If there is one good thing from the early political fever in Davao del Norte, it was the battle of free medical clinics between two warring political groups.
While Capitol under Governor Anthony Garcia del Rosario (AGR) has already been delivering medical services to barangays as one of the top priority concerns of his administration, First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and his Alvarez Wing have joined the fray with their own free medical missions.
Capitol has welcomed the competition, although the Alvarez camp, pointing out the alleged lack of health programs in the AGR administration, is doing it in aid of reelection with the 2019 mid-term elections a breath away.
But there is no forever for Alvarez and his one-day medical missions which were widely played up by the Alvarez media bureau.
The Alvarez Malasakit sa Maysakit missions have banished into thin air.
But DavNor will not miss it.
Because AGR’s Best People Festival of Services, that includes delivery of health services, continues to roar in the road of public service, jumping from one barangay to another, not in one-day sorties, but for weeklong missions.
The mobile clinic of Alvarez and the Alvarez Wing has fizzled out only after only a few outings in the barangays.
What is behind the battle of medical missions?
AGR and Alvarez are in different political fences and their camps will clash head-on in next year’s May polls.
AGR, along with cousin Second District Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr., are running under the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional party organized by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Alvarez, secretary general of the Partido Demokatiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bansa (PDP/Laban), has formed a political bloc, called the Alvarez Wing against Mayor Sara’s HNP.
HNP is fielding for governor AGR’s older brother Rodney del Rosario Jr. Alvarez has picked, for lack of a serious candidate in his bench, virtual unknown Edwin Jubahib, his special assistant and a former bus conductor, against Rodney. Tonyboy is also facing a token opponent in Vice Governor Alan Dujali of the Alvarez Wing.
Alvarez’s return to Congress is facing doom with AGR junking his own reelection bid as governor to challenge the former Speaker of the House of Representives.
Soon after his ouster as Speaker in July last year, Alvarez spent more time in DavNor in a bid to recover from that political tragedy that saw former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replacing him as Speaker. It may be worth noting that Mayor Sara is reported to have played a key role in the ouster of Alvarez and that President Rodrigo Duterte did not save him from the debacle.
To gain luster for his shattered political stock, Alvarez has trained his guns on AGR and attacked Capitol’s alleged mismanagement of the province.
He had also filed a graft complaint against Tonyboy, his long-time friend and benefactor and political ally. As the sitting Speaker, Alvarez also initiated a congressional inquiry into a land deal entered into with the government by the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).
His fight vs. AGR and Tonyboy is a hard pill to swallow for the people of DavNor, who knew that Alvarez won in the 2016 elections because of the support of Tonyboy, AGR and his father former governor Rodolfo “RDR” del Rosario.
Alvarez zeroed in on AGR’s purported lack of focus on health concerns, and launched his Malasakit sa Maysakit campaign that brought health services to the barangays.
But his Malasakit campaign is now gasping for breath overwhelmed by AGR’s Festival of Services and apparently abandoned by Alvarez for a new vote-buying scheme of distributing cash, rice, noodles and canned of sardines.
If Malasakit brought to Alvarez only a flitting orgasm, it is because delivery of health services is one of the hallmarks of administrations of AGR and RDR.
Fact is AGR’s Best People Festival of Services was a follow-through of the higly successful PEOPLE agenda and the RDR WHEELS of RDR.
PEOPLE stands for People empowerment, Education, Optimum health and social services, Public-private partnership, Link to the world, and Employment and livelihood opportunities.
RDR WHEELS stands for Roads and infra development, Development of coops, Reforms in governance and peace and order, Water and electricity development, Health, sanitation and social services, Education, culture and sports development, Economic development and environmental protection, Livelihood, skills development and micro-lending facilities, and Spiritual and moral recovery.
It was PEOPLE and RDR WHEELS that guided RDR’s nearly two decades of effective governance that continues to help AGR in steering DavNor to its vision of peace and prosperity.
Alvarez’s latest blast against AGR is that the Del Rosarios have done nothing good for DavNor during the more than three decades that they have been in politics.
You can understand this lying, misguided and myopic view of somebody who was nowhere in sight in DavNor for fifteen years.
Today, DavNor is the most progressive province in the Davao Region.
DavNor was named as Third Most Competitive Province for 2018 by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Who is this Alvarez who wants to steal the thunder away from the Del Rosarios and Tonyboy?
Alvarez, who abandoned the First District congressional post he won in 1998 for a stint as transport secretary in the then administration of President Arroyo, was an inconspicuous dot in the DavNor political landscape for 15 years.
He was defeated in his two comeback bids in the First District races (2004 and 2007) by a rival backed by the Del Rosarios and Tonyboy. He won his Congress seat in 2016 because, as Alvarez publicly admitted, he was supported by the Del Rosarios and the Floirendos.
Alvarez in the 2019 mid-term elections where he is seeking reelection, will be fighting people who practically bailed him out of his dead politics.
Gratitude is a valued treasure. People who bite the hand that fed them are called “snakes in the grass.”