With the entry of Ver Roque in the gubernatorial race, will 1Bataan still dominate the 2019 local elections in the Province of Bataan?
Bataan is a highly contested area primarily because of its being an economic zone and strategic geolocation providing easy access to Manila Bay and Subic Freeport, and because of its votes estimated to be 545,041 this year. Control of the province is therefore crucial particularly to investors and locators that make Bataan a highly industrialized province.
In general, local power is controlled by the Garcias starting from Enrique “Tet” Garcia down to the second or even third generation. Tet, who was convicted of graft, was succeeded by his son, Albert “Abet” Garcia. Other Garcias in power are Jose Enrique “Joet” S. Garcia III, the Congressional District Representative of the Second District; Maria Angela S. Garcia, the municipal mayor of Dinalupihan; and Francis Garcia, the city mayor of Balanga.
The Garcias took the local power from the Romans and the Payumos. After more than two decades, the Garcias are being threatened by Lilvir Roque, the mayor of Limay who made the municipal coffers grew fivefold from P200 million to P1 billion in just seven years from 2010 to 2017. The P 61 million municipal debt inherited by Roque was also fully paid with his sound economic policies. With these feat being trumpeted around Bataan, will the Garcias finally bow down to Roque and allow the latter to efficiently manage also the provincial coffers now marked by debts and red flags from the Commission on Audit?
A total of 276 candidates are competing for different posts in Bataan. 79% of these candidates are males while the rest are females.
The candidates are also dominated by Partido Demokratiko Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) with 44%. This is followed by Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) candidates with 18% followed by National Unity Party (NUP) candidates. 23% are independent candidates while the rest are from the Nacionalista Party, Aksyon Demokratiko, and the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino or KDP.
In terms of disaggregation by elective posts, two are competing for Governor – Abet Garcia who is under the National Unity Party and Lilvir Roque of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. For Vice Governor, Cris Garcia is running unopposed.
The competition for provincial board this year is also tight as eight are competing for the First District Provincial Board, and seven are competing for the Second District Provincial Board. A total of ten Provincial Board Members will be elected with each district having five seats.
(See the complete list of provincial candidates)
In the Congressional races, Joet Garcia is running unopposed in the Second District under the PDP-Laban while Geraldine Roman, who is also running under PDP-Laban, is facing Emelita Lubag of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino as challenger.
In the municipal races, 23 each are running for mayor and vice mayor, and 211 for councilor for the only city and 11 municipalities of Bataan. Balanga City and Orani have uncontested mayoralty elections as Francis Garcia and Bonjong Pascual have no challengers. The rest are two-cornered races except for Hermosa which has three candidates. The same is also the case in the vice mayoralty races. Balanga’s Vianca Gozon and Orani’s Emmanuel Roman are unopposed.
(The complete list of candidates is here.)