Socorro leaders switch allegiance

By Jun Lira

SURIGAO CITY --  In a dramatic move which recently stunned political observers and analysts, fourteen major political allies of former governor Robert “Ace” Barbers from the town of Socorro, Surigao del Norte, have deserted Abante Surigao and switched allegiance to Partido Padajon Surigao.

The political exodus is expected to deliver more than 8,000 solid votes to Partido Padajon Surigao, the local political party founded by Congressman Francisco Matugas.

Leading the pack were Rosalina L. Taruc, president of Bayanihan Services, Inc.; Sotico Dizon, president of BGFAI; Mario Mascardo, Sr., president of DOFAI; Emerito Estrella, president of CEFAI; Reynerio Canta, Sr., president of Kabisig Bucas Grande; Fernando Juanite, president of NEFFAPCO; Welberto Dacera, president of Kabisig Socorro; Rudelito Elandag, president of SEFEMCOM; Joel Dela Peña, president of Uniters Farmers and Fishermen Ass’n.; Adela Mascardo, president of Tinago-Nueva Estrella Socorro Farmers Ass’n.; Fernando Dela Peña, president of Nueva Estrella Farmers Ass’n. Inc’; Domelito Mascardo, president of Land of Promise Ass’n; and Lito Mascardo, president of Bucas Grande Ass’n.

“These 14 leaders from Bucas Grande Island, which encompasses the town of Socorro, have decided to pledge allegiance to Partido Padajon Surigao because we were so impressed with the joint leadership of Congressman Francisco Matugas and his wife Governor Sol Matugas,” said Rosalina Taruc, a respected peasant leader.

She said the combined leadership of the Matugas couple have resulted to the delivery of numerous infrastructure and livelihood projects amounting to hundreds of millions to the town of Socorro.

“For the past years until now, we noticed that Socorro has been pampered with numerous projects by the Matugas couple. Since the first term of Congressman Francisco Matugas until now, he has brought tremendous development to our town. We’re grateful for that and we believe it is just fitting to repay him with our solid support,” Taruc added.

Provincial Board Member Mamerto Galanida, a former 3-term mayor of Socorro, said that Bucas Grande leaders will surely ensure a landslide victory for the Matugases in their town in next year’s elections.

“We’ll ensure the continuity of our town’s progress by ensuring a landslide victory for Congressman Francisco Matugas and Governor Sol Matugas come May 2013 local elections. We’re fortunate we have them as our leaders who are very much concerned of the welfare of our people,” Galanida stressed.

Political pundits believe the recent political exodus will have a crippling effect on the dwindling ranks of Abante Surigao, the local political party headed by former governor Robert “Ace” Barbers.

Abante Surigao suffered a humiliating defeat in the May 2010 elections when candidates of Partido Padajon Surigao captured all mayoralty positions in 20 towns, the city mayorship, the governorship and the two congressional seats in the province which resulted to a 24 – 0 shutout in favor of the latter.

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