Unity Walk in Davao del Norte

The Commission on Elections, together with the Philippine National Police, spearheaded a nationwide Unity Walk on Sunday, January 13, as election period officially starts.

In Davao del Norte, local candidates from rival political groups Hugpong ng Pagbabago and the PDP-Laban joined the activity where they walked side by side to show their support for a honest, orderly and peaceful May 2019 elections.

Among those who joined the Unity Walk were gubernatorial candidates Rodney del Rosario from HNP and Edwin Jubahib from PDP-Laban.

Fierce rivals Congressmen Tonyboy Floirendo and Pantaleon Alvarez were a no-show as the two are said to be in Metro Manila for the start of their session on Monday.

Congressional candidates Vice Gov. Allan Dujali and Gov. Anthony del Rosario were also absent during Sunday’s event.

After the walk, the candidates also released whited doves to symbolize their adherence and unity to make the mid-term elections as fair and as credible as possible.

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Mayor complains vs. “fake” road project

Mayor Leah Marie Moral-Romano of Braulio Dujali in Davao del Norte complained against what she called “fake” road survey conducted by personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in her town from May 9-16 at a time when there was supposedly a public works ban due to the barangay and SK elections.

In a letter to DPWH 11 director Engr. Allan Borromeo, Mayor Romano said that a group of surveyors donning DPWH uniforms and using vehicles with DPWH logo conducted survey on the provincial roads within Braulio Dujali on May 9, 10 and 16.

“The said group surveyed the provincial roads inside Barangay Cabayangan and Barangay Tanglaw and by overt acts, masquerading that they were implementing concreting projects without following the proper protocol of informing me, as the Local Chief Executive,” Mayor Romano narrated.

The mayor said the DPWH survey was not coordinated with her office and that she was not aware of any “road-concreting project” appropriated for their town. This aside from the fact that the barangay and SK election prohibits such projects from being implemented.

“Thirdly, as the local chief executive of this municipality, I was not informed regarding any surveys or technical works that DPWH is introducing in my area of responsibility (AOR). As the mayor of this town for (2) two years, it has been a practice that every projects to be implemented in my AOR, the officials as well as staff from DPWH have always had the courtesy to inform me through pre-construction conference or a meeting for that matter,” Mayor Romano said.

The mayor said she readily sent her municipal engineer to check on the supposed DPWH project. It was then they discovered that the supposed road project was merely a political propaganda.

“It was found out from Engr. Jezabel E. Tuling of DPWH District Office, that the said survey was just a preparation of a proposal for concreting projects at the behest of District Engineer Noel C. BasaƱes. There was no budget for these projects as what they purported, it was merely a zarzuela for election propaganda. Adding insult to injury, all these projects were coursed through a legislative member, the Honorable Gregorio Facula and a certain civilian and a defeated-barangay candidate, Restie Tabirao, by-passing me as the municipal mayor for their political propaganda,” Mayor Romano rued.

The mayor told Engr. Borromeo that she is not opposing the DPWH project if indeed there is one. What she is complaining about is how some political groups are using DPWH for their machinations and dirty political tricks.

“I am writing this letter not to protest the surveys or any proposals, because given our current status of being deprived and stripped-off with vital infrastructure projects that were rightly ours, we are in dire need of any projects that can be sourced out from any government agencies. Hence, I will be very grateful if these projects are indeed existing and real. However, these were just part of the machinations and dirty political tricks of TEAM ALDU (PDP-LABAN), in collusion of the district engineer who should act and appear apolitical,” Romano said.

The mayor demanded an investigation and called for the imposition of sanctions against DPWH personnel who allowing themselves to be use for politics.

“I am demanding for an investigation on this matter, and ultimately impose sanctions on erring DPWH officials for using this office for personal and political gains at the expense of the government resources and taxpayers money. These outrageous and shameful acts deserved strong condemnation for the reason that they did not just deceived the public, they have shown this office in a bad light,” Mayor Romano stated.

Why Duterte purposely failed to vote

President Rodrigo Duterte opted not to cast his vote in the barangay and SK elections Monday, May 14, since almost all of the candidates were his friends.

Duterte said he does not want to choose any of the candidates to be fair to all of them who supported his presidential bid in 2016.

“Purely political. Lahat yung tumakbo kaibigan ko. Almost all were my supporters in the last election. And, they would never believe that nag boto ako only sa kanila. Sa tingin ko the better option would really be to skip the voting. Ayaw ko magduda sila,” Duterte explained.

Davao Election Fast Facts

Davaoenos join the whole nation in Barangay and SK Elections today where over 2.8 million registered voters are expected to flock in 3,822 established and 1,618 clustered precincts across Davao region.

There are a total of 2,573 candidates for barangay captains in Davao Region and 21,252 for barangay councilman.

For SK, Comelec said there are 2,982 candidates for SK chairmen and 10,355 for SK kagawads.

Davao City, which has 182 barangays, has the most number of established precincts at 6,483 and 2,733 clustered precincts; Davao del Sur has 232 barangays and has 2,430 established and 1,160 clustered precincts; Davao Occidental with 105 barangays has 1,184 established and 515 clustered precincts; Davao del Norte with 223 barangays has 3,822 established and 1,618 clustered precincts; Compostela Valley with 237 barangays has 2,869 established and 1,271 clustered precincts; and, Davao Oriental with 183 barangays has 2,185 established and 1,009 clustered precincts. (JSGD)

Photo shows a muddy voting precinct in Davao City due to constant rain every night the past week. This however failed to stop the resolve of most voters to exercise their right to suffrage. (PHOTO BY KEY BIRD)