“I worked for the unity of Bohol even if it meant not running in 2019,” so declared by Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap in his exclusive interview with DYRD Inyong Alagad last Monday.
Yap revealed that he even approached Second District Rep. Aris Aumentado in Congress several times with the idea of unifying the province in 2019 even if it meant he would not toss his hat into the political ring anymore next year.
In Yap’s proposal which he confirmed in the radio program, Yap reasoned that if the other political leaders of Bohol would agree, Gov. Edgar Chatto and First District Rep. Rene Relampagos can be allowed to exchange positions while Vice-Gov. Dionisio Balite stays put to run for re-election as the second highest elected official in the island province.
Also, Aumentado can be supported as a unity congressional candidate for the second district with the third district undergoing a convention to reach a common candidate there.
Cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco Jr., under this formula, can be then convinced to stay on in the Cabinet considering he occupies a very sensitive position there which can greatly help and assist Bol-anons.
Under this set-up, Yap said that he was willing not to run for the post of governor anymore since the unity forged among candidates will result in greater stability and development sustainability for Bohol.
However, the unity proposal was not to be. The several proposals by Yap were not met with any positive development which led Yap to confront directly the real possibility of running for the Bohol chief executive’s post.
“The position of governor or to be the leader of the Bol-anon nation is a sacred one. The position is not subject to anyone’s ambition but is a challenge to serve given directly by God. Therefore, the decision to run cannot be taken lightly or subjected to anyone’s ambitions,” Yap pointed out.
Chatto told Bohol mayors on August 27, that the next governor of Bohol must have the track record and experience in performance and understood economics, business, tourism and agriculture since the future of Bohol will be decided by developments in the aforementioned sectors.
With time running out, Yap asked for a chance to consult Padayon Bol-Anon mayors which he did the whole month of September before finally making the fateful decision to file his certificate of candidacy last October 17in Tagbilaran City.
Yap clarified that the unity ticket was not a formal proposal, but was only a thought which he casually shared to Aumentado and Relampagos everytime they would catch up with each other in Congress in the early part of this year.
Yap said it only came to his mind that time that it might be better for the political leaders in Bohol to come up with a unity ticket instead of fighting each other and as good option for Bohol to sustain the development and continue with the development road map.
He said he mentioned that it would be him, Relampagos and Chatto who needed to be re-positioned since they are all finishing their third terms of their present posts.
Since he felt he had already served Bohol enough with three terms of representing the third district in Congress, he was willing to sacrifice and Relampagos might be good for governor and Chatto to be back in Congress, since Congressman Aris Aumentado had nothing to lose because he still can run for a third term as congressman of second district.
He also believed that Evasco already had a good position in Malacañang that would benefit Bohol, together with another Boholano- -Sec. Ernesto Pernia in the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
However, the recommendation of Padayon Bol-anon for him to run for governor overtook his processing on the unity ticket without getting a response from the other political camp.
He asked for a little more time to study and consult the leaders further.
It was because Relampagos was no longer keen about running for governor as he already had the position for two terms in the past.
Yap explained that what he had in mind when he had thought of the unity ticket is for Bohol to hold the momentum in achieving the first phase in the development road map which is to become a tourism center and the province would be embarking on the next phase which is on agro-industry and protecting the environment.
He said that the development roadmap started during the time of Relampagos as governor and was adopted by the late governor Erico Aumentado, father of Aris, and continued by Chatto.
He had also thought Balite had nothing to sacrifice also because he could still run for re-election.
Yap said he had suggested that for the third district, they could have gone for a convention because many were interested for the seat in Congress and if there would be no consensus, then it would be a free zone.
Since the unity ticket never reached to a point of being formally discussed as a serious proposal, and so it was not formally presented to the Padayon Bol-anon group.
It only reached the Padayon Bol-anon group as just a story that there was such an informal and rather casual talks about it.
Yap narrated that “the proposal was made in Congress and it was between him, Aris and Relampagos.
“Kaming tulo tungod kanunay kaming tulo man magkita-kita sa Kongreso. In many instances, but the process was started by me. I was telling Congressman Aris na ‘maybe we can consider a unity ticket’. As I was thinking and reflecting and praying on this road toward the governorship, naghunahuna ko what is really the most crucial and fundamental issue sa umaabot bugnong lugaynon. Dili naman kabahin sa mga politiko. Everybugnong lugaynon in this country- -whether it is provincial, municipal or national level, ang objective of any election is about the people, kabahin sa katawhan dili naman about sa politiko. Mao nga I was telling myself- -the single, fundamental, critical issue sa umaabot nga bugnong lugaynon ang development and sustaining the development of Bohol,” according to Yap.
He also cited the 12-year development plan for Bohol that serves as beacon as to where the province is heading.
“In 2016, we already approved a 12-year development plan for Bohol mao nga naa na tay road map. And kini nga road map nagsugod pa sa panahon pa ni Rene Relampagos. Ang atong vision, atong paglantaw – -becoming a tourism center, having an agro-industrial industry, protecting the environment.
These are all the visions sa panahon pa ni Rene and this was adopted sa panahon ni governor (Erico) Aumentado’s and during Gov. Chatto’s time and we are now moving sa second phase. Humana ta sa first phase. Nakab-ot na nato nga mahimo tang tourism center.
The next phase would be on establishing the agro-industry and protecting the environment.
The next governor is someone who can hold the rudder to this direction, according to Yap.