Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cuevas denies eyeing Congress in 2016

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–Neophyte Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas on Friday denied reports she is eyeing Congress in 2016 which could put her in a possible collision course with her ally, outgoing Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali.

          Speaking to reporters at city hall here, Cuevas dismissed as baseless and absurd reports she will seek the third district congressional seat when she is just on her first term as mayor of this provincial capital.

          “Honestly, I have been preoccupied with solving and fixing the many problems left behind by the previous administration in Palayan. I think with the myriad problems I have to attend to, even one term, two terms or even a third term would not be enough to set the house in order,” said Cuevas who defeated former Light Rail Transit administrator Pacifico Fajardo – a former three-term congressman and three-term mayor – in the May 2013 elections.

          Cuevas stressed that her mission in running for mayor was to help alleviate poverty in the city by providing jobs and empowering the people, settle land and housing problems and make the city an emerging urban center in the future.     

          “It bears emphasizing that my main goal is to make Palayan City one of the most efficient local government units so aiming for another position would be veering away from that vision,” she said.

          She said that to be honest, she is not even sure if she would seek a second term. “That is, if my children would allow me to,” she said.

          Speculations over Cuevas’ supposed congressional bid have been spreading like wildfire in this city and in the third congressional district which also covers Cabanatuan City and the municipalities of Bongabon, Gen. Natividad, Laur, Gabaldon and Sta. Rosa, the hometown of Umali and his wife, outgoing three-term Rep. Czarina.

          With Czarina eyeing the governorship in 2016, there are reports that the governor is either running for vice governor to be his running mate or return to reclaim his wife’s post, which he held in 2001 and 2004.

          Cuevas said the issue about her supposed congressional bid is clearly a black propaganda campaign that could be intended to drive a wedge between her and the governor and his camp. She said this would not detract her from doing her job as local chief executive in keeping with the overwhelming mandate given her by the electorate in last year’s polls.  

          Cuevas said that she was happy to announce that barely eight months into her term, the city government was able to save around P80 million in funds through fiscal prudence by undertaking road-concreting projects by administration instead of by contracts.

          She said barangay roads have been paved through the bayanihan program where people in the barangays provide the labor force, a participatory program of governance first popularized by the Umali administration.

          She said that by the end of this year, she is hopeful that the city government would be able to pay loans incurred in the past to Pag-Ibig.

          “So as one can see, there is a lot of work to do here in Palayan that even my successor, supposing I have served out three terms of nine years in all, will have to deal with,” she said. 

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