THE reelection bids of Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer in 2022 have gained boost in a gathering attended by the members of Love Negros coalition Saturday, September 18.
Some 13 mayors and seven Provincial Board Members attended the fellowship lunch of Love Negros held at the Nature’s Village Hotel in Talisay City, Silay City Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez confirmed.
The event was led by Lacson, who is the chair of Love Negros, former Third District congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, Abang Lingkod Party-list Representative Stephen Pauduano and Third District Representative Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez.
Also present were board members Rommel Debulgado, Aracelli Somosa (First District) Manuel Frederick Ko and Andrew Montelibano (Third District), Agustin Ernesto Bascon (Fifth District), Jeffrey Tubola (Sixth District) and Ryan Gamboa of the Philippine Councilors League - Negros Occidental.
Aside from Golez, the mayors who attended were Renato Gustilo (San Carlos City), Melecio Yap (Escalante), Marilyn Era (Calatrava), Francis Frederick Palanca (Victorias City), Neil Lizares (Talisay City), Marvin Malacon (E.B. Magalona), Gerry Rojas (Murcia), Enrique Miravalles (Valladolid), Jose Nadie Arceo (Hinigaran), Pedro Zayco (Kabankalan City), John Rey Tabujara (Cauayan) and Ernesto Estrao (Hinoba-an).
Mayors John Paul Alvarez of Ilog, Miguel Peña of Pulupandan, Irene Montilla of Isabela and Gina Montilla of Sipalay City were not present at the event like Sixth District Representative Genaro Alvarez Jr.
Love Negros has 17 incumbent mayors.
Golez said he was personally endorsed by Lacson and former congressman Albee Benitez and congressman Kiko Benitez during the event.
The gathering came a day after the officials under the Asenso Metro Third District met in Victorias City on September 15 and threw their all-out support to the Lacson-Ferrer tandem as well as [Albee] Benitez’s bid for mayor of Bacolod City.
Earlier, Love Negros merger partner United Negros Alliance (Unega) canceled its own party assembly on the same venue and date due to Covid-19 concerns. Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Eacalante, secretary general of Unega, has assured of the party’s support for the Lacson-Ferrer tandem.
Golez said Love Negros members will file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) on the same day, which shall be determined later.
He, however, said there is now a new guideline by the Commission on Elections requiring all candidates to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result within 48 hours prior to filing COCs.
If tested positive, the candidate may send a representative to the Comelec, Golez said.