REELECTIONIST Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan will face Rep. Paz Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City, Lone District) as he seeks a second term as mayor while she seeks to reclaim the post she held for nine years before becoming district representative in 2019.

It’s been a contentious relationship, with the last three years seeing the two fighting over office space in City Hall, and Chan accusing Radaza’s allies of blocking approval of his projects in the City Council, as well as of filing what he called politically motivated complaints against him before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

Minus the fireworks, what can the two offer Oponganons for the next three years?

Name: Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan

Age: 53 years old

Highest educational attainment: College graduate with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Previous work experience:

- Former city councilor of Lapu-Lapu City

- Former barangay chairman of Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City prior to getting elected as city mayor

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Lapu-Lapu City? If reelected mayor, how would you address them?

FLOODING. The main issue with the current drainage project initiated by our rival is the lack of an outfall where rainwater can drain. They have been digging left and right, but flooding persists. It has caused the Oponganons more harm than good as it has resulted in enormous traffic congestion and even endangered the lives of motorists after a number of them fell in the excavations. Once reelected, I will summon DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and review their drainage plan to make sure that an outfall is in place.

TRAFFIC. The best solution is to construct a skyway, which I endorsed to the city council for approval but was unfortunately rejected by the majority of its members who are allied with the opposition. The project would have been beneficial to the city because aside from easing traffic congestion, it will make Lapu-Lapu City more accessible to travelers and attractive to investors. Not to mention the fact that the project is at no cost to the City. We have more to gain and nothing to lose from it. But apparently, the majority of the City Council members refused to appreciate the beauty of the project because of partisan politics. After elections, we are confident to capture most, if not all, seats in the City Council, and approving the skyway project will no longer be an issue.

COMPLETION OF HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION. When I assumed office, we were shocked to discover that Phase 1 of the Lapu-Lapu City Hospital construction, whose target completion was in 2016 yet, was still less than 60 percent completed. Phase 2, which was set to be completed by 2018, was still in its skeletal form. I then ordered the contractor to finish the project at once and constantly monitored its progress. Today, we are working on Phase 5 after we were able to secure from our friend senators the needed funds. It is my campaign promise to put health among my priorities. And completing the hospital construction is a step closer to the fulfillment of that promise. I commit to making Lapu-Lapu City Hospital a tertiary hospital that is fully equipped and fully operational.

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

Consultative and inclusive. I always involve the Oponganons in decision-making. It is public knowledge that I spend more time in the community than in my office. This gives me more time to interact with the Oponganons and listen to their problems and concerns. And in addressing their concerns, I am very hands-on. That is the trademark of my service.

3. How do you see Lapu-Lapu City 10 years from now?

I am always confident that Lapu-Lapu City will be the next Singapore. Is it happening in the next 10 years? I am optimistic because we have already planted the seeds of development and all we have to do is nurture and cultivate them. We just have to continue what we started, keep the momentum and sustain our gains without losing sight of our target, which is to make Lapu-Lapu City the next Singapore.

4. Who are your role models in terms of leadership and why?

PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) has always been my idol. From being mayor to becoming the President of the Republic, how he managed to muster the support of Filipinos to put him in Malacañang continues to amaze me. His strong political will is something I always look up to and emulate.

5. What is your edge over your opponents?

My ability to serve. Not to brag, but we have accomplished more in three years compared to their 18 years combined. My track record in the past three years as mayor of Lapu-Lapu City will speak for itself. Anyone can validate this claim because our service is open and transparent. During times of tragedy, fire, storm, and pandemic, we are on the side of our Oponganon brothers and sisters, caring for them. while our opponent is hiding. They are only showing up again now that the election is coming.

Name: Paz Radaza

Age: 73

Highest educational attainment: College graduate

Previous work experience: Former bank president, former barangay captain, former mayor

1. What are the three most urgent problems in Lapu-Lapu City? If elected mayor, how would you address these?

TOURISM. For the past two years, Lapu-Lapu City has been severely affected by the pandemic and Typhoon Odette (Rai). As a TOURISM HAVEN, many Oponganons have lost their livelihood and jobs. What we did was to provide investment to select fisherfolk groups so they can get back on their feet and continue their livelihoods.

(As mayor), one of my platforms would be to provide an alternative source of income to Oponganons. We know that the knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry is one of the current livelihoods of the people. We started this program in Mactan Newtown where many Oponganons, especially young people, now work. When I return, I will further expand the programs by tapping investors to set up BPOs and KPOs per barangay.

This way, Oponganons won’t need to go to another barangay or cross to another city to find work. This program will provide alternative employment for Oponganons so they don’t depend just on tourism.

FLOOD. Lapu-Lapu City’s flooding problem is getting worse. When Arturo “Boy” Radaza (Paz’s husband) sat as mayor in Lapu-Lapu City, he laid down the master drainage plan in the entire city.

As Lapu-Lapu City continues to grow and people flock in, along with that is the need to upgrade our infrastructure, including our drainage systems. During Mayor Boy’s time, he started building drainage systems and I continued them during my term as mayor from 2010 to 2019.

Around 10 kilometers of drainage have been constructed and completed in various road networks in the city. We have installed drainage lines along Kagudoy Road Basak, in Ceres Road Gun-ob, at Lopez Jaena Street Poblacion. We have also constructed drainage facilities on F. Martir St. Poblacion, along Pajac to Basak Aviation Road.

Now, as congresswoman, under my Local Infrastructure Program, we were able to spend P2.5 billion for our infrastructure project in the city for the span of two years.

A big portion of the infrastructure funds has been poured for the installation of drainage systems to the flood-prone areas along Mactan circumferential roads.

A total of 22 kilometers of drainage projects has been implemented for the last two years.

We have finished the road concreting with drainage along Barangay Basak-Agus Road, Barangay Pajo, Menzi to the City Hall area and Menzi to Basak-Tamiya, Ferry Landing road in Barangay Pajo, drainage installation along Mantawe-Ompad Road in Barangay Poblacion, drainage along Sangi-Sewage Matumbo, Bankal-Mahayahay Drainage and Sudtunggan Basak, Phase 1 and Phase 2 Basak, Marigondon and Babag, drainage system in Petron Sangi until the road behind City Hall in Barangay Pajo, Barangays Buaya-Basak Kagudoy-Bankal-Pajac Road. And there is ongoing drainage project work along Mactan Circumferential Road from Barangay Ibo and before long, work will also begin along the Buaya and Mactan road.

I have also finished the 100-meter Flood Mitigation Structure to prevent clogging of the outfall to the Sewage Treatment Plant in Barangay Basak.

I would continue installing these drainage systems to address flooding.

TRAFFIC. The city’s growth has caused the traffic problem to escalate. During my time as mayor, I installed automated traffic lights. I am looking at road widening to complement the number of vehicles passing every day on national highways.

2. How would you describe your leadership style?

I have made good governance my foundation in serving the Oponganons. Through that, honesty, integrity and transparency in every transaction in the government office was built.

3. How do you see Lapu-Lapu City 10 years from now?

Driven with tourism and IT Centers to boom in the next 10 years, I am sure that Oponganons will rapidly improve their lives.

4. Who are your models in terms of leadership and why?

The Oponganons are my models. They are the reason Paz Radaza is sincere and genuine in her service.