ZAMBOANGA CITY – Influential Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan has filed his candidacy Thursday as governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, challenging incumbent Mujiv Hataman who is running for re-election in next year’s polls.
Both Tan and Hataman are candidates of the ruling Liberal Party of President Aquino.
Tan is being supported by provincial governors of the ARMM while Hataman said Aquino told him to seek re-election and support presidential bet Mar Roxas and his running mate Leni Robredo.
He filed his candidacy through his proxy, Jojo Tan, at the regional office of the Commission on Elections in Zamboanga City, and announced this in Sulu province where thousands of people, mostly supporters, gathered to hear him talk together with his official slate.
Tan, a known philanthropist, vowed to bring progress and equality in government projects in the impoverished Muslim region just as he did in Sulu- when he was governor for several terms – which is fast becoming progressive because of provincial government efforts.
Hataman – who earlier declared his candidacy in his hometown in Basilan province – filed his certificate of candidacy through a proxy in Cotabato City.
Hataman, a former party-list representative in Congress, is serving as regional governor since December 2011 after Aquino appointed him in the ARMM and eventually elected through the help of Tan and governors of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
ARMM has over 1.4 million registered voters in 2,490 villages and divided into 5,131 clustered precincts.
Sulu Governor Toto Tan also filed his candidacy with Nurunisa Tan as his vice governor; and Representative Tupay Loong and former solon Munir Arbison for congressmen. Mayor Samier Tan of Maimbung is also seeking re-election.
In Zamboanga City, Mayor Beng Climaco also led her slate in filing their candidacies. Climaco is seeking re-election and is widely popular among locals because of her sincerity and dedication to public service.
Members of Climaco’s group, accompanied by their supporters, also prayed together before filing their respective candidacy papers with the local office of the Commission on Elections.
A former lawmaker, Climaco – now on her second term – said she will continue what she had started and pledged more reforms in an effort to put Zamboanga back to its glorious days as a booming city and economic hub in Mindanao.
Zamboanga City was ruled by the Lobregat family – Maria Clara Lobregat and Celso Lobregat – for many decades until Climaco, an ally of Aquino and also Liberal Party member, won by a landslide in 2013 elections.
There were no reports of violence in the region during the filing of the candidacy by politicians. (Mindanao Examiner)
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