Mass shift to PFP can bring federalism ideas to W. Visayas

PFP national president and South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr.

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., national president of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), said that the oath-taking of some 800 local officials from Iloilo and Guimaras on Sunday, June 2, would help the party’s advocacy of shifting to a federal form of government reach Western Visayas’ masses.

Tamayo said that the recruitment of new members was not solely to solidify support for party chairperson, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., but to increase the delivery of its services.

He expects it will be easier to advocate for a shift to federalism, in line with their long-term goal of realizing such change by 2034.

“We believe that it will be faster for us to go down with the party’s ideologies and principles to the grassroots level with the support of local officials in Panay Island. We believe that they can help us to reach and help the public understand our principles and ideal governance, aligned with the national government,” said Tamayo in a press conference.

The South Cotabato governor, whose mother hails from Santa Barbara and father from Dao, Capiz, admitted the difficulty in winning Iloilo, including in the 2022 elections.

He noted that while Marcos Jr. had won and met his ‘quota’ in the province and city, it was challenging due to the strong support for his main rival, then-Vice President Leni Robredo.

“We know how Ilonggos unite, and we know the attitude of the Ilonggos. When they commit, they are definitely committed. That’s why it was really difficult to enter Iloilo because they were very united and very solid,” he said. “It’s a very big thing that a big group of Ilonggos joined us. It’s a big change in the political arena. It can be helpful to the [Marcos Jr. administration],” he added.

Tamayo also emphasized that those who wish to join the PFP need to internalize the party’s five core principles: fear of God, humanism, enlightened socialism, direct democracy, and patriotic federalism.

“If the party was not formed with those principles in mind, then it would be useless. It means that the [core principles] form the ideology where there needs to be unity because it is the key to uplift the lives of every Filipino,” the South Cotabato governor said.

Tamayo led the oath-taking of city, municipal, and provincial-level officials from Iloilo City, Iloilo province, and Guimaras, while Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., the party’s regional chairperson, swore in new members composed of barangay officials.

Provincial board members who have officially joined the PFP include Rolito Cajilig and June Mondejar (Iloilo-2nd), Matt Palabrica (Iloilo-3rd), Raymond Gavileño (Guimaras-1st), and Luben Vilches (Guimaras-2nd).

Municipal mayors from Iloilo province who joined the party include:

– Ian Kenneth Alfeche (Alimodian)

– Suzette Mamon (Badiangan)

– Peter Paul Gonzales (Banate)

– Elvira Alarcon (Batad)

– Mark Palabrica (Bingawan)

– Elizalde Pueyo (Cabatuan)

– Francisco Calvo (Calinog)

– Mary Lynn Mosqueda (Estancia)

– Paulino Parian (Janiuay)

– Reynor Gonzales (Lambunao)

– Francis Amboy (Maasin)

– Lydia Grabato (Mina)

– Liecel Seville (New Lucena)

– Rafael Enrique Lazaro (Pototan)

– Dennis Superficial (Santa Barbara)

– Ma. Jofel M. Soldevilla (Zarraga)

Some of these mayors were previously aligned with either the National Unity Party (NUP) with Defensor, or with the Nacionalista Party, led locally by Iloilo 4th district Representative Ferjenel Biron.

Notably, none of the incumbent mayors from Iloilo province’s 1st legislative district towns (Guimbal, Igbaras, Miagao, Oton, San Joaquin, Tigbauan, and Tubungan) had defected to the PFP.

Municipal vice mayors and town councilors, including from towns whose mayors were not aligned with Defensor, were also sworn in.

The names of mayors Vicente Jaen II (Leganes) and Darwin Bajada (San Dionisio) appeared in the event’s registration sheet, but they were absent during the event itself.

Guimaras politicians who also joined the PFP include former governor and incumbent Buenavista mayor Samuel Gumarin, and mayors Paul Vincent dela Cruz (Nueva Valencia) and Annabelle Samaniego (Sibunag), along with Sangguniang Bayan members from all of the island province’s five towns.

Iloilo City officials sworn in include Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon and councilors Romel Duron, Ely Estante Jr., Frances Grace Parcon-Torres, Johnny Young, and Alan Zaldivar, and Liga ng mga Barangay city president Ma. Irene Ong.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, father of Vice Mayor Ganzon, was also present as a guest of honor, despite being an official of the National Unity Party (NUP), which was also aligned with the Marcos Jr. administration.

Another NUP member, Guimaras Governor Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava, and the island’s lone district representative, Ma. Lucille Ledesma-Nava, who ran under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) in 2022, also appeared as guests.

The national president said that they would also seek to recruit members in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Negros Occidental. The PFP currently has 32 governors, with 10 more confirmed to be joining, and before the 2025 election season, it aims to have a roster of more than half of the country’s provincial chief executives.

SENATE SLATE, PARTY ALLIANCES

Tamayo said that they have formed a steering committee with two allied parties, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) of House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of former Senate president Vicente Sotto III.

The PFP formalized their alliances with Lakas-CMD last May 8, followed by the NPC on May 18. The said steering committee will be the one vetting the administration party’s senatorial candidates, with the final list eyed to be released in September.

He said that they were also currently in talks with other parties for a greater alliance, but these details would be revealed at a later date. The ultimate consideration in choosing their allies would be aligning with the common cause to support the Marcos Jr. administration.

“We are trying to make sure that we don’t just talk to four or five national political parties joining us,” he said.

“There are chances that an agreement may not be formed because there can only be an alliance for a common cause, which is to support the administration of [Marcos Jr.] and also for the 2025 elections. So, until there isn’t consensus, it would be difficult to say to the public. We also have to respect the other political parties,” he added.

Another steering committee will also be formed with allied parties to discuss possible local conflicts, where their candidates may be pitted against each other. He said that unresolved conflicts will be resolved through ‘freezoning,’ which refers to letting the candidates run in a way that would not affect the alliances at the top.

“The steering committee will discuss that and will try to fix it, but if it cannot be fixed, then there will be ‘free-zoning’ in areas which we can no longer control. Our alliances are not coalitions nor merging, just alliances for a common cause. As long as it is still adequate for that [common cause], then there would be no problems,” he said.

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