GP ‘perfect combination’

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran (4th and 5th from left) with their Grupo Progreso slate Wednesday, October 6.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia said his Grupo Progreso (GP) slate for the 2022 polls is a combination of experience, competence and youth with a track record that will bring Bacolod City to greater heights.

Leonardia, who introduced the members of his slate at a press conference at Acacia Hotel before they attended a mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral and filed their certificates of candidacy before the Comelec on Wednesday, October 6, said “Grupo Progreso is presenting a team which we can call a perfect combination.”

Seeking reelection along with Leonardia are Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and incumbent councilors Archie Baribar, Carl Lopez, Renecito Novero, Dindo Ramos, Cindy Rojas, and Israel Salanga.

Making a comeback to the city council is City Administrator Em Ang, while businessman Ed Guillem and broadcaster Marlon Solidum are running again in GP’s slate for councilors.

Newcomers on the councilors’ slate are Jonathan Diaz, Cashmere Montalvo and Dr. Chris Sorongon.

Leonardia said Diaz has served as a Sangguniang Kabataan chairman and represents the LGBT community, Montalvo is the daughter of former Bacolod Mayor Jose “Digoy” Montalvo and is an IT expert, and Sorongon is a doctor who has been the champion of the city’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The tarpaulin on the stage during the press conference included a photo of Rep. Greg Gasataya for congressman.

Gasataya, a GP member, has announced that he is staying neutral as far as the mayoral race is concerned because of his ties to both Leonardia and his opponent, mayoral candidate Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.

Leonardia said Gasataya explained to him the reason for his staying neutral and assured him that it will be his stand up to Election Day.

“We will give him the benefit of doubt that he will stay neutral up to Election Day,” Leonardia said.

Technically Gasataya is still part of Grupo Progreso and he was informed that he would still be included in the GP tarpaulins, Leonardia said.

GP will not field a congressional candidate against Gasataya, he said

Leonardia, who was formerly with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, joined the Nacionalista Party (NP) of Manny Villar on Wednesday.

He has been named head of the party in Bacolod City and signed the NP Certificates of Nomination of 12 of the GP candidates, Leonardia said.

Solidum remains with the NPC and Baribar is a member of the PROMDI party, he said.

Leonardia said he does not know whom they will support for president but has been in a series of talks with Davao Mayor Sara Duterte.

He does not know what Duterte will finally run for but she has helped Bacolod a lot, Leonardia said. It is expected that the NP will go for Sara Duterte should she run for president, he said.

Leonardia said he has also spoken to Senate President Vicente Sotto who is running for vice president as he is the godfather of his daughter.

“We will see how things evolve on the national level,” he said.

Leonardia said GP made Bacolod a top model city and the most competitive in the Visayas.

Before the pandemic Bacolod was experiencing its fastest growth rate in history, which like the rest of the world was disrupted by COVID-19, he said.

GP is the group that catapulted Bacolod to where it is today, that cared in the midst of the pandemic and never failed to serve the people, he said.

It will be the group that will bring Bacolod back on the road of recovery and make sure that after the pandemic is gone happy days will be back in the city, Leonardia said.

“We have the experience and know what Bacolod needs, we should not change horses in mid-stream, we cannot afford to rock the boat,” he said.

He appealed to Bacolodnons to place their trust and confidence in his team. “We will not fail you, we will bring Bacolod to greater heights as soon as we are over this pandemic”, Leonardia said.*

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