GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 May) – Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s local political party People’s Champ Movement (PCM) maintained its dominance of the political arena in Sarangani province, sweeping the top provincial posts and all but one of the seven mayoralty seats in Monday’s elections.
The Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) formally proclaimed around midnight Wednesday all winning candidates in the provincial level led by incumbents Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, Vice Gov. Elmer de Peralta and Sarangani lone district Rep. Rogelio “Ruel” Pacquiao.
The three reelectionists, who ran under the PCM-PDP Laban slate, won anew by landslide, with margins of up to 172,000 votes based on the final and official tally from the province’s 453 clustered precincts.
Lawyer Kendatu Laguialam, provincial election supervisor and PBOC chair, reconvened the board at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall for the proclamation at 10:44 p.m. after nearly two days of delay due to defective secure digital or SD.
He said the problem affected the transmission of results from seven clustered precincts in the municipalities of Malungon, Malapatan and Maitum.
Based on the official results released by the Commission on Elections-Sarangani, Gov. Solon garnered a total of 175,010 votes to win his third straight term as governor, defeating for the second time independent candidate Mohamad Aquia who got 27,742.
Solon’s running mate, De Peralta, received a total of 146,750 votes while lone challenger, retired police officer Willie Dingane, got 26,825 votes.
In the congressional race, Senator Pacquiao’s younger brother Rogelio posted another overwhelming win for his second term with total votes of 182,491 while independent bet Jacob Arroyo only got 9,279 votes.
Elected as provincial board members were the senator’s brother-in-law Russel Jamora (PCM), George Falgui (PCM), Jess Bascuña (PCM) and Rosemarie Sayo (PCM) in the first district; and Ephraim Galzote (PCM), Irish Arnado (PCM), Joseph Calanao (PCM), Corazon Grafilo (PCM), Arman Guili (PCM) and Jose Tranquilino Ruiz in the second district.
Solon vowed to double his efforts to bring more services to residents, especially those situated in far-flung barangays and communities.
He cited the implementation of priority programs and projects, among them the improvement and expansion of the provincial hospital’s services, completion of the provincial sports complex and expansion of the local government’s education programs.
“We will continue to pursue a God-centered prosperity here in Sarangani,” he told reporters.
Rogelio said he will work on the expansion of economic activities in the province so it can generate more local income and not depend much on its Internal Revenue Allotment share from the national government.
“We will strengthen our job generation initiatives and encourage more investors to come in,” he said.
In the municipal level, six of the seven mayoral and vice mayoral candidates fielded by PCM-PDP Laban were declared winners.
These were Vic Paul Salarda and Ronnel Español in Alabel; Danny Martinez and Marie Jess Ancheta in Kiamba; Alexander Bryan Reganit and Tito Balazon in Maitum; Tessa Constantino and Mariano Escalada Jr. in Malungon; Vivien Yap and Victor James Yap in Glan; and Zyrex Pacquiao and Visitacion Nambatac in Maasim.
Zyrex, who landed second in the municipal council race in Maasim in 2016, is a nephew of Senator Pacquiao.
In Malapatan town, the barangay chair tandem of independents Salway Sumbo and Jean delos Santos convincingly won as mayor and vice mayor over the PCM bets.
Sumbo is the chair of Barangay Kinam and Delos Santos of Barangay Lun Padidu.
“We embarked on a campaign to empower our barangays, which were neglected for a long time, despite lacking resources and endorsement from major political parties,” Sumbo said in a radio interview.
The Sumbo-Delos Santos municipal council slate, which won five seats, included five barangay chairs and two barangay councilors. (MindaNews)