THE election fever has gone full swing with scores of candidates for local elective posts jump-starting their respective electoral campaigns Friday, March 26 with varied proclamation rallies.

Baguio leads the number of candidates with eight listed bets for congressman, ten wannabes for city mayor and three others for vice-mayor. But, the bulk of city candidates is made up of 56 aspirants for city councilors. Of this number, only 12 will get elected.

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In Benguet, six are in the flight for congressman and, at least, four fighting it out for the governorship. The vice-governorship will be a choice between two rivals.

In the Trinidad mayorship three candidates are to slug it out with an equal number in the fight for the vice mayorship.

Elsewhere in five other Cordillera provinces and one city known candidates have likewise commenced their respective poll drives.

With the exception of Abra and in a lesser degree Kalinga, past election in the Cordillera region were comparatively peaceful. In Baguio, politics have always been pursued in a peaceful and respectable manner. The same can be said of Benguet as far as elections have been carried out in previous years.

This time around, even in the face of an increased number of candidates, Baguio and Benguet are expected to maintain a comfortably peaceful electoral process.

In Baguio, candidates have entered into a covenant for peaceful and orderly polls. They have also taken part in public forums where they laid out their election platforms for public scrutiny.

One such candidates’ forum is being spearheaded by a mixed convenor group by representatives of the Baguio Centennial Commission (CenteCom), the government-run Public Information Agency, Cordillera regional office; and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), Baguio.

This candidates’ forum will be held at the City Council session hall at City Hall in the morning of Tuesday, April 13. It will be conducted over a three-hour period from 9 to 12 noon with live local radio and television coverage including print media.

Leading the convenor group is Architect Joseph Alabanza, head of a special CenteCom committee, handling the affair.

As far as Baguio, Benguet and the rest of the Cordilleras are concerned what is important is that the true will of the majority of electors should prevail. While rivalries among candidates may sometimes become intense, even heated, this should not be allowed to result in dire consequences. This should not be allowed to spoil and raise doubts and questions on the credibility of the electoral process.

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CenteCom is following up on its project in the placement of centennial markers on selected historical sites in the city. Tomorrow morning, one such marker will be inaugurated at Camp John Hay. Installed at the new main entrance to the camp along Loakan Road, the marker took cognizance of the significant role played by John Hay in the development of Baguio. John Hay, as a matter of fact, outdates the foundation day of the city. It was set up during the early years of the American colonial rule in the Philippines.

This week, representatives of CenteCom also discussed with managers of the Maharlika Livelihood Center on the most convenient place where a similar historical marker will be placed. CenteCom and Maharlika officials have tentatively agreed in setting the marker in a place leading to the fastfoods area and facing the sidewalk of the livelihood ground floor.

There are, at least, 14 city historical sites where markers will be installed. The first marker has been erected in front of the Baguio City Hall, the latest being the one for the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center which was inaugurated last week.

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Two young Persian (Iranian) coeds have been selected as Baguio’s Lucky Foreign Summer Visitors. They are Leila Pouramoy and Zohren Ghasemi, both of the industrial city of Estahan, Iran.

The pair arrived in Baguio in late November last year and are enrolled at Saint Louis University taking up post graduate courses in psychology. They are also enrolled in a local language school operated by Mr. and Mrs. George Wong at the CAP building, Post Office Loop. They are onto a crash course in English at the Wong school and can now speak passable English from zero when they first arrived in the city.

The Lucky Foreign Visitors project is for annual program of the National Correspondents Club of Baguio (NCCB) chaired by former city councilor and veteran newsman Nars Padilla in coordination with the City Government as a local tourism booster. This project started in the mid-sixties, the first two lucky visitors being two young Japanese students in a brief visit to Baguio.

This Wednesday, March 31 the visitors will pay a courtesy call on Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Jr. at the City Hall where they will be presented with keys to the city. While in Baguio until Sunday, April 4, the lucky summer visitors will be billeted at the Pines View Hotel along Legarda Road, courtesy of hotel owners, Mr. and Mrs. Romeo Aquino.

During their stay in Baguio, they will be taken on a tour of local scenic and historical spots. Last Wednesday night, they were dinner guests of Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. at Rosebowl Restaurant. Tonight, SM Baguio will also host the pair for dinner. This morning, the visitors were guests for lunch of Mayor Artemio Galwan of Trinidad and Gov. Nestor Fongwan of Benguet who also presented the guest welcome keys to Trinidad and Benguet. They were also taken on a tour of the town’s strawberry farms and privileged to pick ripe strawberries.