BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The battle royale between longest-sitting Mayor Evelio Leonardia and affluent former Third District Cong Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez and their political parties come to a head today in Sugarlandia’s capital two days ahead of the polls expected to finish in a flurry for the first time in recent years.
The mitings de avance (final rallies) here will both start 3pm as the sweltering summer heat reaches its peak.
Two separate and historic sites in this urban capital of 600,000 people will host the expected throngs of supporters for both political groups – Pope John Paul II Tower for ruling party Grupo Progreso at the Reclamation Area, and the Paglaum Sports Complex at Hernaez Street for challenging party Team Asenso.
Paglaum, Hiligaynon for “hope” is the first sports stadium in the province while the PJP II Tower marks the site where the pontiff spoke during his visit here in the 1980s.
The tower is also located inside the Reclamation Area, the private project initiated by businessman Simplicio Palanca.
Progreso (progress in Hiligaynon) will kick off its activities with a Mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral, the main Roman Catholic church near the PJP II. The grand rally is expected to start around 5pm.
Asenso (growth in Hiligaynon) starts with a pre-event around 3pm through performances of big-ticket performers and a program proper around 4pm.