BONTOC, Mountain Province – Unfinished programs and projects are seen to continue in the province after incumbent provincial officials retained their posts as shown in the result of the recent political exercise.
Maximo Dalog, Jr. won the lone congressional slot vacated by his late father who died midway through his term. The death of the former lawmaker handed the responsibility to Kalinga congressman Sonny Mangaoang who continued his advocacies until the end of the term. Dalog garnered 25,701 votes to fend off Avelino Amangyen (17,778), Jupiter Dominguez (17,366), Anthony Wooden ((11,004), and Allen Ocden (8,880).
Incumbent governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. cemented his hold on the governorship with an aggregate vote of 31,908 against two other serious contenders, former Sagada mayor Eduardo Latawan, Jr. (25,010) and Natonin mayor Mateo Chiyawan (20,189). Lacwasan was elected vice governor three years ago but assumed the provincial chief executive position by succession when then candidate Leonard Mayaen died just as the election campaign was to start.
Vice governor Francis Tauli held on to his position when he overtook his opponents in an interesting race. Tauli who was awarded the vice governorship in 2016 by way of succession being the most senior member of the Sangguninag Panlalawigan got 29,020. His closest pursuer Ezra Gomez had 27,611 votes while Raul Lapon accumulated 16,654 votes.
Winning the eight slots for the Sangguninag Panlalawigan are Federico Onsat, Janice Liban Barillo, Alexandre Claver, and Joshua Fronda for the first district and Henry Bastian, Donato Danglose, Salvador Dalang, and Randy Awisan for the second district.
In an interview after his proclamation, Lacwasan said that he welcomes efforts from other elected officials including those who did not make it to unite for the good of the province. “There is no problem with that. Anyway, we are all politicians and we share the same vision for our people,” Lacwasan said when asked if he intends to work cooperatively with all those who won in the election.
In the capital town of Bontoc, mayor Franklin Odsey had to work overtime to ward off the threat posed by Siegh Fred “Pitawen” Fatongkeg. Other incumbent mayors who were re-elcted are James Payko Pooten of Sagada, Abraham Akilit of Bauko and Johnson Bantog of Besao who ran unopposed. Jose Limmayog of Sadangga and Genesis Changilan of Barlig were not as lucky when they were dislodged by former mayors whom they beat three years ago. Sadanga’s Gabino Ganggangan and Barlig’s Clark Ngaya will retake their seats on July 1. Another former mayor will be retaking his turf come July. Former Tadian mayor Constito Masweng won over Rene del Amor and Ruben Bayugan.
Three municipalities will have first time mayors. Marcial Lawilao, Jr. defeated Rudy Mencion and Joey Dominguez to seat as the next mayor of Sabangan. In Natonin Jose Agagon will take his oath on June 30 while Marcos Ayangwa will soon start his first term as mayor of Paracelis.
Elected vice mayors are: Bontoc – Eusebio Kabluyen (unopposed), Sabangan – Dario Esden (unopposed), Natonin – Christopher Bayowan (unopposed), Paracelis – Lester Carlos, Barlig – David Osborn Fomocod, Sadanga – Albert Ayao-ao, Sagada – Felicito Dula, Besao – June Lopsoten, Tadian – Alfonso Polan, and Bauko – Bartolome Badecao.