BY ROGER M. BALANZA
ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL Mayor Aniano Antalan and his brother former mayor Roger Antalan has formed a political group in what is seen as a challenge to the leadership of the Floirendos in the Davao del Norte tourist island.
Mayor Antalan, who is on his way out as a last termer mayor, sees the political group Uswag IGACOS (U & I) as a “a strong force to reckon with.”
The group was formed after the mayor broke political ties with District 2 Representative Anton Lagdameo, a scion of the politically-entrenched Floirendo clan of the late banana magnate Antonio Floirendo Sr. The political career of the Antalans was practically nurtured by the Floirendos starting with the mayor’s older brother Roger becoming the first mayor of the Davao del Norte tourist island.
Mayor Antalan is rumored to run for vice mayor as running mate of Roger, who will stage a comeback in 2016. The Antalans formed U & I following reports the Floirendos is grooming another candidate for mayor in the 2016 elections.
U & I Party press relation officer Ernesto Quidlat said that the group with the mayor elected as the executive committee chairman and Roger as secretary general would push for greater and consolidated unity among the people and further development of the island.
The group has already received 700 committed member-leaders and already established party chapters in 46 barangays. It has held a first political assembly on July 23.
“Definitely U & I Party is a force to reckon with in the coming 2016 polls considering that the Antalans are already a political institution,” Quidlat said.
The U & I Party is yet to be registered as a local political party with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila, according to Quidlat.
This early, however, political observers concede that the Antalans would end up as political garbage if they push through with their plans to clash head-on the Floirendos in the 2016 elections.