If elections are held today, Zambo mayor likely to win by landslide

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (With a report from the Mindanao Examiner.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Incumbent local mayor Beng Climaco remains popular among her constituents and her official Facebook page has over 133,000 people following her posts about the local government’s various infrastructure projects and programs aimed at uplifting the welfare of the people; and continues to maintain Zamboanga’s robust economy and the improved peace and order situation.

Climaco, who is running for re-election next year on platform of honest, good governance and transparency, is being favored to win based on reports gathered from supporters in the city’s 98 barangays.

Despite her popularity, she is being challenged by Congressman Celso Lobregat, a traditional politician, who served many years as mayor of Zamboanga and member of the House of Representatives under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP).

Lobregat, whose influential mother also served many years as congresswoman and mayor of Zamboanga, was a strong supporter of former senator Mar Roxas who ran and lost in the presidency in 2016 against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

But Lobregat – who was once the richest lawmaker – switched side soon after Duterte won and joined his political party, the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-lakas ng Bayan (Pdp-laban). His brother, Jomar Lobregat, is also running for a congressional seat in Zamboanga. He ran in the past, but lost in the elections and returned to Manila where he is residing.

Unlike Lobregat, Climaco remains loyal to her political party, the Liberal Party, despite calls for her to shift to Pdplaban, saying, she believes in liberalism, democracy and ideology of the LP.

And if elections are held today, or if popularity in social media is the gauge of mayoralty poll, Climaco will win hands down or landslide against Lobregat, whose official Facebook page only has over 30,000 followers as of October 17.

Climaco’s Facebook “likes” are now more than 133,000. Just like in the elections, the popularity of a candidate is based on numbers. She is a champion for women’s and children’s rights and belongs to a respectable and modest family in Zamboanga.

The midterm elections in the country are set on May 13, 2019.

Business climate

And under Climaco’s administration, Zamboanga continues to enjoy a strong economy as influx of trade and investments add to the already robust business climate here.

Proof of this is the steady flow of investors to Zamboanga, a major trading hub in southern Philippines, because of the efforts of the local government in making this southern port city businessfriendly.

The ease of making business here – compared to the previous decades – is far better, according to traders, who cited local government’s efforts in attracting investors not only from other parts of the country, but overseas as well.

A prominent lawyer, Linda Lim, who is also chief executive officer and president of the oldest and largest universities in Mindanao – the Universidad de Zamboanga – cited the vigorous business climate here and the Climaco’s strong style of leadership that played a key role in the huge improvement and development of Zamboanga as a city.

In a recent speech during the 70th founding celebration the Universidad de Zamboanga which coincided with the Parade of Lights during the Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival, Lim said: “We will carry on, continue to move on and continue to serve our community, especially under the leadership of Mayor Beng.”

“It is only under her leadership that Zamboanga saw a flux of investments, we can see all investments coming in, we can feel it, not only see, we can feel it. As of now, Zamboanga City ranks among the top cities with the largest accumulation of wealth in the whole Philippines and that can only happen under the leadership of Mayor Beng. Let us continue to elect people like her because it is only under this kind of leadership that Zamboanga can continue to move on,” she said in a video posted on the mayor’s official Facebook page.

Zamboanga is 5th among ten cities in the country which has the biggest amount of economic assets as of 2017. Zamboanga has over P10.4 billion in economic assets along with other wealthiest cities consisting of Makati City (P34.4 billion), Quezon City (P31.9 billion), Pasig City (P20 billion), Manila City (P13.1 billion), Cebu (P7.8 billion), Caloocan City (P6.8 billion), Marikina City (P4.8 billion), Calamba City (P4.6 billion) and Cagayan de Oro (P4.6 billion).

A Philippine information website, FAQ.PH also cited Zamboanga City as being the center of business in Western Mindanao or the Zamboanga Peninsula region due to many major sardine factories here and the presence of big corporations and “the local government policy that simplifies bureaucracy and attracts more investment in the city business.”

City Administrator Marie Angelique Go said Zamboanga City is also a finalist to the “Top 13 Most Business Friendly LGU” and has been conferred by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry during ceremonies held in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on October 9. As finalist, Climaco was cited for “exemplifying commendable initiatives towards good governance reforms that promote trade and investments and significantly contribute to local economic development.”

She said Climaco was also given a special award by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo for being adjudged as “2018 Most-business Friendly Local Government Unit Award City Level 1”. The prestigious award was signed by Francis Chua, cochairman of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo; and Maria Alegria Limjoco, president for the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. And also by Jose Alejandrino, vice president for the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Renato Simbulan, chairman of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.

Screen shots of Facebook pages of Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco and Rep. Celso Lobregat.

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