FORMER Benguet governor Nestor Fongwan will march his way to Congress while Melchor Diclas and Johnny Waguis unseated incumbent Governor Crescencio Pacalso and Vice – Governor Florence Tingbaoen, respectively.
Fongwan of PDP-Laban won with 130,026 votes, gaining 76.17 percent of the total votes on Monday, May 13, while Mankayan Mayor Materno Luspian of Lakas-CMD garnered 25,613 votes and Thorrsson Keith with 15,051 votes.
The former official returns to the limelight after losing his congressional bid in 2016 against Ronald Cosalan, who has decided to retire from politics after finishing his three terms as the lone district representative of Benguet.
"The election process is already through, the people have spoken," Fongwan said.
"The overwhelming support of the more than 130,000 voters, it's really unprecedented here in the province," he added.
Fongwan also served as mayor of La Trinidad from 1998 to 2007 and governor from 2007 to 2016.
"We have several plans, direction for the development of Benguet. We have to start looking for funds, amending laws, passing laws that can contribute to development. But we really need funds to trigger the economy," Fongwan added.
Former Buguias mayor Melchor Diclas, also of PDP–Laban, topped the gubernatorial race with 98,745 votes, defeating Pacalso with 67,238 and Alexander Tadina with 1,230 votes.
Diclas, a general surgeon by profession, is pushing for the upgrading of bed capacity of Benguet General Hospital to 400 from the current 200.
"We need to increase the dialysis units, we have 10 around like that but nakikita natin kulang pa rin. Double to triple to lessen long lines," said Diclas.
Incumbent board member Johnny Waguis, another PDP-Laban stalwart in the province, garnered 79,461 votes against incumbent Vice Governor Florence Tingbaoen, who received 78,777 votes.
Pacalso, in a social media post, thanked his supporters for the 40 years of public service.
Some 176,133 voters out of the 227,033 registered voters in Benguet voted during the midterm National and Local Elections on Monday, May 13.
Incumbent board member Florencio Bentrez garnered the highest votes with 25,734 votes for the first district composed the towns of Tuba, Itogon, Sablan, Kabayan, Bokod.
Bernard Waclin followed with 24,507 while Juan Nazarro Jr. garnered 24,336 and Sander Fianza with 24,078.
For the second district, all re-electionists defended their posts with Robert Namoro leading the list with 58,087 votes followed by Apolinario Camsol (52,637), Ruben Paoad (50,646), Roberto Canuto (48,180), Fernando Balaodan (46,247), and Jim Botiwey (45,796).
District II is composed of the towns of La Trinidad, Tublay, Kapangan, Kibungan, Atok, Buguias, Bakun and Mankayan.
The proclamation of all the winners was made by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on Tuesday evening, May 14, with transmission of votes from the 13 different municipalities completed by 2:34 p.m. of May 14.