The Boys in the House

Winston Arzaga

They came from  diverse backgrounds  :  One is a political chip off the old block, the other, a young politician from a new political clan, while the third, a dyed in the wool political operator from the masses.  If there is something common  about them, it  was their  stint at  the Provincial Board where they first honed their parliamentary skills.

Of the three, no one doubts that Cong. Chicoy’s  election to the Board in 2010   was but a temporary sojourn while  waiting for the completion of his father,  Cong. Tony Alvarez’  term as First District Congressman. Then  BM Chicoy acquitted himself well  at the Provincial Board where he was the recognized leader of the PPP block. As a neophyte solon, he was one of  the ” Anak ”  ni  Mar, a group of young legislators close to then presidential aspirant  Mar Roxas . Now on his second term, he heads one of the most powerful House   committees, the Committee  on Legislative Franchises. With him there, we hope to see the full ” signaling “of the first  district, and of the entire province, courtesy of the major telco operators with their franchises  up for extension.

Cong. Gil Acosta  could easily qualify as one  of the most colorful politicians we have in our midst now. A known  strategist and media man, he had  worked closely with the  legendary  Speaker Ramon V. Mitra, one of the most  astute politicians of  our  times. After his term as City Councilor of Puerto Princesa ended,  he transferred to the First District   where he was  District Officer and point person of then Cong. Vicente “”Brown” Sandoval. Eventually  winning a seat in the Provincial Board, it was there where he got the attention of  businessman Jose Chavez Alvarez, then aspiring  for the top position of the province.  He was ready  for retirement after his term  in the Board ended, until a confluence of events brought him back to the  Puerto Princesa to do  battle with  then incumbent Congressman  Douglas Hagedorn  in what was considered by many as a losing battle- until  Gov. JCA  flexed his muscle to carry the day for  Ka barangay Gil. As a neophyte solon, the congressman has done his homework, networking with government offices, and chalking-up membership in the House Appropriations  committee, no mean feat for one who was a reluctant  congressional candidate in the first place.

Humble  to a fault, Cong. Erick  is every inch  a public servant in the mould of his father, former Congressman and Deputy Speaker  Alfredo”Amor” Abueg  and that of his grandfather, the  late Governor Alfredo M. Abueg.  Cong. Erick surprised everyone with his unexpected designation as Deputy Speaker  of the current Congress, certainly a position of   privilege in the House. Cong. Erick’s rise in politics is nothing but meteoric.Topping the Provincial Board elections in the  second district in 2010, he served as Floor Leader  of the Board until he broke ties with then Governor  Baham Mitra to run for  Congress  against another political scion, Monmon Mitra. Running unopposed last elections, the young Abueg has proven his leadership in the District  with his solid performance, hard work  and unsullied integrity. As one of the recognized  and trusted  work horses of the House in providing legislative support to the  Duterte administration, Cong.  Erick will have to translate his new found power into more projects for his district, and ultimately for the whole province of Palawan.

Once the dependable boys of the Provincial Board, the three solons are now the big  boys in the big league. They are the face  of present Palawan  politics  whose every performance will be measured by a new generation of voters  who have grown skeptical of politicians. The challenge then is for them to give new meaning and depth to public service in a way that will inspire young Palawenos  out there to  follow their footsteps, and thus make a difference in our generation.

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