SouthCot’s Gov. Fuentes and party sweeps all provincial posts

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) – Candidates under the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Liberal Party slate led by incumbent South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes swept all provincial elective posts in Monday’s general elections.

The provincial board of canvassers (PBOC) formally proclaimed Fuentes and other winning candidates on Wednesday night after completing the canvassing and processing of votes coming from the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

Lawyer Kendatu Laguialam, Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial supervisor, led the proclamation of winners around 8:20 p.m. at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall in Koronadal City.

The PBOC finished the canvassing late Wednesday afternoon after facing delays with the transmission of voting results from the city and municipal board of canvassers due to technical problems.

“The delay was mainly due to problems with the broadband signal in some areas,” said Laguialam, who heads the PBOC.

Fuentes, who was re-elected to her second straight term, garnered a total of 205,482 votes based on the final and official tally released by Comelec-South Cotabato.

Her closest rival, former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel, received 159,274 votes, or a margin of 46,208 votes.

Miguel, who ran as an independent, also lost to Fuentes in the 2013 elections.

In the vice gubernatorial match, board member Vicente de Jesus of the NPC-LP coalition won by a slight margin over Miguel’s running mate, Polomolok municipal councilor and ex-officio board member Bernie Palencia.

De Jesus received a total of 162,401 votes while Palencia got 161,257 votes, or a margin of just 1,144 votes.

In the first district congressional race, incumbent Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. of NPC-LP was elected to his third term after getting173,255 votes while his lone rival, Ryan Rivera of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, only received 115,149 votes.

In the second district, incumbent Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez posted 158,137 votes while former governor Arthur Pingoy Jr. got 95,908 votes.

Elected provincial board members are Eamon Gabriel Matti (59,443), Glyzel Mariano-Trabado (52,874) and Romeo Tamayo (50,327) in the first district; and Esther Marin-Catorce (149,076), Hilario de Pedro VI (136,048 votes), Cecile Diel (131,022), Ellen Grace Subere-Albios (117,769), Romulo Solivio (117,032), Dardanilo Dar (109,107) and Agustin Dema-ala Jr. (106,623) in the second district.

Fuentes credited the “landslide win” to her administration’s performance, especially in terms of service delivery, in the last three years.

“This is a validation of what we have accomplished and that we are doing things right at the provincial government,” she said.

The governor said the local government will focus on the implementation of more infrastructure development projects, especially road upgrading and concreting, in the next three years.

She will also push for the expansion of the financial assistance components of their scholarship and other education programs.

Fuentes added they will prioritize the enhancement of their climate change adaptation program and the establishment of more upland coffee plantations as part of the provincial government’s reforestation program.