WITH catchy slogans in the vernacular like: Bayung Sibol, Bayung Diwa (roughly, new breed, new idea) and Ding Ena Bisa, Ding Sinawa na, Keni Tana, perhaps alluding to the status quo pegged by the incumbent representative for the first district of Pampanga, upstart (in the congressional race, that is) Ares Yabut lays claim on the position now being held by Carmelo "Tarzan" F. Lazatin and who has lorded it over for over a decade the area composed of Angeles City, Mabalacat and Magalang.

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Ares, whose name was taken after the god of war in mythology and whose fiery manner of speech and demeanor on stage amply defines the wealth of youth, really means business now that he has signified his intention of snatching the crown from the title holder Tarzan. He wants to inject new blood into the political system of the first district which, according to Ares, has stagnated through the years and therefore change need to be instituted so that progress may now come into the first district once he sits as the next congressman. He wants good representation in Congress, talk actively on issues there and legislate like the way Representative Dong Gonzales and Senator Chiz Escudero do in their respective turf.

Born on August 13, 1971 under the zodiac sign Leo to spouses Crispin Laxamana Yabut and Corazon Manlapaz Tayag Yuzon and happily married to Marilou Maglalang Umali of Barangay Dau, Mabalacat, Ares has two children, namely: Arren and Alyanna and obtained his college degree from the Holy Angel University. As a city legislator (three terms and for which he was awarded Most Outstanding City Councilor of the Philippines in 2008), he has chaired or participated in the committees of Commerce and Industry, Engineering and Public Works, Environment and Natural Resources, Landed Estate and Assessment, among other important assignments and has given his good sense and judgment on Agriculture, Barangay Affairs, Finance and Social Services for the city's population.

This 38-year-old, athletic type official comes ready with his platform of government should he emerge victorious: he wants change for the better and more relevant programs for the district, an Agricultural State University, cityhood for Mabalacat, covered courts and vehicles for almost all of the barangays, mobile clinics, libreng gamutan and genuine and prompt delivery of basic services.

I have observed Ares at close range and he is one with ready smile, is approachable and talks sense. He welcomes callers at his residence and does not want any one to wait that long as he goes about addressing his visitors' needs.

And so, the young ones want to enter the halls of Congress, including Ares who wants to replace the old system with a new vision, a new deal and a new approach to progress. According to him, the district needs a new face, with fresh energy and a dynamic work ethic to represent and serve his constituents mano a mano.

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Alarming. While it is yet premature to judge the performance of the automated election machines, it is worthwhile to mention here that there should be safeguards to prevent the so-called failure of elections and the ever menacing threat of outages and brownouts.

The Comelec will be at the center stage of all the activities come May 10th and in fairness to this election body, it should be given the chance to prove the efficacy of its very expensive machines. This time, I hope it can count and tabulate fairly and squarely.

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First term pa lang yan. Angeles City Mayor Francis "Blueboy" L. Nepomuceno wants his constituents to know that he and his team has accomplished so much for them even only in his first term as the city's chief executive. He wants to do more, and accomplish more as he lines up more programs and plans for this highly urbanized and competitive city.

Work is Mr. Blue's password and rest takes a backseat once he is engrossed on his hectic schedule. He of course finds time to do some bonding with his employees and family members, di ba, Mark Allen Sison?

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An important activity will be staged today in Mabalacat. This is the traditional annual Caragan fest which will start in Mabiga and will end in Xevera Tabun, courtesy of the indefatigable mayor Boking Morales and ably supported by municipal officials led by Municipal Administrator Rosan Paquia and Jun Magbalot. Public and private school officials, teachers and students are expected to participate in this grand undertaking.