By JUAN ESCANDOR JR
SAN JOSE, CamSur: A popular movie star has no problem drawing crowd in thousands but to transform popularity into votes to win in an election is another matter.
Movie star Aga Muhlach, running for a seat in Congress in CamSur’s fourth district against a political scion, is an example of a movie star who never fails to draw crowd in thousands wherever his sortie is, but to transform the drawing power into votes is a challenge, according to Arnulfo Picaso, a staff of Goa town mayor allied with Muhlach.
Picaso said that people are drawn to political rallies of Muhlach because he is a movie star like his wife Charlene Gonzales and that they are accompanied by people in the showbiz.
“They are fans. If you ask them whom they will vote they will surely choose Aga while there. But it will be a different story when they go home and during the actual casting of ballots.”
Jun Rivero, an employee of a power coop and voter of this town, also wondered how the popularity of Muhlach can be translated into votes because he felt sure people were curious to see movie stars on the stage but to vote for a movie star he is not sure he said.
Rivero said the Fuentebellas, whom Muhlach challenges in the electoral race, must never be underestimated given the long years of experience in political power play.
With the intention of continuing the political dynasty of the Fuentebellas, Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella fields his son Felix William Fuentebella under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) against Muhlach, a Liberal Party (LP) bet.
The younger Fuentebella took over in 2001 the congressional seat of his father to make an interval for the elder Fuentebella’s second three terms in Congress, from 2004 to 2010.
Arnulfo’s wife Evelyn, the incumbent mayor of Sagñay town, is a reelectionist and another son, Arnie, incumbent mayor of Tigaon town, runs for the third term.
Lagonoy Mayor Delfin Pilapil revealed there were only three incumbent mayors allied to Muhlach in the 10-town Fourth District.
Short of acknowledging shortage in resources he said they are finding ways of also delivering food packs during sorties.
“I support Aga all the way, all the time. Aga is doing good because I see people are for a change. But you know, even if a candidate is popular or super popular, if one lacks logistics it will be a downfall,” Pilapil surmised.
He said Muhlach needs support in terms of logistics.
Picaso said Muhlach spouses the slogan “Bagong Mukha, Bagong Partido (New Face, New Partido)” in vague terms, which must be spelled out in concrete terms.
He said it is not enough that Partido has a new face but what will be his concrete plan for the district.
“Our district has 10 municipalities. In six of them, according to data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), poverty incidence is 50% or higher.
“In fact, one of the towns, Garchitorena, is top ten poorest in the entire region. Kitang kita naman ang kahirapan na pinagdadaanan ng tao doon. Sa tingin ko, there needs to be systemic change in the district, and more lasting solutions,” Muhlach explained.
“The main pillars of my platform are good governance, job creation and improving the road network. These are all linked.
“We need to create opportunities in the district, which is so rich in natural resources. So ngayon pa lang, we’re preparing an economic development plan for the district. We’re looking for new markets for products.
“And we’re hoping that responsible sustainable tourism will be a major source of investment – andon kasi sa 4th district ang Caramoan, and there are other equally beautiful islands that the district has to share.”
“With investment come job opportunities. At yun talaga ang kailangan naming – hanapbuhay. Pero at the same time, we need to make sure that there is enough infrastructure to support the investment (roads), and na hindi lang napupunta sa iilan ang pera na dapat sa tao (anti-corruption).”
Muhlach says: “Ang gusto lang, at parati kong sinasabi, kung ano ang dapat sa tao, mapunta sa kanila na walang bawas. Para sa kanila lahat ito. Sa kanila rin ako nagpapasalamat, kasi sa lahat ng dinadaanan namin, andyan sila, sumusuporta, sumasabay sa amin.”
The Fourth District or Partido area has the third largest number of voters in CamSur with 227, 106.
There are 10 towns that include Caramoan, Garchitorena, Goa, Lagonoy, Presentacion, Sagñay, San Jose, Siruma, Tigaon, and Tinambac.
The three towns whose incumbent mayors are allied to Muhlach are Goa, Lagonoy and Siruma with 71,653 combined voters. – Bicol Mail