Emano-Moreno battle for CDO mayoralty in 2013 looms

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/20 July) – In a move that ended speculations about his political plans, Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar S. Moreno yesterday announced he was considering running for mayor of this city in 2013.

Now on his third term, Moreno said his decision stemmed from his refusal to be the “cost of his leadership”, alluding to the alleged moves of his political opponents to block his development agenda.

He made the announcement after the turnover of some P15 million worth of projects in the first district and launching of an ambitious P2.3-billion agro-enterprise convergence project in the Mt. Balatucan area.

Moreno’s plan will pit him against Mayor Vicente Emano, himself a former governor of Misamis Oriental.

Moreno admitted that partisan politics has weakened his position at the Capitol, where the Emano-led PaDayon Pilipino, a local party, had wrested the majority of the 13-member Sanguniang Panlalawigan in December last year, cut the budget of the Office of the Governor by more than P80 million and reportedly continues to block his priority legislative proposals.

“They have cut my budget, blocked my priorities, and now they say that I am not performing well,” said Moreno of his political opponents.

“But what they really want to happen is that they want to keep from the public eye my performance. Since 2004 when I assumed the governorship, I have constructed close to 400 classrooms, built roads in conflict areas like Lantad and improved our public hospitals,” he said.

Lantad is a former stronghold of the communist-led New People’s Army in Balingasag town.

Moreno blamed his situation on Emano, saying. “Of all the noise against me, Dongkoy is the Queen Bee of them all. They want the public not to see my performance because for 12 years as a governor, the Queen Bee had not built a single classroom, left our hospitals in poor conditions and did not bother to build or improve farm to market roads.”

In his repartee over his favorite radio station Magnum News and Music Radio this morning, Emano said that Moreno was just declaring the obvious.

“Dugay na man kana si Gov. Bakbak nag gamit sa pondo sa probinsya para sa iyang ambition sa syudad (Gov. Bakbak has long been using the funds of the province for his political ambition in the city),” Emano said.

He added that what Moreno is doing is all politics and that he better prepare for his ambition in 2013.

Emano is back as mayor after sliding to vice mayor in 2007 after completing his first three terms as mayor.

After the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos, he was appointed OIC governor of Misamis Oriental. He won in subsequent elections but was ousted before his third term ended after Ruthie Guingona, now mayor of Gingoog City, won her election protest.

Moreno, a lawyer and banker, was a former three-term congressman of the second district of Misamis Oriental.

Moreno launched Tuesday morning the ambitious Mt. Balatucan Range Agriculture Enterprise Convergence Project with Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Jerry E. Pacturan, Agriculture Undersecretary Joel S. Rudinas, Environment Assistant Secretary Michelle Angelica Go, and Marriz B. Agbon, president of the Philippine Agricultural Development Commercial Corporation.

The project seeks to mobilize public and private investments amounting to about P2.3-billion from 2011 to 2016 in developing the agricultural enterprises in the municipalities within the Mt. Balatucan watershed, namely, Balingasag, Lagonglong, Salay, Binuangan, Kinoguitan, Sugbongcogon, Balingoan, Talisayan, Medina, Magsayasay and the city of Gingoog.

Misamis Oriental 1st District Rep. Pedro Unabia in whose congressional district the project will be implemented was conspicuously absent in Tuesday’s ceremonies. Unabia is an ally of Emano. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)