‘Mar country’ no more: Roxas allies take oath with Duterte’s party

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – “Mar country” is out, and the Duterte bailiwick is in.

About 200 officials of Negros Occidental, led by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., took their oath as members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas Ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of President Rodrigo Duterte at the L’ Fisher Hotel on Friday, September 30.

Negros Occidental is a known bailiwick of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas, as his mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, is from Bago City.

A majority of the officials in Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City, supported the bid of Roxas, who had an overwhelming win in the province in the May 9 elections.

Joining Marañon in the oath-taking – administered by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, PDP-Laban secretary-general – were 20 mayors, 19 vice mayors, 152 councilors, and two board members, who mostly belonged to the two major political groups in the province: United Negros Alliance (Unega) and Love Negros.

Marañon chairs Unega while Love Negros is led by Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez, who was already sworn in as PDP-Laban member after the elections.

Also joining the administration party were officials from Bacolod City led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

Alvarez said the party will try its best to unite the political factions here. He added, “Hopefully with PDP-Laban, we can unite them for the development of Negros as a region.”

On Duterte’s reaction after majority of the officials here joined his party, Alvarez said, “The President is very happy.”

“In fact, he’s coming here on Sunday (for the opening of MassKara Festival) to be with the people here,” he said.

He added: “Kahit natalo siya sa Negros, mahal niya pa rin ang Negros (Even if he lost in Negros, he still loves Negros).”

He said that even if the officials here didn’t support Duterte in the last poll, it doesn’t matter as “elections are over. It is forgotten. We have to move forward.”

Moreover, Alvarez is asking the Negros officials to help and push for the advocacies of Duterte, like his war against drugs, how to address poverty, and population management. – Rappler.com