BINALONAN, Pangasinan – The eagle has literally took flight at the airfield of this soon to be boomtown in the northeast part of Northern Luzon’s biggest province as one of its sons has formally launched his bid for the province’s highest post Saturday, July 24.
Pangasinan Fifth District Rep. Ramon Guico, Jr. and vice gov. Mark Lambino formally launched their bid for the top two positions during a lunch with many of the province’s top officials including barangay leaders at the WCC Aeronautical and Technological College here.
With three of the province’s six congressmen backing the young Guico, the Alyansang Guico-Lambino or AGUILA hopes to topple the almost 15 year reign of the Espino father and son.
Guico, known as Mon Mon or Guapo here, said that they are putting a team that will bring development once again to the province, once the second biggest after Cebu, but has fallen to a mere sixth in the years that former Gov. Amado Espino, Jr. and son Amado III acted as stewards.
In a ceremony where they also pushed for Davao mayor Sara Duterte to seek the presidency in May 2021, the Aguila duo said that it is best the course is to push “progressive thinking leaders” like them to the highest provincial offices to jumpstart progress in the province.
The political meeting within this town’s North Luzon Aero Industrial Park Corp. with a soon to wake giant Sumi-North Philippines Wiring System a silent witness to the promise, Guico announced his candidacy with Lambino as his number two.
“I will take the challenge. I will run for governor,” said Guico, as his father and town mayor Ramon, Jr. watches at the presidential table with some of the province’s top officials including former Deputy Speaker Conrado Estrella III, former Alaminos Rep. Arthur Celeste and former three time fifth district Rep. Mark Cojuangco. Celeste and Cojuangco lost to Espinos in the last two elections.
Former congressman Ranjit R. Shahani, son of the late senator Leticia and nephew to former president Fidel V. Ramos, also joined the group.
The Aguila group hopes to form a formidable ticket that will bring the Espinos to their knees and hopefully on their back.
Guico III defeated Espino, Jr. in the last election, the latter was seeking re-election in the district where he recently called home as his family is trying to solidify a stranglehold of the province. Aside from a son who is a governor, the elder Espino has another son, Jumel Anthony, as second district congressman and wife Priscilla as mayor of Bugallon town, which sits right next the Capitol and Lingayen, and part of the second district.
Pangasinan fourth district Rep. Christopher George Martin Venecia leans towards the Espinos.
Guico said that he took on the call of the province’s big wigs – Celestes, Estrella and Cojuangco – weary of the Espino rule. He also gets the backing of first district Rep. Arnold Celeste, third district Rep. Rosemary Arenas and sixth district Rep. Tyrone Agabas. All were absent because of the restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the Aguila group to trim the attendees down to about 100 persons, but sent representatives.
The Guico allies said that if he defeated the patriarch then he could also beat the son, who will seek for his third and final term as governor. They pit Guapo against the governor, known as Pogi.
Guico said that if elected, he and Lambino will work for the construction of the East-West Diversion Road that will link all towns and cut travel within the province significantly and between the 44 municipalities, help create a complimenting eco-zone in western Pangasinan, preferably in Lingayen and work for the creation of an international airport in the province’s tourism mecca – Alaminos – seat of the Celeste family.
Guico said that he could attract investors for the economic zone just what he did with the Binalonan economic zone where SNPW will open the first phase of its plant here by the end of the year creating 2,000 jobs. Once completed, the Japanese tech company will employ some 10,000 locals here as well as from the neighboring towns like Laoac or even Urdaneta City.
He said the 28 hectare industrial park will have other industries like those involved in information technology, aviation industry and Business Process Outsourcing or BPO.