(UPDATED) Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) gubernatorial contender Jose Alvarez was “officially” proclaimed as the re-elected governor of the province on Saturday morning by the provincial Commission on Elections (COMELEC) after nearly a week of delayed canvassing.
Proclaimed with him were re-elected Vice Governor Dennis Socrates of Partidong Pagbabago ng Palawan (PPP), Sangguniang Panlalawigan re-elected board members David Ponce de Leon, Onsoy Ola, and Cherry Pie Acosta and newcomers Maria Angela Sabando and Juan Antonio Alvarez, and incumbent House Rep. Franz Josef “Chicoy” Alvarez of the 1st Legislative District who ran unopposed.
In an interview earlier with Governor Alvarez, he said his last term will focus on poverty alleviation and the further development of Palawan’s tourism industry.
“Marami pang mahirap sa norte at sa sur kaya doon natin ibuhos ang ating last three years para umangat ang kanilang kabuhayan. Kapag malakas ang turismo sa north at south ay lahat maghahanap buhay para pakainin ang mga turistang darating. Tingin ko ‘yan talaga ang solusyon sa kahirapan sa nayon,” Alvarez said.
Atty. Jeffrey Sahagun, who represented the PDP-Laban and the PPP, said Socrates garnered 245,440 votes, while Alvarez received 207,875 after the election returns (ERs) from Cagayancillo were canvassed around 1:48 a.m. on Saturday.
The election returns from Cagayancillo were the last to be canvassed by the PBOC out of 23 municipalities in the province. Their late arrival was due to defective SD cards that had to be replaced.
In an interview, Gil Acosta Jr. who was the former provincial information officer said that he will focus on the settlement of the land reclassification in the province.
“Ang problema natin sa lupa ay isa sa talagang dapat nating matutukan. Kung mapapansin natin ay ang Palawan ang may pinakamalaking land area sa Pilipinas and yet napakarami pang lupa na hindi pa naclassify as Allenable ans disposable. Irony kasi na malawak ang lupain dito pero kukunti ang may hawak ng titulo,” he said.
Gil is the son of incumbent 3rd Legislative District House Rep. Gil Acosta Sr.
Meanwhile, Sangguniang Panlalawigan newcomer Maria Angela Sabando, the former mayor of Roxas, said her priority will be proposing laws that will improve education in Palawan.
“‘Yong first priority ko, like sa Roxas, ‘yong first priority project ko is education. But if the Provincial Board will give me social services because it’s one of my fortes during my reign as the local chief executive of Roxas, then I’m willing to accept the committee on education, social services, and health,” Sabando said.
In the second provincial district winners, on the other hand, Cesareo Benedito, the former vice mayor of Brooke’s Point, said he will focus on the development of agriculture in southern Palawan.
“Nakikita natin na kailangan talaga mapalago ang sektor ng agrikultura sa south, kaya ‘yon ang ating dapat tutukan kapag tayo ay opisyal ng naupo,” he said.
On Friday, all elected officials made a “ceremonial proclamation or photo opportunity” while waiting for the election returns from Cagayancillo.
COMELEC spokesperson Jomel Ordas said there is no problem in allowing this because they are already “all sure winners.”
“Hindi naman pinagbabawal ang ceremonial proclamation kasi hindi na rin naman makakaapekto ang result ng boto sa Cagayancillo. Hindi lang sumama ang COMELEC sa photo kasi nga hindi pa official proclamation pero sure win na sila kumbaga kaya allowed ‘yan, kung sa official proclamation naman ay pwede na representative nalang nila pero hindi na itataas ng taga-comelec ang kamay nila kasi representative lang, hindi naman sila ang kandidato. Wala naman problema d’yan sa ceremony,” Ordas said.
All elected officials will officially assume their office in June.