BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – As politics heat up and as political alignments become as unstable as a fault line, two political allies in the southern city of Himamaylan have “pledged to strengthen their partnership and recommitted themselves in service of the people of (the city).”
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback,” Mayor Raymund Tongson said in a post on his official Facebook page today after he and Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao met for the first time after spending weeks in isolation to recover from COVID19.
A photo uploaded on the social media page of Tongson showed him and Gatuslao facing each other with the caption “Mayor Raymund Tongson with Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao catching up and updating after their COVID isolations.”
The post reads further “Our City is a gift from God and as stewards entrusted to care for it, (Mayor Tingson) is grateful to Vice Justin for being a reliable, loyal, and irreplaceable partner in governance. MRT also thanks each and every member of the 8th Sangguniang Panlungsod of Himamaylan City for continuously supporting the projects, programs, initiatives, and vision of the TOGA administration. ALYANSA TOGA, with the support of all the Himamaylanons, will continue to be STRONGER TOGETHER. “
TOGA stands for Tongson Gatuslao.
Gatuslao and Tongson are both scions of prominent political families in Himamaylan, a growing center in the south that shares borders with Negros Oriental areas like Tayasan town.
They ran against another entrenched political clan, the Bascons, whose matriarch, Carminia is also a Gatuslao.
Carminia or Mencit was mayor for several full terms and alternated with his son, Agustin, for the position and the vice mayoral seat.