By Elson A. Quismorio
Some 11,000 local officials from Mindanao have joined the ruling party Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan in just one week.
PDP Secretary General House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez led the oath-taking of around 6,000 officials and leaders in Surigao del Norte as new PDP-Laban members yesterday. The mass oath-taking was held at the Surigao Provincial Gym in Surigao City during a rally to support the ruling party’s call for a federal government.
Last Saturday, Alvarez – President Duterte’s top ally in the legislature – administered the oath of some 5,000 local officials in Zamboanga Sibugay at the Ipil Central Sports Complex in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Duterte is the chairman of the party, which began to swell in membership following the former Davao City Mayor’s victory in the May 2016 presidential elections.
According to Surigao del Norte Rep. Jose Francisco “Bingo” Matugas, who also took his oath as Surigao del Norte PDP-Laban president during the event in Surigao City, almost 90 percent of the elected public officials from the province’s 20 municipalities are now with the ruling party.
“Through the event, we rallied the people of Surigao del Norte to support federalism and the PDP-Laban party as a whole, thereby supporting the House Speaker and the President in their programs and legislative agenda,” Matugas said.
Also present during the mass oathtaking in Surigao City were lawmakers listed in the PDP-Laban’s senatorial slate for the mid-term elections in 2019 – Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, and Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu.