MAYORALTY aspirant Vilma Caluag arrived early Thursday morning, October 11, at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in the City of San Fernando flanked by supporters in red shirts as the first person to file her certificate of candidacy (COC).
Caluag marched into the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando to offer prayers before trooping to the city hall where the Comelec office is located. She is running as an independent with a couple of councilor-candidates under her slate.
Former councilors Dein Henson, Jacklyn Calimlim and Jay Cuyugan will join her slate.
She said she is friends with the two aspiring vice-mayoralty candidates and has not finalized any possible alliance with any of them as of press time.
She added that she is not closing the doors to a possible alliance. Councilor Angie Hizon and incumbent Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin are expected to run for vice-mayor.
Speaking to Sun.Star Pampanga, in an exclusive interview at her home in St. Dominic Subdivision, Caluag said that she has been convinced by the way the city is run to seek the top post to implement change in the current system.
Asked where the current administration failed, Caluag said that social services, medical care and educational assistance have been put on the sideline. She said that she will institute immediate change in the system if given a chance to serve.
She added that she will be known for “a more maternal and compassionate style of leadership which the current administration lacks.”
"I will be focusing on education, healthcare and livelihood. Also the need to improve the current traffic situation in the city is a vital concern alongside other social services," Caluag added.
Caluag will challenge reelectionist mayor Edwin Santiago, who is now serving his second term as local chief executive.
Caluag had reportedly attracted to her side “dissatisfied” Santiago supporters as well as the support of former mayor Rey Aquino and former Third District congressman Oscar Rodriguez.
The mayoralty aspirant said she is urging more Fernandinos to join the advocacy to start a leadership change in the city for the better.
Tensed and overwhelmed
“Tensed and a little bit nervous but all worth it just to serve my fellow Fernandinos.”
This was how Caluag described how she felt as she filed her certificate of candidacy.
“This is my first time to be in such a huge electoral race and I am very much overwhelmed for the support the support I have received from my fellow village chairmen whom, I shall say, are very brave to air their support considering the fact that we will be facing an incumbent and of course my fellow Fernandinos,” Caluag said.
Caluag also expressed her hopes that peace will still reign in the City of San Fernando and among all candidates in different elected positions as the election season officially kicked off Thursday.
“My prayer is for peaceful and clean elections this coming May 2019 for the sake of our city and fellow Fernandinos,” she said. (With Princess Clea Arcellaz)