Negros Oriental governor gets overwhelming win | Inquirer News

Negros Oriental governor gets overwhelming win

/ 08:51 PM May 19, 2013

DUMAGUETE CITY—After a two-year on-the-job training, performing a job that he did not aspire for in 2010, Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo obtained an overwhelming mandate in last Monday’s elections.

Getting 212,252 votes, Degamo beat closest rival Josy Sy-Limkaichong (Liberal Party or LP) by 50,891 votes and Gary Teves (Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC) by 63,648 votes.

Degamo, a fisherman’s son who studied to become a mechanical engineer, was elected No. 1 provincial board member in 2010. He was elevated to the vice governorship after Vice Gov. Agustin Perdices succeeded the late


Gov. Emilio Macias II. Seven months later, Perdices died and Degamo succeeded him as well.


Identifying himself with the grassroots and adopting the style of the late Fernando

Poe Jr., Degamo would greet people by extending a handshake with one hand followed by an embrace with the other.

Degamo’s party,  PDP-Laban, did not have a war chest the size of that of the LP and the NPC, who flew their candidates around in helicopters.

Limkaichong and Teves are political heavyweights in their own right, though.

Limkaichong had earned the reputation as a “dragon-slayer” for ending the 21-year reign of the Paras brothers Jacinto and Jerome in the first district of Negros Oriental with the support of only one out of nine mayors.

She is serving her second term as congresswoman of the first district.


Teves, on the other hand, is a former three-term congressman of the third district of Negros Oriental, where his nephew, Henry, now sits as congressman.

To conventional political strategists, Degamo is a weak candidate.

He had no strong political organization. His supporters put together an organization in Zamboanguita town barely one week before the elections.

He did not have the open support of a single mayor from the province’s 20 towns and five cities. Neither did he get the vaunted endorsement of  Iglesia Ni Cristo, which supported Teves.

He had an ace up his sleeve, though—support from the Catholic and the Protestant churches. Degamo has been openly endorsed by priests and pastors.

Dr. Reynaldo Rivera, a political scientist and dean of the graduate studies at Silliman University, said the support of the Catholic and Protestant churches was a big factor for Degamo’s victory because of their grassroots reach.

Rivera also attributed Degamo’s victory to his being the incumbent governor. “He campaigned through his performance.”

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The third factor, Rivera added, is probably the fact that “he is a new face” in Negros Oriental politics. Degamo said it was really a result of trust in God. “The voters are now getting wiser,” he said.

TAGS: Liberal Party, News, Regions

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