MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 15 May) – A total of six of the 10 candidates in the winning circle for city councilor here can be traced to Lumad families, specifically of the Bukidnon tribe, according to Anilaw Inlantong Erwin Marte, chair of the Bukidnon Tribal Development Council of Elders (Butridce), Inc.
The number one councilor, lawyer Jay Warren Pabillaran, who garnered 36,559 votes, is from the city’s Inicial clan. Pabillaran also topped the winners for city councilor in the 2010 elections. He was then followed by lawyer Roland Deticio, who is vice mayor-elect of Malaybalay.
The councilor with the third highest number of votes is George Damasco Sr., from the Damasco clan. Fourth placer is Provo Antipasado Jr., whose mother was a Rodano, a native of Bukidnon.
Marte said fifth placer Lorenzo Dinlayan Jr. is also from a prominent family of the Bukidnon tribe.
Councilor Canuto Barroso, a reelectionist who placed seventh, and Louel Tortola both belong to the Melendez clan of the Bukidnon tribe.
Loreta Sol Dinlayan, a social science professor at the Bukidnon State University, said the election of 6 of the 10 candidates from Lumad families is a welcome development.
She added that there is a growing consciousness among the Lumad to aspire for political positions unlike before when it was limited to a few.
She said it also shows that the Lumad has growing ability to win in the polls.
But Dinlayan added that the Lumad winners have a special duty to check on issues that affect the Lumad and the rest of the people of the city.
“They must see themselves as part of the solution of problems in the city,” she added.
Marte said some of the candidates banked on their Lumad ancestry to win more votes.
But having Lumad blood is only as good as it matters.
Marte added the challenge is for the candidates to pass legislation and make a stand on matters that concern the Lumad and the rest of the people of Malaybalay.
“Whether Lumad or not, what matters is their stand on key issues affecting the indigenous peoples and all people of the city,” Marte added.
He said the officials must not keep silent and remain a stamping pad of the executive on matters when their principle, not just their ancestry, is required.
Winning second place after Pabillaran is political newcomer Rendon Sanggalang (24,320), a lawyer.
Reelectionist Damasco got 24,285 votes; former councilor Antipasado with 23,996 votes; reelectionist Dinlayan, 23,149; reelectionist Canoto Barroso, 21,895; reelectionist Mya Rosos-Tenorio, 17,567; former mayor Nicolas Jurolan, 17,047; and Allied Bank vice president for Mindanao Louel Tortola, 16,817. All of the nine came from the ruling Bukidnon Paglaum Party under Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri.
The only candidate from the other parties in the top 10 is lawyer Hollis Monsanto, sixth placer with 21,960 votes.
At the 11th and 12th spots are lawyer Burt Estrada (16,408) and balikbayan Marlon Valcorza (15,186).