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Rough Cuts | Congressional ‘no race’

We are certain that the reason why no one has dared to challenge come-backing candidate for congressman of the 3rd District of Davao City Isidro “Sid” Ungab are his very tangible accomplishments in terms of locally applicable laws during his previous three terms. These laws have led to the implementation of infrastructure projects like bridges, concrete roads, multi-storey school buildings, barangay halls, covered courts, new hinterland access, health centers and many others.

On Sid’s performance during his long-term as chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, the body’s primary output, the national budget, was never questioned. Meaning, the allocation of funds for each congressional district in terms of projects was accepted by each congressman as fair.

All these were Sid’s political investments that delivered returns not only for him but also to his brother, outgoing congressman and now council candidate for the same district Alberto Ungab.

Now, Sid is on the comeback for another opportunity to represent his district in Congress. His “investments,” many of which were put in place and completed his three terms, during the term of his younger brother Congressman Abet, and others still for completion by the time he assumes his new term, are seeing him through with hardly any effort and expenses needed from him.

And we have no doubt this so-called “Ungab phenomenon” will rub in on the candidacy of younger brother Abet for the City Sanggunian in the third district, in addition to the latter’s own record during his incumbency as congressman.

So, if the seemingly unequivocal support of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to the returning Sid in the third district congressional arena, it would take a fool to run against the man.

Of course we have no doubt there could have been a number who might have been entertaining the idea of running against Sid. But knowing that they do not have the organization, the money, and of course the endorsement of any of the members of the ruling political family of the city, they’d probably have to “kill” their aspiration.

Meanwhile, the scenario in Davao City’s second congressional district is closely similar to that of the third. It’s also a “No Contest” situation as far as the race for the congressional seat in concerned. It is somewhat a “just passing on the torch” from the incumbent elder sister Congresswoman Mylene Garcia-Albano, back to its former bearer younger brother Vincent Garcia.

Again, the Garcias who have been at the helm of the congressional seat for so long, were able to accomplish a lot in terms of infrastructure and social services. The district’s large hinterlands, the Paquibato area, have been made more accessible with the opening of new roads and construction of bridges.

The area’s remotest barangays are now brought closer to the urban center through faster travel on concreted roads. Education is made easier with the opening of new schools both elementary and secondary, as well as construction of more buildings and other facilities right in the villages considered as population centers.

It is also the Garcia congress representation of the district that allowed residents of the so-called “last frontier” of Davao City to enjoy urban amenities such as electricity, telecommunications services, household entertainments and the likes.

In the past elections there were a few popular names including a leading Davao businesswoman, who attempted to wrestle the Garcia grip on the congressional seat. One succeeded for just a single term. He was former Vice Mayor Cornelio Mascarino.

Later politicians like councilors Danilo Dayanghirang, Sempoy Alterado and Diosdado Mahipus Sr., business leader Joji Ilagan-Bian, and some others we could not anymore remember, all failed in their bid.

And like in the third district, come-backing Vincent Garcia is also sailing smoothly on a political ground made silky by the clan’s performance. So, it was no surprise when the deadline of the filing of candidacy for congressional representative in Davao City’s second district no one of significance came out to challenge the Garcia reign.

On the other hand, as far as the first district is concerned, many were expecting a heated contest had the more known opposition to the ruling family in the city opted to remain openly in the other side of the political fence.

Apparently, the Nograles family did the right political strategy in order to remain in the limelight. That is, by adopting the adage that “If you can’t beat them, join them.” So, the Nograleses are now in the same boat as that with the ruling Dutertes. And the former’s option now makes Congressman Karlo Nograles well-entrenched in President Duterte’s Cabinet, and congressman Koko Nograles unlikely challenged as the leading nominee in the PBA Partylist group for House representation.

That’s being wise.



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