By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
While Love Negros and the United Negros Alliance (UNegA) may be running on a unity ticket in 2019, with incumbent Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, a Love Negros member, seeking the governorship with 2016 vice gubernatorial candidate and former Negros Occidental fifth district Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer of the United Negros Alliance (UNegA) as his running mate, there are still clashes expected between the two political coalitions down ticket.
Lacson and Love Negros chief, Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, said they are trying to work out unity tickets down to the local level but acknowledged a “libre zona” could be declared for areas where both groups will be fielding candidates.
UNegA secretary-general, Provincial Board Member Salvador Escalante, Jr., echoed the sentiment on his side, saying they are “working on it cautiously,” but noted, “There are several areas where a political confrontation will not be avoided.”
Among the areas where clashes are being speculated include Himamaylan City and Silay City.
Himamaylan City Vice Mayor Carminia Bascon of Love Negros is expected to run for mayor, a position she has held previously, with a prospective challenge from Raymond Tongson of UNegA. Meanwhile, incumbent Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, a Love Negros member, is set to face former Silay City Mayor Jose ‘Oti’ Montelibano of UNegA.
Meanwhile, in the race for Negros Occidental fifth district congressman, cousins Provincial Board Member Alain Gatuslao and Himamaylan City Mayor Ernesto Agustin Bascon are both expected to run for the post. The former is a member of UNegA and the latter is from Love Negros./DGB, WDJ