Cong. Dong and His Ninong-A A +A
By Ram Mercado
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
IN CONTRAST to the mudslinging and slander that had marked the political fight in Angeles City, the contest for 3rd Congressional District is being waged in a high level.
When he hosted a Christmas party for the media, City Mayor Oca Rodriguez did not launch an unexpected attack on his rival. He outlined his achievements and his future plans for the District.
Mayor Oca intimated he was leading the race by a modest margin in a preference survey conducted by his group. The results, he reported, put Rep. Dong Gonzales, his nuptial godson, the second placer in many barangays.
This drew a reaction from the congressman to his Ninong’s claim and invited opinion writers to a briefing conducted by his chief of staff, Ramon Navarra.
The survey was conducted by a prestigious organization that has leading personalities in Congress as clients. It is worthwhile to stress that both Oca and Dong have intensified their work in the field of education.
The newspapers reported that his “Iskolar ng Dong” program recently graduated 400 Techno-Voc students. These were trained for basic skills for employment abroad.
There are currently some 755 elementary, 10,000 secondary and 5,000 college students, along with 800 day care trainees enjoying regular financial assistance from Gonzales’s program.
They are apart from 837 scholars enrolled at the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (Mexico campus).
The recent graduates were given free tool kits to start up on self-employment. Hundreds of graduates are now working abroad as baristas, automotive mechanics, beauticians, and computer technicians.
In cooperation with Tesda, Representative Dong sponsored his school assistance program called “Metung Obra Balang Familia” which graduates are spread in 3rd district municipalities. He aims to create at least one job for every family being helped.
Gonzales spends millions of pesos annually to maintain his financial support to the scholars including out-of-school youth, as well as to sustain his development projects in his district. He cited this huge obligation and necessity as one reason to shift party affiliation. Rodriguez did the same earlier. He wanted to have another Kapampangan president after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
This explains why the issue of betrayal and disloyalty (against GMA) is not raised by both candidates who used to be allied with the former president.
Not to be outdone by Dong’s much-acclaimed education program, Mayor Oca gathered his city “iskolars” too, some 4,698 of them, at the Heroes Hall last week in line with his Scholarships in Education for Empowerment and Development project.
The SEED started during the mayor’s first term, his “legacy to our children that they will fervently cherish from one generation to another.”
With education as the common battleground of the two contenders, the 3rd district will be assured of continuing socio-economic growth through a chain reaction of skills-driven and well-trained citizenry.
The Oca-Dong contest has been relatively sedate and done in high level campaign. The congressman, though, saw some dirty tricks with Oca’s theatrical performers doing a smear job against him.
Dong’s chief of staff, in releasing figures of the latest poll survey in the 3rd district, showed the tabulated results as follows: San Fernando - Dong 49.9 percent, Oca 41.1 percent; Mexico - Dong 75.2 percent, Oca 15 percent; Sta. Ana - Dong 64 percent, Oca 26.5 percent; Arayat - Dong 76.6 percent, Oca 13.8 percent.
The 3rd District has some 313,000 registered voters.
Asked to explain the survey results, Navarra said Mayor Rodriguez came out too late in declaring his candidacy for congressman, and that the Mayor concentrated his development work in San Fernando.
Dong’s projects and activities are all over the District and he was consistently doing this since three years ago, he said.
Local pundits believed the survey results as credible, especially that of San Fernando. The pro-Oca provincial administration, in what was understood as support move and damage control, had recently released some P10 million in development aid to 35 villages of the city, according to Navarra.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 09, 2013.