Bian enjoys backing from various sectors


By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY — Businesswoman Joji Ilagan-Bian said she was every much elated in the turn of events that she was getting more support from various sectors to boost her candidacy for congressman at the city’s second district even as there are barely two weeks left before election day.

Bian said many people have become rational and mature enough to take cognizance of her qualities as a leader who can make a difference once elected into office.

Recently, Bayan Muna and its other affiliated militant groups expressed their strong support to Bian’s candidacy.

Other incumbent and comebacking city councilors, who were running under the ruling Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, and barangay leaders also publicly announced their support to Bian.

“Because of your support and trust to my candidacy, we have a good chance of winning this time,” Bian was quoted as saying during one of their campaign sorties.

This is the third try for Bian to join the congressional race but during the last may 10 elections she fell short of votes behind Rep. Mylene Garcia, who is the same person she would try to challenge again in the upcoming polls.

Bian said she was not afraid that she is facing against a political family which has dominated the city’s second congressional district for the past 21 years.

Rep. Garcia is running for reelection on her third term after succeeding her brother, Vincent, who had held the post for three terms. Their father, Manuel, had occupied the same position for three terms since 1992.

In 2001, Bian, former chair of the Mindanao Business Council and two-time president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc. (DCCCII), first sought the congressional seat in the second district, but she lost to Vincent Garcia. She ran again in 2010 as part of the slate of former Speaker Prospero Nograles, who was then seeking the city’s mayoral post, but she lost to Mylene Garcia, an ally of Nograles’ political rival Rodrigo Duterte.

Now, Bian is running for the third time to give way to what she said was the “people’s aspirations for change.”

“I am the only person willing to take up the challenge to face a formidable 21-year old dynasty in the congressional district,” she said. “If I don’t take the challenge now, who will take the cudgels for our people?”

Bian’s campaign posters show the regal smile and elegant bearing that were usually seen more in air-conditioned convention halls where business groups she had lead met, rather than on the streets of the teeming, aspiring masses.

As chair of the Mindanao Business Council from 1998 to 2003, Bian had pushed for policies reducing the cost of doing business in Mindanao by 10-15 percent. Among the landmark legislations she claimed to have achieved as MBC chair were:

Increase in Mindanao’s budget share in agriculture in 2000 from 25 percent to 28 percent and in infrastructure, from 26 percent to 27 percent. (ASA)


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