DAVAO CITY – What was expected to be a grand reunion with his political leaders and supporters invited to his birthday bash on January 10, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez was surrounded instead by guests from outside the province of Davao del Norte.
The event, which was highlighted by the launching of his “voters education advocacy”, was held in two venues – the Tagum City Covered Court and Hijo Plantation Beach Resort. Out of eight towns and three city mayors of the province, only the host City Mayor of Tagum, Allan Rellon, was present.
Rellon was described to have been surprised that what was thought of as a simple ceremony for the launching and birthday of Alvarez, the attendees surpassed what quarantine restrictions allow in a gathering.
Gov. Edwin Jubahib, who facilitated the event's preparation was the other local official present.
Guests from outside the province include LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva, Agusan del Sur Gov. Santiago Cane, actor, and ex-Makati Rep. Monsour del Rosario, and several board members from Bulacan.
A surprise appearance was Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan chair Lito Banayo.
Conspicuously absent were Davao del Norte Rep. Allan Dujali of the 2nd District and Vice Gov. Rey Uy. The two were rumored to have parted ways with Alvarez when he quit the ruling party and started taking a jab at Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HnP) leaders were not also amused with the manifesto that Alvarez posted as part of what was earlier announced as “voters education” advocacy.
Emblazoned in the manifesto is “We Need a Leader, 2022” and a litany of criticism against how the Duterte government handled the pandemic crisis and other political and economic issues.
Lies and distortion
Former Davao de Oro Governor and now Senior Board Member Arturo Uy denounced what he described as blatant lies and distortion of what the government has done and been doing to address the complex problems brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and how the Duterte administration handled the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea.
“Pinapalabas ni Alvarez na wala ng ginawang mabuti ang pamahalaang Duterte upang matulungan at maibsan ang kahirapan ng mga mamamayan sa gitna ng problemang dulot ng pademya. Pinapalabas din niya na parang kasalanan ng gobyerno ang mawalan ng trabaho at mga OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) na yon nama’y dahil maraming negosyo na nagsara dahil sila rin ay naapektuhan ng pandemya (Alvarez makes it appear that the administration of Duterte is not doing anything to help and alleviate the difficulties of the people in the midst of the pandemic. He also put the blame on the government for why the OFWs lost their jobs when the real cause is that businesses [in other countries] closed because of the pandemic),” Uy said.
He added that through the initiative of President Duterte, Davao del Norte province, towns and cities were recipients of more of less PHP800-million under Bayanihan 1 and 2 and other augmentation funds to help those who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic.
The President, he said, saw to it that the province gets a substantial budget for infrastructures.
Uy, who is an incumbent pillar of HnP, denounced the group for putting the blame on Duterte for tension at the West Philippine Sea and loss of Scarborough shoal when the truth is the islands at WPS had been a subject of the multi-lateral claim and it was the administration of ex-Pres. Benigno Aquino abandoned the Scarborough.
He said he is in accord with the diplomatic strategies of Duterte as Filipino fishermen can still fish in the traditional fishing ground and China opening their markets for Philippine products.
China, he added, is now the biggest buyer of Philippine Cavendish bananas thus saving thousands of jobs especially the agricultural workers in Davao del Norte.
He said because of Duterte, China extends cheap loans to the Philippines to finance infrastructure projects including the Samal bridge, three bridges that span Pasig River that cost billions of pesos are also donations from China, not to mention the unquantifiable assistance the country extended to help medical front-liners.
Uy, who had been tasked by HnP to strengthen the regional party, hit innuendos in the manifesto stating that the next President for 2022 is a leader who is “not a pretender”, “with brains”, with “balls” and political will, and can lead.
He said the party will continue to support the leadership of President Duterte who steadfastly navigate the country against all the challenges of the time, adding that the region will always be behind HnP chairperson, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.
Duterte, he added, is a genuine leader imbued with courage and intellect.
“And yes she has the political will and guts to engage even a Speaker of the House if needed,” he said, referring to the Mayor who topped the recent Pulse Asia survey among the probable Presidential candidates in the 2022 elections. (PNA)