Borongan City mayor: 'We are not traitors'
BORONGAN CITY, Philippines — Mayor Maria Fe R. Abunda of Borongan City gave a strong message for those who misconstrued the courtesy call of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as a political endorsement.
“We are not traitors who will just easily break our ties with the Liberal Party (LP),” said Mayor Abunda, who is the sister of "Showbiz King of Talk" Boy Abunda - a known ally of the Aquinos.
Rumor has been circulating, stemming from a political news site, that the mayor has already dumped LP vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo in favor of her closest rival, Marcos.
Robredo and Marcos are currently statistically tied in the top spot as the most preferred vice presidential candidate in the latest survey conducted by SWS.
Abunda added that it was very wrong to misinterpret the courtesy call as a political endorsement, because it was only a show of Borongan hospitality availed to all national officials who visit their city.
Borongan City Administrator Jose Ivan Dayan C. Agda recalled that Abunda was very upset to have heard the rumor that she endorsed Senator Marcos.
“Diri, diri! Waray siya nag-commit. Nagpasalamat si mayor sa tatay niya dahil sa pagpatayo ng San Juanico Bridge, dahil kung wala ang tatay niya eh baka wala rin yang bridge na nagko-connect sa Leyte at Samar. (No! She did not commit to them. She only thanked him for his father, who led in the construction of the San Juanico bridge. Without him, there could be no bridge that connects the islands of Leyte and Samar. )
"Pero hindi siya inindorso ni Ma’am dahil kami ay Liberal kahit pa sa simula na mababa ang survey ratings ng aming mga napiling kandidato,” the administrator said as he recalled his conversation with Abunda following the release of the online article.
(But she did not endorse the candidacy of Senator Marcos because from the very beginning, despite the poor survey ratings of our candidates, we already committed ourselves to the Liberal Party.)
Roxas and Robredo were in Borongan City during Typhoon Ruby. The city administrator of Borongan revealed that Roxas was the only presidential candidate who showed up in their place when they were in need of help because of the heavy devastation brought by the typhoon.
“Secretary Roxas was here and we saw how efficient he was in managing the relief and recovery efforts during Typhoon Ruby. We attribute the success of responding well to Ruby because Secretary Roxas was very hands-on in coordinating and overseeing the initiatives of both the provincial and the local governments.”
Agda further shared that he feels it is wrong to accuse Roxas to be incompetent in responding to disasters because of his perceived lackluster performance during Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
“Yolanda’s damage was too huge to respond to. It was very difficult to address a disaster as big as that. The national government had difficulty but the same is true with the local government of Tacloban so I think he should not be blamed for it.”
Meanwhile, Mark Lucio Cortado, population program officer of Borongan City, recalled to have personally seen Leni Robredo distributing relief goods to some disaster victims a few days after Typhoon Ruby.
“Leni was with us helping Borongan City recover from Typhoon Ruby. She was here but she refused to bring the media with her. That time, she was not even being considered as a potential vice presidential candidate yet. Leni showed up unlike Marcos who only visited us recently to campaign for the upcoming election.”
Eastern Samar not a Marcos country
One barangay captain of Borongan expressed that even if Marcos is claiming to be from Leyte because of his mother’s roots, this does not mean getting majority of the support from Eastern Samar.
Cesar Basilda of Barangay Suribao said that Marcos may only be appealing to the old people, but to others, they will refuse to support him because of the many bad experiences they had with martial law.
“Marami pa rin sa amin ang takot sa martial law kaya hindi ko nakikitang marami sa Eastern Samar ang susuporta kay Senator Marcos. Malakas siguro siya sa Leyte pero dito sa amin mahihirapan siya kasi noong Ruby wala naman siya dito sa amin para tulungan kami,” the barangay captain said.
(A lot of us are still afraid of Martial Law that's why I don't see many in Eastern Samar supporting Senator Marcos. He may be strong in Leyte but here where we are, he's going to have a difficult time because during Typhoon Ruby, he wasn't here to help us.)
Borongan has 41,979 voters registered for the May 9 polls while Eastern Samar province has a total of 300,818. During the 2010 presidential elections, the province contributed 76,028 votes to President Benigno Aquino III. – Rappler.com
Derek Alviola is one of Rappler's lead Movers in Eastern Visayas.