President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to be in the Province of Bukidnon today, July 21, 2009. This trip, reportedly her 7th in Mindanao so far this year, could be, in my opinion, quite a controversial one. First of all, she’s supposed to hold a cabinet meeting in Malaybalay City, the capital of Bukidnon. Why Bukidnon of all places, you ask? Exactly.
Bukidnon is the “political home” of the Zubiris. Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri served as congressman in the third district for 9 years. Incumbent Bukidnon governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr. is on his last term. Bukidnon 3rd District Congressman Joey Zubiri is Migs’ brother and eldest son of the governor. Malaybalay City Vice Mayor Ignacio “Inaki” Zubiri, nephew of the governor and cousin of the senator, is said to be eyeing the mayoralty post in next year’s elections after incumbent Mayor Florencio Flores, Jr. steps down. Flores is on his last term as the city’s chief executive.
Bukidnon is also home to several controversies including the fact that the governor, who’s said to still be under the LAKAS CMD party, has endorsed different personalities as his next presidential bet. In 2008, he endorsed former Senate President Manny Villar. A few months later, he signified support for Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. Then during the Kaamulan Festival 2009 celebration, he called Senator Loren Legarda as “Madame President.” And then just a few weeks ago, during Teodoro’s “carnival-themed” birthday party, Zubiri declared support for Gibo. Yes, it’s THAT confusing so I cannot blame you if you’d blurt out, “ano ba talaga kuya?!” You could just imagine the confusion of Zubiri’s allies in the province as well. If your leader changes his mind as often as he changes his clothes, what will you think, right?
And so there have been talks that many of Zubiri’s political allies in the province are slowly “leaving” his fold. Observers say that not a few mayors, councilors and provincial board members are already keeping their distance.
Is this why the cabinet meeting has to be held in Bukidnon? For the Zubiris to show everyone that they’re still near and dear to the President’s heart?
I can’t help but wonder how PGMA will treat the governor. Will she smile at him? Hug him? Endorse him? A LOT of eyes will be on them today, after all.
To be fair, reports did say that PGMA is also supposed to lead the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Provincial Road Management Project in Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. The said project is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Still, one can’t help but wonder why a cabinet meeting has to be called in Malaybalay City.
My only hope is that somehow during the course of the meeting, something can be done about the ongoing Mangima Road repair and rehabilitation project which has caused (and still is causing!) so much inconvenience for the riding public.
The cabinet meeting will reportedly be held at the Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (NOMIARC) in Barangay Dalwangan, Malaybalay City.
This is one instance when I want to be a fly on the wall!