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Umali dares Vergara to public debate on HUC Issues

November 7, 2012

Gov. Umali

Cabanatuan City – Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali has challenged anew his estranged former political ally, Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara to a one-on-one public debate on the issues surrounding the city government’s move to convert the city into a Highly Urbanized City.

Speaking in a rare public appearance over TV 48 at the Capitol Compound here Friday. Umali said he and Vergara owe it to the people of Nueva Ecija and Cabanatuan to explain the pros and cons of the HUC through a public debate instead of resorting to mudslinging and character assassination which deviates from the real issues about the conversion.

“I am challenging Mayor Vergara to a debate. Let us explain to the people why we are taking a separate stand on the HUC and why I am against HUC. Let us not hide from the public, and let us not resort to mud-throwing to deliver our message across,” he said

Umali issued the challenge even as the Commission on Elections has set for December 1 the plebiscite to ratify Presidential Proclamation 418 issued last July 4 by President Aquino converting Cabanatuan from a component city into HUC.

The Comelec earlier denied the petition of Umali to allow all registered voters of Nueva Ecija – and not just those in Cabanatuan – to vote in the plebiscite. Umali filed a verified motion for reconsideration but this was also denied by the poll body.

It was not the first time Umali called on Vergara to a debate on the issue. A few months back, he hurled the challenge. But Vergara shot back; “Why challenge me? Is he crazy? Let him debate with the Constitution.”

Umali deplored that fa a long time, the camp of Vergara has been lambasting him in the course of  discussions over the HUC issue, mostly bordering gutter language. “For the longest time, I have keep my silence although they kept firing at me. Now, I am coming out in the open to challenge Mayor Vergara to a debate so we can have a free and intelligent exchange of ideas on the HUC. The people of Nueva Ecija deserve no less. After all, there are two sides to a coin, your version and my version,” he told Vergara.

“Instead of cursing me in the Barangays, you should face me in a debate. Let us talk in an intelligent debate because my parents never taught me how to curse people in public. Our conscience is on the line here.” he said.

He said he kept mum on the issue for a long time because as the father of Nueva Ecija, he had in “watch his language” for the sake of preserving peace in the once violence-torn province.

The governor stressed that the reason why he is opposing the conversion is that this would prevent the provincial government from further extending assistance to the residents of the city. “Isn’t it better if the provincial government of Nueva Ecija ang the city government of Cabanatuan would work hand-in-hand in solving the problems of Cabanatuan? As you all know,  two are better than one. You cannot do it alone,” he said.

Citing an example, Umali said Makati City, the richest local government unit in the country still needs the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority in solving the problems of traffic congestion and garbage disposal.

In the same manner, he said Central Luzon as a region cannot exist without the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Pampanga.

Data froma the provincial government showed that the province extended to the city some P192 million worth of assistance from 2007 to 2010 alone covering insfrastructure such as roads, bridges, classrooms, multi-purpose gymnasium, barangay hall, solar dryers and drainage (P102.7 million), scholarships (P30 million), financial assistance, mortuary assistance, medical assistance and supplemental feeding (P50 million); medical and dental missions, service caravans and health services (P6 million); livelihood programs (P3 million) and micro-financing (P3 million).

Umali said the city government cannot help the people of Cabanatuan solely on its own resources and will need to share in the burden.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stewie Fortalejo permalink
    November 28, 2012 10:00 am

    I’m so very proud to our governor. Despite of that false allegations unlawful acts of accusations, He is willing to show what is the truth behind this odious and vile lies being thrown over him and also to the government of nueva ecija, by those people who can’t stand on their pledge to be one province, one people. 🙂

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