WV lawmakers shine in Congress – survey

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

Western Visayas lawmakers made a significant showing in the annual “Boses ng Bayan” survey of the RP Mission and Development Foundation Inc. (RPMD).

The survey, conducted between December 27, 2023, and January 5, 2024, identified Iloilo City’s lone district Rep. Jam Baronda, Negros Occidental’s Rep. Kiko Benitez, and Rep. Lorenz Defensor of Iloilo as the top performers.

Despite the swirling political winds in Iloilo City, with Rep. Baronda possibly severing ties with Mayor Jerry Trenas, she didn’t let the local turmoil dim her national acclaim.

With an impressive score of 92.9%, Baronda, who is serving her second term, stood out among more veteran and storied lawmakers in the region.

This acclaim comes amid reports that her father, Councilor Urminico Baronda, is facing the music of local political discord, set to be stripped of his chairmanships in the Sangguniang Panlungsod committees.

The survey delivered scores that speak volumes: 92.9% for Baronda, 92.6% for Benitez, and 92.5% for Defensor, reflecting a profound commitment to public service and a high standard of legislative work within their constituencies.

It scrutinized their representation, legislative achievements, and quality of constituent service—areas in which these representatives have shone brightly.

The survey placed other legislators in the spotlight too, with Antonio Legarda Jr. of Antique and Juliet Marie Ferrer of Negros Occidental securing second place with impressive ratings of 89.3% and 88.7%, respectively.

Not far behind were Mercedes Alvarez (88.4) of Negros Occidental and Ma. Lucille Nava (88.1) of Guimaras, who took third place, and Janette Garin (86.8) of Iloilo who followed closely.

Further commendations were extended to Teodorico Haresco (87.3) of Aklan, 2nd district; and Michael Gorriceta (87.2) of Iloilo, 2nd district; Alfredo Maranon III (85.6) Negros Occ. 2nd district; Raul Tupas (83.5) Iloilo, 5th district); Greg Gasataya (82.8) Bacolod City; Ferjenel Biron (81.4) Iloilo 4th district, and Dino Yulo (80.1) Negros Occ., 5th district.

This extensive survey included 10,000 adult participants, echoing the voices of the 67.75 million registered Filipino voters with a high confidence level and a minimal margin of error, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of its results.

Dr. Paul Martinez, the global affairs analyst and executive director of RPMD, stressed the importance of this survey, noting that scores above 50% indicate a job well done, with higher ratings underscoring significant constituent satisfaction.