Charlotte, North Carolina—If I were still a voter in Cagayan de Oro City, I won't hesitate to vote Mayor Oscar Moreno for a third term.
In fact if the elections were a job screening process, I won't think twice to accept Mayor Oscar Moreno's application for a fresh three-year mandate.
My conviction and faith in Mayor Moreno were further reinforced by the April 30 mayoral debate sponsored by Lihok Movement 2019-Cagayan de Oro/Misamis Oriental chapter in cooperation with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Held in Xavier University's Little Theater, the debate featured Moreno and three other candidates and is part of a series of debates aimed at enabling the voting public to familiarize themselves with the candidates running for office.
And after listening to Moreno and the other candidates and observing their body language, decorum and answers to questions posed to them, I can honestly and safely say that Mayor Moreno is the most competent, patient and confident choice for Cagayan de Oro City's voters.
I watched that debate broadcast live by Parasat Cable TV on their Facebook page so many times that I can stand by my assessment. Not because he happens to be the incumbent but Moreno has a clear vision and plans for Cagayan de Oro to back up his solid six year track record.
His admission that “we have to do more” is a clear manifestation that Moreno is serious in leaving an enduring legacy to the people of Cagayan de Oro.
Moreno had the class and the wisdom to inhibit himself from stooping down to rival Pompee La Vina's constant mudslinging which is more than I can say to that pathetic excuse of an opposition candidate.
I was also amused by candidate Felix Borres for assuming the role of mediator during heated moments in the debate and his efforts delighted both his supporters and the mayor's camp.
In contrast to Moreno's class—the mayor going out of his way to defend the female moderator from La Vina's crass, malicious attacks is the mark of a true gentleman—La Vina came across as sarcastic as he insulted the facilitator. “Estrikta ka maybe Moreno ka (You're strict, maybe you're pro-Moreno).”
It was only Mayor Oscar Moreno who answered the questions posed to him directly by the moderator and he didn't talk out of topic nor resorted to name-calling for the most part unlike La Vina.
But every person has his or her boiling point and I understood why Moreno had to directly call out La Vina for crossing the line with his repeated attacks against him that violated the parameters of the debate.
The female moderator had to keep reminding La Vina and by extension the other candidates to stick to the questions asked and Moreno took the opportunity to remind the audience about Pompee's controversial and disastrous short-lived stint as Social Security System (SSS) commissioner.
Moreno also reminded the audience that Pompee's stint at other agencies like the Departments of Tourism and Agriculture were hounded constantly by allegations of corruption which La Vina never adequately answered, except to point accusing fingers at those he deemed corrupt, including Moreno.
Throughout Pompee's demolition job, Moreno stood tall and resilient and that only goes to show that Moreno is the mayor that Cagayan de Oro City residents need for the next three years.
Moreno’s only flaw in that debate was in responding directly and without any mudslinging on his part but I don't see that as a flaw. He has a lot to share in terms of his administration's plans and vision and it was a shame that he was limited by time constraints.
Listening to that young lady from XU's Debate Club and her appeal to the voting public to vote for those who follow the law and engage actively with the public made me sure that Moreno fits the bill. How can one expect order and good governance from a man who constantly repeats his accusations without solid evidence even when he is out of ordered during the debate?
Seeing Pompee in action for the second time made me more disappointed in him. Pompee's sniping at the audience who disagreed with him and/or were fed up with his attacks on Moreno showed what kind of man he is; someone who won't hesitate to resort to gutter language and mudslinging to come out on top.
Pompee's claims of being the best applicant for Cagayan de Oro's mayoral seat is refuted by the fact that he is an absentee Kagay-anon who only showed up to run for mayor and acted like a spoiled brat who thought he was robbed of candy during the debate.
The composure of Moreno and La Vina is quite telling of their character. In contrast to Moreno's serenity and calm demeanor, La Vina sounded and acted the troll by repeatedly calling Moreno “kawatan (thief)” and corrupt.
When the audience voiced their disagreement and eventual disgust, Pompee acted like a spurned suitor, a woman scorned whose bitterness is evident in his sour-graping.
Anyone who has taken a class in business management will tell you to choose those who had shown grace and intelligence under pressure.
Another thing is that the absentee Kagay-anon from Manila kept repeating the word “kawatan” so many times that I got tired counting and empathize with the voters in being fed up with his cheap gutter style tactics.
The words that come from our mouths speaks volumes of who we are as well.
I don’t want to judge Pompee but only the most dense won't see that he is desperate to win.
There was still something in me that hoped that La Vina will show to voters his thoughts on peace and order, the local economy and such but he wasted the time of every Cagayan de Oro City voter by continually attacking Moreno. What a waste and sorry excuse of a candidate.
Having lived in the US in 10 years and being blessed with the opportunity to travel the world, I saw the progress achieved by other countries and I hope that Moreno can replicate this even in a smaller scale with his vision of a metropolitan Cagayan de Oro.
Moreno didn't need to mention the 25 new daycare centers, 601 new classrooms, 26 new school buildings, 174.7 kilometers of road concreting and of course the new JR Borja General Hospital and landfill to prove his track record.
The accolades and awards given to the city are proof positive of what his administration and his allies in the 18th City Council had achieved for and on behalf of the people of Cagayan de Oro City.
That and the progress made should give Moreno, the man from Balingasag who grew up and studied in Cagayan de Oro, the right and privilege to sing “What A Wonderful World” for the city he had served in the past six years.
Without any doubt in my mind, I would join the vast majority who will vote for Mayor Oscar Moreno on May 13, 2019.