by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The political arena had a complete turn-around in major cities in the country as the reign of political clans ended and new faces emerged victorious in Monday’s 2019 midterm polls.
Pasig City’s new, “millennial” mayor
A promise of a “new kind of politics” is about to start in Pasig City after 29-year-old Councilor Vico Sotto braved the pressure to break the almost three-decade unbroken line of Eusebios in the country’s eighth largest city.
On his official Facebook page, Sotto thanked his supporters for the trust while he promised to lead the city to its new beginning.
“Maraming salamat. Sa lahat ng nagbigay ng tiwala, sa mga bumoto, at sa mga nakiisa sa ating laban,” the incoming Mayor said.
“Sulit po ang pagod at effort natin. Narinig na ng bayan ang ating tinig. Handa na ang Pasig para sa tunay at pangmatagalang pagbabago!” he added.
Sotto, who topped the councilor race in 2016 in his first ever attempt in public office, is the son of veteran celebrities Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes.
Sotto did not field a vice mayor which left the incumbent Iyo Christian Caruncho Bernardo unopposed.
His party-mate former Rep. Roman Romulo also won the race against Mayor Bobby Eusebio’s brother incumbent Rep. Ricky Eusebio and is now a returning congressman for Pasig City’s lone district.
A game changer in San Juan City
Businessman Francis Zamora is the new mayor of San Juan City ending the reign of the Ejercito-Estrada clan in the smallest city in Metro Manila.
Zamora considered himself a game-changer after winning the election against Jannela Ejercito, the daughter of former senator Jinggoy Estrada and granddaughter of Manila’s incumbent mayor Joseph Estrada.
The new mayor promised to turn the old city of San Juan into a highly developed “Smart City” with improved services and state-of-the-art facilities.
Francis’ father, Ronaldo Zamora, remains in office after defeating challenger Edu Manzano for the lone district of San Juan.
The Estrada clan took hold of San Juan City since 1969 when then popular actor Joseph Estrada won as mayor. He was succeeded by his sons Jinggoy and JV Ejercito then JV’s mother Guia Gomez to whom Zamora narrowly lost his bid for mayor in 2016.
The Zamoras and Estradas were family friends for 30 years until Francis and Guia both ran in the mayoralty race in 2016. Francis claimed he was cheated in the election.
Dethroning a giant
Former Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso defeated the “giant” in the country’s capital, Manila.
The new mayor described his win as a “humbling experience” while he could only wish the best for his opponent, former president and mayor Joseph Estrada.
“Maging masaya ang kaniyang mga araw sa buhay. Maging maligaya din siya na kapiling ang kaniyang pamilya…Nakapaglingkod na naman siya sa taumbayan. Napagbigyan na rin naman siya. And I think he did enough already for the country and for the city,” Domagoso said of Estrada.
A Tondo boy who used to scavenge for food, Domagoso established his political career from serving three terms as a city councilor, another three terms as vice mayor and the most recent as an undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
As now the new mayor of Manila, he promised “more programs of governance” for the city.
“Today is just the beginning. It’s going to be challenging years for us. People are expecting pero may awa ang Dios. We always wanted to be guided by law and order and by God,” he said after securing his win.
His running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah Lacuna-Pangan, also won for a second term in office. — Marje Pelayo
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The “highly successful” fourth official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China has yielded 19 signed business agreements on investments, Malacañang announced on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte’s latest trip to Beijing paved the way for the signing of $12.16 billion estimated worth of business deals which will generate more than 21,000 jobs for Filipinos.
These agreements include investments in energy, infrastructure, tourism, internet connectivity, agriculture, and training of Filipinos working in China, among others.
“As PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) noted, the People’s Republic of China is the largest trading partner and a major source of foreign investments of the Philippines,” Panelo said in a statement.
Duterte assured prospective foreign investors that the Philippine government will create an enabling environment for their investments to prosper.
Duterte and his delegation attended the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last week. The President also held separate bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Kequiang.
Panelo said the bilateral talks, described as “productive and fruitful,” yielded a one billion Renminbi grant to the Philippines.
The President also affirmed during the bilateral talks the country’s commitment to friendship and understanding with China.
“He expressed the country’s readiness to pursue more high-quality and good impact projects,” Panelo said.
On the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Duterte reiterated to China his resolve to make it a sea of peace, prosperity and stability, and address the issue through bilateral talks.
He also expounded the need for both countries to exercise restraint and caution to avoid actions that could complicate situations.
Panelo also assured Filipinos that Duterte is chartering an independent foreign policy “to a new height of diplomatic relations with other nations.”
He said this will be solely based on the country’s national security and interest and towards a direction that will contribute to national development and the realization of the aspiration to attain economic progress and comfortable life. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that the dispute over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) could be managed through bilateral consultations, Malacañang said on Thursday (April 25).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte raised the issue on the maritime dispute during his bilateral talks with Xi in Beijing.
“In the course of the bilateral meeting, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte raised the issue of the West Philippine Sea, particularly the situation in Pag-Asa Island,” Panelo said in a statement issued on Thursday night.
“Both agree that the situation can be managed by the mechanism of bilateral negotiations but it should not affect the cooperation being undertaken by both the Philippines and China and they look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual concern and interests,” he added.
Panelo, who joined Duterte in China for the second Belt and Road Forum, also said that Xi stressed the importance of “good neighborliness and proper handling of differences between the countries.”
“While the Chinese leader acknowledged the inevitable of having challenges to the bilateral relations, he placed importance on the mutual trust that exists between the two nations in order to resolve the same,” he added.
The Palace official added that Xi even cited the memorandum of understanding on oil and gas signed by the Philippines and China, which “suspended their differences for a joint exploration that would mutually benefit both countries and their peoples.”
Duterte, for his part, assured Beijing that Manila will remain its ally in Southeast Asia.
“The Chief Executive culminated the talk with the Chinese President articulating his position that the Philippines remains China’s ally in Southeast Asia. The former emphasized that both countries are allies, and allies strengthen—and do not destroy – each other,” Panelo said.
The meeting between Duterte and Xi comes on the heels of the reported harvesting of giant clams in Panatag shoal and the presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels near the Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, long-held by the Philippines.
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