi. “Mao na ang unang haligi. [Kani ang] haligi sa maayong edukasyon sa tanan nato mga anak,” explained La Viña. He went on to say that this would bring in more jobs with good pay.

Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña from Padayon Pilipino

Despite having been told that he has less than one percent chance of winning, Contreras highlighted that he refuses to surrender due to his love for the city and his advocacy on honest governance. He said that as a growing city, CDO needs more investments and a robust system of governance to combat “red tape.” Contreras also underscores the enforcement of traffic laws, maintenance of traffic lights, and professionalization of RTA officers.

Independent candidate Ben Tiu Contreras

Another independent contender Borres commented that drug addicts must undergo rehabilitation programs to get the appropriate help and discipline. Despite not being endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte, he shared that Duterte’s men have worked with him.

Independent candidate Felix Borres Jr 

Gunning for his third and final term, incumbent City Mayor Oscar Moreno recapped the projects and achievements gained during his previous terms. “Mga kaigsuon, daghan na ta nahimo, but we need to do more.” He envisions to pursue CDO’s growth by aiming to create it as the fourth metropolitan city in the country, following Manila, Cebu, and Davao. Along with implementing resettlement projects, he proposed that the local government must be able to access the national funds to address the ongoing water crisis.

Oscar Moreno from Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan

The forum culminated with the closing statements of the candidates, followed by “Saad sa Pagrespeto sa Dignidad sa Katawhan.”

Although they were invited to join the forum, vice-mayoral candidates Vicente Emano of Padayon Pilipino and Kikang Uy of PDP-Laban did not attend.

PAG-ILA is one of LIHUK 2019 movement’s major activities and is facilitated through the XU Social Development’s Student Involvement and Advocacy Program (SSIAP). Its next activity will be the election monitoring, in collaboration with the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).∎

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