- Asenso standard bearer Albee Benitez says Bacolod is “looking for change”
- Gasataya fires back at those who claim he betrayed former party
- Paduano says Gasataya rival was lying, has no experience
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Lawyer Caesar Distrito admitted that he was jittery when he took to the stage Saturday night.
The veteran local lawmaker who served three straight terms of three years each as a member of the city council looked at the crowd at the Paglaum Sports Complex described by organizers as “jampacked” and paused.
“This is the biggest crowd to which I am speaking to my whole life,” he said in Hiligaynon.
Distrito, the running mate of Asenso standard bearer Albee Benitez, is running against his former partymate, El Cid Familiaran for the vice mayoral post after switching to Benitez’ side.
He had earlier told DNX he was convinced by the platforms and plans of Benitez after a lengthy decision-making process.
Halfway through the night that featured big-name bands Bamboo and Silent Sanctuary, Benitez spoke to the crowd, the last candidate after the 15 others that included Cong. Greg Gasataya and Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano, a close Benitez ally.
“I am here, change is coming to Bacolod,” Benitez said at the end of his speech that revolved around the need for change.
“Bacolod has been inconvenienced for so long,” he said in Hiligaynon early into his speech that lasted around 15 minutes.
“Ari na ang aton paglaum, ari na ang aton pagbag-o (Here comes our hope, our change),” was how Benitez was introduced in an audio video presentation.
“Daw wala ako mahambal, I will not forget this night (It seems I’m at a loss for words…)” Benitez said upon taking the microphone after his wife and their son, Javi, raised his hands.
“Tonight you showed that Bacolod is looking for change,” he said to the cheering crowd that he later asked to raise their cellular phones glowing with white light.
“What Bacolod needs are simple: good health, peace of mind, services like education, water, power, not a Bacolod where water is dirty,” the former solon said.
Before he spoke, the other candidates of his team presented the platforms and programs of Team Asenso from health to housing.
He described what Asenso is offering as “true service, service that is straightforward (wala galiko) and goes to the people (gatupa).”
But Benitez also stressed on health and medical services, a key program that he implemented in the Third District through the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program (NOHCHP).
You will be given card for hospitalization, that way you don’t need to pay anymore or look for down-payment, he said.
He also pointed out that the construction of the Bacolod City General Hospital made possible through what is now a law authored by Cong. Greg Gasataya would make their health programs possible.
Aside from that, this will be supported by primary healthcare centers in villages here through what is now an ordinance authored by Councilor Al Victor Espino.
Espino, who had switched to Team Asenso after Mayor Evelio Leonardia said he no longer trusts him, had earlier pointed out that while the ordinance had already been passed, City Hall had not taken action on it.
“Change in governance not just leaders,” Benitez said as he assured those gathered that “we will build a strong partnership between government and the people.”