BAGUIO CITY – A farmers’ federation in Ilocos appealed for sobriety and support on their issues from candidates across the region, as intense political rivalry becomes clear with the nearing of the campaign period.
“Iti kasasaad nga agsasango dagiti dadakkel a political clan ken addan dagiti napasamak nga election-related violence, kamamayatan koma nga ti laban ket maiturong laeng iti pinapintasan ti plataporma ken track record iti panagserbi (With the situation that big political clans will face each other and election-related violence already occurred, it is best for the candidates to compete in terms of platforms and track-record in public service),” explained Antonino Pugyao, chairperson of Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (Stop Exploitation).
Known political dynasties are clashing for the midterm elections in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte. The Zaragosas, Edgardo and son Zuriel will take on Chavit Singson and his son, Ryan, for the mayoral seat of Narvacan and governor of Ilocos Sur respectively. While the Fariñas family will take on the Marcos clan in Ilocos Norte.
In La Union, election violence has already erupted with two elected officials killed in ambush.
His said voters and the public will be at the losing end if politicians continue their campaign using “dinadadadel ti katatao ken pinalkat ti rugit (character assassination and mudslinging).”
Pugyao specifically took note of the pronouncement of the candidates for the House of Representatives in the first district of Ilocos Sur, Deogracias Savellano and Ronald Singson, saying the call of both parties to tackle people’s issues is welcome.
“Iti laksid dagiti naisawangdan iti midya, koma ket takderanda ti panawaganda a kangrunaan a pagdebatianda ti panangsolbar dagiti parikut ti probinsia (Despite the words they said with the media, we hope that they wil stand by their call to primary debate on how to solve the problems of the province),” he said.
Pugyao shared they are eager to hear the legislative agenda of both camps and urged them to commit support for the passage of a genuine agrarian reform and the rice industry development laws.
He also added that they have worked with both Congressional candidates in some issues and projects in the past and hope that elected or not, they will continue to extend assistance to the sector.
“Dawatenmi nga karaman kadagiti isiguradoda ti publiko ti panangrebisa ti RA 7171 tapno maisigurado a ti probision ti linteg ket mangipaay ti direkta a benepisio kadagiti mannalon ken maliklikan dagiti tila-tila a proyekto (We ask that they include assurance to the public that they will look into the revision of RA 7171 to ensure that its provisions will provide direct benefits to the farmers and prevent the use for different projects),” Pugyao stated.
The farmer leader cited the case of the 2018 proposed projects for the utilization of RA 7171 funds in Ilocos Sur. He said, there were projects with no actual famer beneficiaries such as slope support, recreational structures and supposed post-harvest facilities but it truth are covered basketball courts.
“Adda pay naikabil a farm-to-market road idiay Barangay 3 ti Vigan City a paset ti central business district (A farm-to-market road is even funded in Barangay 3 Vigan city, which is part of the central business district),” he said.
Pugyao also reminded competing officials in Cabugao, Sinait and Narvacan to ensure that their dispute must not hamper delivery of services for their constituents.
Asked why they have particular interest with the three, he explained that besides having their oldest municipal chapters in the area, the town have strong political clans competing for the top post.
In 2017, when the dispute between the Savellanos and Cobangbangs in Cabugao was publicized, Stop Exploitation also appealed to both poltical families to keep their dispute away from the delivery of projects intended for farmer. ●