AS THE dust settles, the noise dims and the air clears, a new set of leaders buckle up and ride to the City Hall in response to a fresh mandate from the people. The expectations are at a high level and those who supported the new set are truly seen throwing their support and encouragement for a better Baguio. We, the new set of leaders truly need the full commitment of our people towards the progress of Baguio and her people.
I am included in this new set of leaders as the cliff hanger. As I am the last of the twelve elected councilors to complete the city council. The campaign period was gruelling for various reasons like being ostracized by the previous group that I was in, adjusting to a new campaign team and a better strategy, rekindling the interest of the people in my father’s legacy of public service and being firm in refusing to donate items I do not have and continue to support a clean and honest election.
During the campaign, despite all the animosity there were more encouragements and prayers I got that kept me going for more than 45 days. Before the end of 2018, I was ready to quit the race because of what I saw in the city infrastructures and the apathy of our people. One Sunday in December during the coffee hour after church service, I was ranting in the presence of our Prime Bishop Joel Pachao, our godparents Manuel and Martha Ano, and several of our regulars.
I was telling them I want to withdraw from the race, my Bishop was very silent and when I was done he firmly said “You go, we will pray for you and will help you.” That sealed it all; he blessed me so I was back in the race. Then I remembered my dad, in 2010 I was again in a state of frustration and was telling my dad councilor Galo, “awan pangabak ko dita, people don’t know me in Baguio.” He was very calm and after my ranting, he mildly told me “You go, you will win, inkaketdi agkumpanya.” So goodbye to “withdrawing from the race” before the election.
So it was a whole day schedule, prayers after waking up, put up my walking shoes and go for house to house in the morning followed by caucuses, meetings, organizational activities or barangay visit which ends in three to four rallies at night. I will sometimes end up eating dinner at 10 o’clock in the evening and going straight to bed. Will wake up at four o’clock in the morning and repeat the routine for more than 40 days before the election. There were setbacks, but members of the GOBIWAN team always manage to keep me back on the track. My sister Marlene, her husband Sammy and my better half John Allan made it a point to muster support from family and friends to keep the campaign on positive outcomes.
We had very few tarpaulins as these were donated by supporters. Our tarpaulins were getting confiscated by operation baklas, torn and replaced by other campaigners and simply un hanged by some of those who asked and never put it up. We had printed polyetos/flyers but they were never enough. Some of ours landed in other camps as eager campaigners supported us despite the varying party lines. After the campaign, my office manager told me that some of my flyers ended up in the Magalong and Aliping camp, which is politics when families support different candidates from different camps. According to her, when she asked these campaigners, they said they support me and simply included our flyers when they distribute their fliers.
Fast forward to the Election Day, we were one of the first to fall in line at the polling places and it was a mess. Our barangay has a big electorate which was placed in a very narrow passage way, when it should have been placed closer to the grounds for more space. We were in four queues in a less than one meter corridor, and the line was long. The cool air and the cool headedness of people made it bearable until we were done with voting. We had some family time and then the counting began.
Some family members including my husband were in the FVR, some glued to the radio and were monitoring the results. The results were uncertain and depending on what tally one was listening to or hearing I was in and I was out of the magic twelve. It was a rollercoaster for those who were in the FVR, and then I did not hear anything anymore. Then the Congressman, the Mayor and the Vice mayor were declared by the canvassing board. That was the time I went to FVR, I was greeted by some as I sat, Prosecutor Elmer Sagsago, my kumpare came and updated me on the status of the results where the three of us – Bummy Bumanglag and Jonathan Vergara – were closely contesting the last slot.
Every time there was a new update he would come to show us the possibilities until only three were not entered. It clearly shows that I got the spot – cliff hanger no more, at that time I was already ahead with 1,650 votes. I was in and it was a relief then the canvassers decided to call a recess until the next day. The suspense has ended.