FIVE congressional candidates met in a grand showdown of their political platforms in a forum hosted by West Negros University, at 9 a.m. of the school’s gym Thursday.

The privileged candidates include former Undersecretary Dr. Anthony Golez, incumbent Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, former Vice Mayor Renecito Novero, former congressman John Orola, and former director of Land Transportation Office for National-Capital Region Ricardo Tan.

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Each presented their platforms of government to the panel of interviewers led by university president Suzette Agustin, professors, and with special participation of the students.

Golez: Health, Infrastructure, Education, Environment

For Golez, among of his priorities are on health, public infrastructure, education and environment.

Golez said everybody “rich or poor” must have the access to health insurance. He vowed that if he gets elected, he will push for the modernization of the Corazon Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital; strengthen barangay health stations; create indigency support for poor patients; regular surgical and medical missions; and expand the “Botika sang Barangay program.”

He said opportunities would mean “more income for the family” and that he would also give focus on skills training and livelihood assistance program.

Also, he said it will be more meaningful if he could pass a law that would divide Bacolod City into two districts.

With this, he opined that programs can be fast-tracked if the city will have two representatives working in unison to get more resources from the National Government.

Lawyer Batapa-Sigue: Local Economy, Responsive Governance, IT-BPO

Incumbent and two-timer councilor, Batapa-Sigue’s vision for the city is characterized by a self-sufficient local economy, humane and dynamic leadership, transparent, accountable, participatory and responsive governance, and up-to-date sustainable strategies and approaches that contribute to the evolution of Bacolod as global of the 21st century.

Batapa-Sigue aims to provide more jobs through the Industry Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO); jobs for a new market; scholarships and trainings for teachers to prepare talent pool and bridge courses to empower out-of-school youth; improve first level health services and faster access to health services; protect children from modern day abuses; and improve general health services, among others.

Lawyer Novero: Livelihood & Cooperative, Housing, Tourism

An old-timer and veteran legislative man, Novero said to be a congressman he should be responsible for local, national and international agencies; must have good track record and accomplishments for the betterment of the city.

Novero also said health program is his focus as well as for livelihood and cooperative, housing program, tourism, scholarship, among others.

He said he will also push for the retirement benefits of the barangay officials.

Lawyer Orola: Con-con, Social Justice, National Security, Economic Zone

Once a congressman himself, Orola wants to champion national and local legislative agenda for Bacolod “such as to fight for the Charter Change or Constitutional Reforms through Constitutional Convention, passage of Bills, and House resolutions.”

Further, he stressed the importance of “the sense of the House” or in aid of legislation matters of national interest related to social justice, education, environmental protection, national security, establishment of economic zone for light and medium industries, among others.

Orola also vowed to establish tourism enterprise zone, cultural center, city hospital and satellite lying-in clinics, housing program, expansion of city markets skills and livelihood training center, and beautification of public plaza and theme park.

Tan: Youth Empowerment, Good Governance, Job Opportunities

A former councilor, Tan believes that the next congressman of Bacolod must have good track record in government, have clear directions for good governance “who could provide more jobs for the people of Bacolod.”

He also wanted to provide the best education, health care programs for the Bacolodnons and likewise, would advocate for the empowerment of the youth as well as set up a world class tourism facility in the city.

Further, Tan said that he will introduce a bill in congress seeking for a mandatory 55 percent hiring of local manpower pool and 100 percent local hiring of construction workers.