CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Misamis Oriental’s three-cornered fight for governorship is now officially on after candidates vying for the province’s highest position has filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) this week.
First to file was Peter Unabia, Gingoog City vice mayor, who submitted his COC at the provincial election office Tuesday, October 5.
Unabia belongs to the PaDayon Pilipino, a regional party founded by the late Vicente Emano. He is nationally affiliated with the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat.
His party mates also filed their respective COCs on the same day: incumbent Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, who is aiming for the province’s second district congressional seat; incumbent Vice Gov. Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez and Misamis Oriental first district Rep. Christian Unabia both are seeking reelection.
Unabia’s opponents are incumbent Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno and Misamis Oriental second district Rep. Juliette Uy.
Both Moreno and Uy filed their respective COCs Thursday, October 7.
Moreno’s running mate is Ariel Hernandez, a peace and development worker, Uy’s is Jose Mari Pelaez, who was a three-term vice governor.
Moreno’s party is Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (Promdi) Party, founded in 1997 by then Cebu governor Lito Osmeña.
In 2021, Promdi formed an alliance with Manny Pacquiao’s PDP-Laban wing and the People’s Champ Movement (PCM), dubbed as the MP3 alliance. They officially nominated Pacquiao as their candidate in the 2022 Philippine presidential election.
Moreno sent a representative, lawyer Antonio Neri, to file on his behalf, while Uy, of the National Unity Party, was with her family, party mates and supporters when she submitted her COC.
Uy’s husband Julio is running for the second district congressman and daughter Jennie Rosalie Uy-Mendez is seeking reelection as the town mayor of Villanueva, the Uy family’s bailiwick.
In an interview, Uy said she will continue what she has started as congresswoman particularly on the delivery of health care and other basic services to the Misamisnons.
“I will advocate for transparency in governance, so we will know where the public funds will go and where it is intended so the residents will be aware,” she said.
Uy has also appealed for unity so programs and projects can be implemented in all the province’s towns, cities and barangays.
“It doesn’t matter what color you are. I will call for unity,” the congresswoman added.
In an earlier interview, Unabia said that prior to the filing, he held consultations with local chief executives in the province in regards to the projects that will be implemented in the barangays.
He also clarified that it is not only the COC that he filed but the pledge to the Misamisnons should he win as governor.
“Aside from filing my COC, I have also filed my certificate of dedication to serve the people of our province. I also filed my commitment, deep commitment, to serve the people, especially those who are so marginalized, the less privileged,” Unabia said.
To achieve this, Unabia said he has laid out a set of programs he called “PAGLAUM,” which was inspired by the “GOLD” program in Gingoog.
GOLD stands for good governance, accountability and transparency; opportunity for agriculture and tourism development; livelihood; and delivery of basic services, health and social services including education.
He said that has been the “strategic direction” that guided the local government of Gingoog in its implementation of projects.
PAGLAUM, he said, stands for participatory approach, meaning the projects and programs are aligned with the needs of the people; agriculture is given importance; goal-oriented tourism; livelihood; aggressive programs for the youth, especially in the promotion of education; unified approach for health and social services; and mobilization of resources through equitable sharing.
Unabia said it is imperative that all local government leaders must unite for the common good.
“This program will remain just a program if there is unity in the province, from the governor to the vice governor, all the way to the barangays,” he added.
In an interview, the younger Unabia has affirmed that unity is a key element in the effective and efficient delivery of services to the province’s constituency and that his goals will remain the same whoever sits at the provincial capitol.
“It won’t matter if my father is the governor or not. I was chosen by the people, and that’s motivation enough for me to give my 110 percent,” the congressman said.