ALL municipal and barangay officials of the four towns in the Camotes Islands are now officially members of Cebu Province’s administration bloc, One Cebu.
This after officials took their oath before One Cebu head and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Civic Center in Tudela town on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022.
Before municipal and barangay officials took their oath, Tudela Mayor Greman “Jojo” Solante, Pilar Mayor Manuel Santiago, San Francisco Mayor Alfredo Arquillano and Poro Mayor Edgar Rama took their oath before Garcia earlier this week.
The four mayors were initially allied with the Durano-led Bakud Party for several years before jumping to One Cebu.
During the oathtaking ceremony, 32 municipal councilors took their oaths: seven in Pilar, eight in Poro, seven in San Francisco and 10 in Tudela.
A total of 49 barangay captains also took their oath on the same day: six in Pilar, 17 in Poro, 15 in San Francisco and 11 in Tudela.
Santiago, who had been under Durano-led Bakud Party for several years, said he did not have a hard time deciding to join One Cebu party, adding that joining the administration bloc would solve and develop Pilar town.
Santiago said it is best to prioritize the interest of the people over personal interest and political affiliation.
He hopes to leave a legacy to his constituents, wherein he could deliver developments in his town through the help of One Cebu.
Santiago disclosed that the four of them personally met the Duranos, wherein they expressed their intention to join One Cebu’s ruling party sometime in September this year.
He said their former political party did not force them to stay with them, adding that the respect is still there.
Arquillano said their decision to join the party would help in the development of not just his town but the entire Camotes group of islands.
Though he noted this as an historic event, Solante appealed to all his constituents to work with them and put their acts together for the benefit of Tudela.
Rama, for his part, expressed his thanks to Garcia for accepting them despite their previous affiliation.
‘Will of the people’ Barangay Mercedes chief Deograce Loon, president of the Association of Barangay Captains in the local government of Poro, said he and the barangay officials decided to follow the footsteps of their municipal officials to support Garcia.
Aside from seeing what Garcia has done for the Camotes Islands, Loon said their move to support One Cebu was also based on the will of their constituents.
‘United for the first time’
Garcia said the mass oathtaking on Saturday was historic and should not be forgotten.
She noted that Camotes Islands had never been united before or in several elections that had passed.
Garcia noted that the decision of the officials to join One Cebu was not easy but pushed for it anyway, considering they had a huge obligation to their constituents who chose them to lead.
Garcia said she described Camotes’ officials “as men of honor” for their respective their previous party and even informed them just before jumping to One Cebu.
“Because you are men of honor, nananghid mo og tarong (you asked for permission properly). Wala kamo nikalit lang og biya (You didn’t leave without notice),” she said, when they joined what she called the one, united and unifying party in the entire island of Cebu.
Garcia urged their supporters to reach out to others and extend their hands to each other.
Garcia said this as she herself extended her hand even to the opposition-allied officials.
More projects ahead
Provincial Board (PB) Member Mike Villamor, who was also present during the mass oathtaking , congratulated the people of Camotes Islands.
“Kay kaning atong mass oathtaking karon nagasimbolo sa pagguba sa linya sa division kaning naay pikas ug pikas,” Villamor said, wherein the government services or projects would now reach everyone.
(This mass oathtaking symbolizes our intention to remove the political lines that divides us)
Meanwhile, PB Member Andrei “Red” Duterte assured barangay and municipal officials that the Provincial Government and their congressional representative would be right behind them every step of the way.
“We provide you with projects even before you became One Cebu members. How much more if you are now one of us,” Duterte said.
Deputy Speaker and Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco (Cebu, 5th), for his part, thanked Camotes’ municipal and barangay officials for their support, adding that what is important is the message of the governor which is unity.
Frasco said he was happy when informed by the governor on Aug. 29 that the officials of Camotes Islands would be joining One Cebu. (MKG)