REELECTION BID. Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya files his certificate of candidacy before the local Commission on Elections office on Monday (Oct. 4, 2021). Gasataya is eyeing a second term with the commitment to work for the completion of the Bacolod City General Hospital. (Photo from Rep. Greg Gasataya's Facebook page)

BACOLOD CITY – This city's Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya is seeking a fresh mandate in the May 2022 elections with the commitment to help complete the establishment of the Bacolod City General Hospital under Republic Act (RA) 11564 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last June 24.

Running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Gasataya, also a former councilor, vice mayor and acting mayor, is eyeing a second term in the House of Representatives.

“I have filed my certificate of candidacy (COC) today as congressional candidate of the NPC…Together, we will realize our dream and build the Bacolod City General Hospital – of and for Bacolodnons,” he said in a statement after submitting his COC to the Commission on Elections here on Monday.

Gasataya authored House Bill 6731 on the establishment of the Bacolod City General Hospital while Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri sponsored the counterpart Senate Bill 1647.

His reelection bid became controversial after he decided to run as a “neutral” candidate, which means he is not affiliating with any local political party or coalition.

In the May 2019 elections, he ran under the ruling Grupo Progreso headed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia. But with his other ally, former Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez set to challenge Leonardia’s reelection bid, the lawmaker decided to run only under the NPC.

“I am not taking sides. I will run as neutral. Mayor Bing Leonardia and former Congressman Albee Benitez are my “maninoys” (principal sponsors) during my wedding. Both are significant to my personal and political journey,” Gasataya said.

He added that “the decision was difficult to make” but he acted with “the most important and sacred consideration in mind – the lives of the people of Bacolod City”.

“My decision is ultimately premised on the realization of the Bacolod City General Hospital which will start construction next year in the midst of election season, in the midst of a pandemic,” he said. (PNA)