Mayor Pogi Lazatin: Great Uniter!

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Political strife, conflict and extremism continues to be part of our daily lives especially at the national level in the 2022 elections. But that’s not what our great Angeles City is all about.
I truly dislike partisan politics. The difficult struggles – and anger – should not be part of what we’re trying to accomplish in the City of Angels.

Undoubtedly, Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr’s iconic color Red is the new, hybrid combination of all political colors in Angeles City. The over-all magnetic, sterling posture and performance of Mayor Lazatin has attracted an avalanche of alliances, realignments and strongholds from formidable reelectionists, political families, including barangay chairmen running as independent candidates in the Sangguniang Panlungsod. As a political observer and campaign manager for six (6) elections in 33 years from 1986 to 2019 (11 National and Local Elections), these electoral barometers of political machinery happen to be the basic criteria to bolt a landslide victory.

Mayor Lazatin has a very inclusive personality and approach. It’s the type of good politics that can get a lot of people on board, and that’s exactly what the city needs. A uniter not divider. It’s not divisive at all because he can attract even the critically minded or the thinking Angelenos and the undecided.

He will stay laser-focused on making decisions that will make life easier to every Angeleno – not for any specific political party. The City has benefited from strong residential property values amid the pandemic, no hike in real property tax and business tax, provision of tablets and free wi-fi to learners and educators, healthcare programs to senior citizens, PWDs and solo parents, efficient COVID response, livelihood programs for small and medium scale businesses, home for the homeless elders and street children, environmental protection and what have you.

And all these things have been accomplished while suffering through one of the world’s worst pandemics (COVID-19) in 2020.

Angeles City is truly a destination city! Several tourism magazines, both local and foreign, named the city the No. 1 City outside Metro Manila according to their annual “Best Places to Live” rankings.

I love this city. We’ve got wonderful people on the City Council cradled by the unbeatable Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting – making important (and correct) policy decisions that help make Angeles City the greatest city in the country. Angeles City’s never been in better shape under Lazatin’s leadership. I feel engaged, energetic, excited, optimistic and full of promise as we cast our votes to next year’s synchronized national and local elections on May 9, 2022.

BARANGAY LEADERS’ OVERWHELMING SUPPORT

Last October 1 and 7, the Lazatin-Lazatin-Vega (LALAV) Team launched their re-election bid at Best Western Hotel Balibago Branch as consultative meeting with the city’s 33 barangay chairmen, councilmen and Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen. The huge function room was brightened by the uniform red shirts of all Barangay Captains spearheaded by the living legend ABC President Jeremias “Ka Jerry” Alejandrino. While the Councilmen’s League of Angeles City (CLAC) headed by Kagawad Carlos “Caloy” Dela Cruz led his 264-strong members and delivered his endorsement speech. All Sangguniang Kabataan members led by SK Federation President Arnoah Prince Mandani were present as well.

POWERHOUSE TEAM

It’s crystal clear Congressman Carmelo “Jon” Lazatin II, Mayor Pogi and Vice-Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting will bag an easy victory. This early the LALAV supporters hailed success ahead of an election that they cannot possibly lose, with only one opposition left to challenge. But the 2022 local elections have become a virtual one-local-party city, unlike the 2019 three-corner local elections.

In 2019, reelectionist councilors Atty Pogs Suller and Marino Banola, and for his second bid Aaron Pineda were in the red team; reelectionists Doc Alfie Bonifacio, Dan Lacson, JC Parker-Aguas, Raco Del Rosario are now joined by newcomer CJ Ponce son of PG Ponce were from the blue team, while reelectionist Jay Sangil now joined by Rodelio Mamac Jr. son of Balibago Barangay chairman Tony Mamac Sr. were in the campaign trail of former CIAC president Alexander Cauguiran Sr.

Independent candidate for city councilor is three-termer barangay chairman Alma Dizon Mercado. She filed her certificate of candidacy for the second bid and she is supporting Mayor Lazatin. She is grateful for Mayor Lazatin’s programs, projects and activities implemented in Barangay Tabun with the support of Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas and Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel. Mercado, who landed no.11 in the 2019 elections, said she will pursue the skills program for women and the marginalized sector to provide livelihood opportunities, further improve health programs such as increasing the number of dialysis machines for patients and more development programs. Mercado served as president of the Quota International (Angeles), vice president of Soroptimist International (Angeles), president of the Tabun Pastoral Council, director of the Rotary Club of Angeles (Mabalacat) and a member of the Philippine Army Reservist.

Mining barangay chairman Cris Cortez also filed his COC as an independent candidate for city councilor for the second time. He also owes allegiance to Mayor Lazatin for all the help extended to his barangay constituents.

Modern electoral politics, however, is increasingly a game of the number crunchers. Electoral campaigns have become a variant of data-driven marketing and the LALAV Team are deep into this game. Once reelected, Mayor Pogi has no need to transact his way to power as he did in his first term because he himself is a powerbroker and A1 negotiator who managed to leap-frog from a minority city councilor to city mayor.

Mayor Lazatin considers the management of the COVID-19 as his most significant achievement so far when the city reached a critical level of infection rate due to Delta variant, but managed to control the series of spikes up to this time attributable to the dedication of healthcare workers and professionals, and cooperation of barangay leaders and residents to the Ronda and Sundo Bakuna programs in the grassroots level aside from the two vaccination centers at the City College of Angeles and Angeles City High School Pampang.

INITIAL SURVEY

An independent online survey conducted by the “Bantay Kandidato 2022” indicated that incumbent and reelectionist Mayor Lazatin is still favored to win in the upcoming 2022 polls. Of the 637 respondents as of October 5, 2021 616 have signified their intention to support the reelection of Mayor Lazatin who is running under Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. His lone rival, three-term councilor Amos Rivera, who is running under Aksyon Demokratiko, garnered 21 supporters.

Below are some of the comments in the online survey.
Rommel Capili: “Doon pa rin kami sa serbisyong may puso. Mayor Carmelo “Pogi Lazatin Jr.”

Mon Gonzales: “Ano na ba nagawa ni Amos? Lumilitaw lang siya kapag election na. Noong una siyang humabol ng councilor, hindi pa siya nagfile ng candidacy nagpa meeting na yan sa mga walang bahay at naka pag attend po ako. Noong nanalo siya hindi na nagpakita!”

Luigi Arcilla: “Nagpatawag ng public hearing yang si Amos sa mga truckers, maari naman niya kaming kausapin ng malumanay at maayos pero sinigawan at pinagalitan kami na parang maliit na bata kaya nag-walk out kami!

Agnes Nuguid: “Paano ko naman iboboto si Amos, kung ang kuya nga niya si Atty Willie Rivera suportado nya si Mayor Pogi di ba? Ibig sabihin may malaking problema si Amos! Kaya sana ‘wag magpa-uto mga followers nya.”