‘THE BIG THREE.’ Sarangani province’s touted “big three” – (from left) outgoing Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao, and Vice Governor Elmer de Peralta – pose in front of supporters before filing their certificates of candidacies under the ruling local political party People’s Champ Movement on Friday (Oct. 1, 2021). Solon is seeking the province’s lone congressional seat while Pacquiao and de Peralta are running for governor and vice governor, respectively. (Photo grabbed from the Facebook page of Vice Gov. De Peralta

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – House of Representatives Deputy Speaker and Sarangani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao vowed to further accelerate the province’s development and progress as he formally launched his bid for the gubernatorial post on Friday.

Accompanied by dozens of family members, close allies, and supporters, the second-term lawmaker filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for governor shortly before 3 p.m. at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in Alabel town.

He led the complete provincial slate of the ruling People’s Champ Movement (PCM), a local political party founded by his elder brother and presidential candidate Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

“I am very happy that we are all here, united to push for more changes and make our beloved province better,” he told reporters after emerging from the Comelec office.

The PCM picked incumbent Vice Governor Elmer de Peralta, currently on his second term, as Rogelio’s running mate while outgoing Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon will be vying for the province’s lone congressional seat.

The provincial board slate in the province’s first district is led by incumbents Rosemarie Martinez Sayo, Jess Bascuña, and Russel Jamora, brother of Senator Manny’s wife Jinkee, and newcomer Arnold Abequibel.

In the second district, the party fielded incumbents Corazon Grafilo, Tranquilino Ruiz, Irish Arnado, Ephraim Galzote, Joseph Calanao, and new addition Gwyn Singcoy.

If elected, Rogelio said he would continue the programs started by Solon and introduce initiatives that would bring more development opportunities to the province.

He said he has enough experience to lead the province as governor after completing two straight terms in the House of Representatives.

At the local level, he said his office helped facilitate the implementation of millions worth of infrastructure projects and provided various services.

“Our family and party are very grateful for the trust and support of the people of Sarangani. Rest assured that we will continue to work to uplift the quality of life of every Sarangan,” Rogelio said.

He said the party is also fully supporting the presidential bid of Senator Pacquiao, who formally filed his COC in Manila on Friday morning.

“We support him 101 percent. We’re happy for him, especially if given the chance to lead our country, God willing,” he said. (PNA)