Cebu poll bets kick off campaign with Holy Mass, rallies

Domestic Affairs

The campaign period for local candidates of different positions in this capital city and the province of Cebu started on Friday with Holy Mass and opening program at their respective bailiwicks, the Commission on Election in Cebu province reported.

Lawyer Jerome Brillantes, Comelec-Cebu supervisor, said in an interview the opening salvo for the local campaign has been “generally peaceful” with no untoward incident reported.

“Actually, one thing that I want to remind the candidates: as always, Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is still very much around. Kindly observe the health protocol,” Brillantes said.

The candidates, he said, should also observe the 70 percent capacity per venue during their “miting de avance” and partisan activities during the local campaign period.

The campaign period for local politicians will end on May 7, two days before the national and local elections.

So far, the provincial office of the Comelec received no report of any violations from candidates or political parties but pledged to monitor how they conduct their campaign activities to ensure compliance with the rules.

Cebu City sorties

In Cebu City, the two main contending parties – Partido Barug PDP-Laban (Barug) and Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) – started their opening salvo with Holy Masses.

Mayor Michael Rama, seeking a fresh mandate after succeeding the post as mayor following the death of the late Mayor Edgardo Labella in November last year, led other candidates and supporters of Barug (which means “stand”) in a Eucharistic celebration at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral here before proceeding to the Cebu City Hall for a walk-through activity.

Rama was joined by vice mayoral candidate, Lawyer Raymond Alvin Garcia who is a son of former Cebu City Mayor Alvin Garcia and nephew of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, as well as candidates for Congress, and their line up for councilors of the two legislative districts.

On March 26, Rama’s group will treat the city’s youth sector in a millennial-themed concert titled “Arat Cebu: Let’s Move Forward Together” at the Cebu City Sports Center.

The BOPK group led by mayoral candidate, former councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña and other candidates attended a Holy Mass at the National Shrine of the Our Lady of Guadalupe in Barangay Guadalupe here, before proceeding in a parade.

The city has other candidates for mayor – incumbent Councilor and former TV journalist David “Dave” Tumulak and whistleblower Crisologo Saavedra. But the duo has no information about their local campaign activities.

Provincial rallies

In Cebu province, reelectionist Governor Gwendolyn Garcia held the kick-off rally and raising of hands for the candidates under One Cebu Party at a gymnasium in the south-western town of Barili, one of the bailiwicks of the Garcia clan in Cebu’s 3rd District.

They participated in a Holy Mass at the Barili parish church before the opening rally.

The governor was joined by her running mate for vice governor, Dr. Maria Theresa Heyrosa, an optometrist, as well as the 14 candidates for board members in the seven legislative districts of the province.

After the Barili kick-off program, Garcia and other candidates proceeded to the 7th District situated in the southernmost tip of Cebu province to raise the hands of every candidate under the One Cebu Party, after which they would proceed from one town to another in other districts for hand-raising events.

Former Presidential spokesperson and senatorial candidate Harry Roque attended the proclamation rally of Garcia’s party in Cebu.

The Bakud Party of former tourism secretary Ace Durano, candidate for governor, and his running mate, incumbent Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, son of former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., also started their opening salvo for the local campaign with a Holy Mass at the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish is in the northern component city of Danao.

The group held a press conference before proceeding to Liloan, the last town of Cebu’s 5th District, through a caravan and proclamation rally at the Yati church ground in Liloan in the morning and another one in Kabayoan, Borbon.

Source: Philippines News Agency