BAGUIO CITY – A neophyte politician bested his seasoned rivals in the political arena as he cruised to a convincing victory in the mayoralty race of the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
Retired Police Lt. Gen. Benjamin B. Magalong was proclaimed by the City Board of Canvassers (CBC) shortly before midnight Monday as the next City Mayor as he was able to establish a convincing margin of nearly 18,000 votes against his closest rival, incumbent Vice mayor Edison R. Bilog.
Magalong, who retired from the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2016, was able to garner over 38,000 votes compared to the over 12,000 votes earned by Bilog, the more than 17,000 votes casted for incumbent Councilor Edgard Avila, the slightly over 14,000 votes earned by human rights lawyer Jose Molintas and the over 12,000 votes for incumbent Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr..
“I was overwhelmed by the outcome of the political exercise. We will have to hit the ground going because there are a lot of expectations from the people,” Magalong stressed.
The former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be taking the place of 6-term Mayor Mauricio g. Domogan who will be ending his second 3-term as local chief executive by noon of June 30, 2019.
Magalong was forced to give up his sensitive position in Steel Asia, one of the biggest steel companies in the country, the third biggest steel company in Asia and one of the top 500 corporations in the world, in exchange for his decision to enter the city’s political arena late last year.
The mayor-elect underscored that among his priorities will be to find short, medium and long-term solutions to the prevailing issues and concerns on the city’s traffic, solid waste management and environmental problems as soon as he will be in office considering the sensitive issues that have to be given immediate attention as the same can be done simultaneously.
According to him, there will be times that he will make unpopular decisions but the people should understand the same because what will be done will be for the benefit of the greater majority of the populace and for any other interests of individuals and groups.
Before being appointed as the CIDG chief, Magalong also served as the regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera wherein one of his legacies was the zero election-related violence and incidents in the conflict-stricken province of Abra during the May 2013 mid-term elections.
Magalong also led the fact-finding investigation of the Mamasapano, Maguidanao massacre that caused the untimely death of 44 personnel of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) on January 25, 2015 wherein 14 of the slain law enforcers were from the Cordillera.
By Dexter A. See