LAGAWE, Ifugao – Four veteran local officials will be slugging it out for the province’s gubernatorial post during the May 2016 synchronized elections.
Gov. Dennis Habawel, who is seeking his second term, will be challenged by former Gov. Eugene Balitang, Vice Governor Pedro Mayam-o and businessman and former three-term Kaingan Mayor Jonathan Cuyahon.
For the province’s lone congressional district, the position will be hotly contested by incumbent Rep. Teodoro Bauilat, Jr. and former three-term Rep. Solomon Chungalao.
During the May 2013 mid-term elections, Baguilat edged Chungalao for his second consecutive term as the province’s representative to Congress while Habawel bested Balitang, who was seeking re-election for his second term, in the gubernatorial race.
Chungalao served as the province’s lawmaker from 2001-2010 while Baguilat also served the province as governor from 2001-2010 after he graduated as a municipal mayor of Kaingan.
Local political analysts believe the congressional and governatorial positions in the province can go either way with all the contending parties having the equal chance to win because of their existing bailiwicks, thus, in order to win by a considerable margin, the candidates for the different elected positions must be able to win the hearts of vote-rich communities and the support of influential tribal leaders from the different tribes.
Mayam-o is a three-term vice governor of the province while Balitang was a former governor and Cuyahon is the incumbent president of the newly established Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Ifugao Chapter and a former three-term municipal mayor of the world heritage town of Kiangan.
By Dexter A. See