MEXICO -- Officials of Mexico and Apalit in Pampanga are asking the poll body to remove their towns from the elections watchlist, saying the conduct of May 10 polls in their area will generally be peaceful.
Mexico Mayor Teddy Tumang, who is seen to serve his third and final term after the May polls, said elections in this first class municipality will be peaceful.
Apalit Mayor Jun Tetangco, for his part, said his town should also be removed in the “watchlist” as elections in the municipality have been peaceful and non-violent, and all incumbent local officials who are seeking reelection have vowed to promote “politics of performance” and not “to destroy one another.”
The mayors’ reactions came after a report from the Pampanga Provincial Police Office (PPPO) that Mexico and Apalit are among the seven towns included in the “watchlist” in the coming national and local polls.
On Thursday, the PPPO led by Police Provincial Director Gil Lebin Jr. said the two towns, including Candaba, Mabalacat, Arayat, San Simon, and Porac, had been put on the watchlist and are being monitored by the police because of histories of election-related violence.
Lebin said while the province itself is not an election hotspot, increased monitoring by police with additional checkpoints in the areas would be done to avert any form of election-related violence that may arise from intense political rivalry.
Tumang, however, said that contrary to the report, it is highly improbable that this town will be included among the so-called “hot spots” in the province since he and his running mate will be running unopposed.
“Parang hindi yata tama ang sinasabi nila na kasama kami sa watchlist ng mga bayan na binabantayan sa darating na election. Sa aking paniwala ay tapos na ang pulitika dito sa Mexico at puro trabaho na lang ang aming ginagawa,” Tumang said.
The mayor added that it will be the first time that a local chief executive here will be serving three consecutive terms and with no opponent.
“Palagay ko matahimik tayo dito sa Mexico dahil nakita ng mga tao ang pagmamalasakit at tunay na serbisyo na ating binibigay sa kanila. Sa pagtutulungan naming ni Vice, mga konsehal at mga kapitan ay patuloy na lumalago ang ating bayan,” Tumang added.
He said while some members of the Municipal Council will be running for reelection and others will be seeking a higher position in the Provincial Government, politics here is “friendly competition,” adding that it is never personal.
For Tetangco, candidates in Apalit will not destroy one another but will only promote their “politics of performance.”
“Hindi tayo maninira kundi ilalathala lamang natin ang atin mga programa at mga accomplishments sa mga tao. Alam naman ng mga Apaliteños kung ano ang ginawa natin sa unang term palang natin at makakaasa ang aming mga kababayan na doble pang serbisyo ang gagawin natin sa susunod pang mga taon,” Tetangco said.
The mayor added that he does not wish to talk about his political foe, saying he wishes to focus more on his work and not politics at the moment. (Chris Navarro/With Jovi T. De Leon)