Day 2: Campaigning for 15-0, the Achievement with Integrity Movement (AIM) ended their Proclamation Rally with a salute to the Generals held at Oval, Sunday, March 31, 2013. All the candidates were present, except Councilor Llido who attended the wake of her nephew in Manila. She was represented by her son, and a video of her message was shown. Mr. Banac, a police officer, pegged the crowd at about 20,000.
I made it a point to attend the Opening Salvo of the AIM since event like this lays down the foundation of the campaign.
During opening salvos, parties put their best foot forward, trying to make an impression that they are already winners. Many times did candidates affirm the crowd that as shown by their attendance victory is certain. Generally, nobody would want to join a losing team.
Political campaign is like building a house. You build first the foundation—what is this election all about. And from thereon you strengthen your case with supporting arguments, evidences, and various methods. The opening salvo is the best place to establish the foundation (of the message).
The following are my observations on how the AIM sees this election.
1. This election is about PERFORMANCE. Everyone presented their accomplishments. After expressing their greetings, and gratitude for the past election, they would then mention the landmark ordinances they sponsored in their respective committees and other tangible projects in which they became part of. They stressed that out of about 90 ordinances passed in the council, only 2-3 were authored by the trio opposition.
Leyson IV talked on Gensan being No. 1 in agriculture (yet to clarify on what specific sense is Gensan being No. 1 in agriculture) and the revenues generated from it. He also took pride on a “sample” he did on Blue Ribbon Committee (referring to Brgy. Captain Frenila of Fatima, perhaps).
Atendido assured the crowd, that as Chair of Committee on Finance and Appropriation, budget were properly divided and allocated to different social services to meet the needs. He also emphasized the importance of sanitary landfill, a project which he said the Opposition is against on.
Bagonoc talked about investments; de Claro on transportation; Natividad on social services for PWD, Senior Citizens Women and GAD Code; Santos on education and the newly-built classrooms, newly-opened primary schools, and LSB-paid teachers; Oco on health, improvements of the Emergencey Hospital and building of a new one in Calumpang; Forones on his accomplishments as former Brgy. Captain; Acharon on medical assistance, scholarships, and his support in sourcing out fund from the national government on various projects (he did not however mention his stand on different national issues).
Mayor Darlene uttered only few sentences about her accomplishments, but instead did a heart-to-heart conversation with the audience. He discussed what a true “change” is, notwithstanding what the opposition has been shouting. Change, she said, is about how General Santos developed from a rural barangay into a very progressive city complete with airport, fishport, and wharf which generated jobs for the Generals. However, one thing remained unchanged, she added: the campaign style which includes name-calling, and that the opposition, in their refusal to cooperate in problem-solving didn’t mention positive achievements of the Administration, and kept on pounding on negative issues. She challenged the crowd to persevere with them in campaigning 15-0 victory.
Point: since they had many accomplishments, projects yet to continue, and that the opposition did nothing, they deserve the Generals’ vote.
2. Mayor Custodio should not be blamed for the brown-out. Bagonoc pointed out that “it is the obligation of the power utility to forecast, to assure and to provide power” on its franchise area, referring to SOCOTECO as the responsible. Vic Dante added that why blame Mayor Darlene in Gensan, but not blame Cong. Pacman or the Mayors in Sarangani, whose areas are experiencing the same.
3. AIM does not abuse their authority and is not corrupt. “Ang partidong AIM wala nagapangawat, wala nagapanagpa, wala nagapangbungkag ug pamilya, nagabayad ug buwis, dili abusado.” On this note, they would narrate how Roel Pacquiao hit a certain person in one billiard hall, revived why Ryan Rivera slapped Ging Gacal, and what’s the real reason why Councilor Rivera was shot by a certain Januard.
4. AIM has the connection with Pnoy and with the latter’s help could build large-scale infrastructure projects.
Other issues raised by the AIM.
1. Rivera’s don’t pay their taxes in Gensan, but in Cebu. I wonder how this happened since it’s the duty of the BIR to assure the proper collection.
2. Sanitary landfill was opposed by the Opposition. This was raised by Councilor Atendido. In an interview on Thursday, Atendido said that every time sanitary landfill is being discussed, Vice Mayor relinquishes her chair and the two councilors (Rivera and Lagare) oppose the measure.
3. Pantawid Pasada budget for the transportation sector was not released because the Vice Mayor blocked it due to its legality. Councilor de Claro raised this issue. Being the number 12 on previous election, this issue could cost his reelection bid, if the message is not clearly sent across. What’s the power of the Vice Mayor to block it since they have the number in the council?
4. Moral issues of Ronnel Rivera. “Sheila, itug-an ang tinuod nganong gipusil ni Januard si City Councilor Ronnel Rivera?” Vic Dante shouted in the rally.
5. Titling of 400 hectares land by the Rivera’s in Tambler.
6. Magsaysay Park issue of former Mayor Nunez.
7. Business sector supports the AIM because they fear Rivera’s monopoly on business and abuse of power should he be elected.
These are the points that the AIM Party is trying to send across. There will be changes on emphasis depending on how the campaign goes on. On the other hand, the PCM Gensan will conduct its Opening Salvo today at Oval Stage. What could be their message? We’ll see.