Who will be Baguio’s next mayor?

So far, as of press time, there were only two who filed their certificates of candidacy for mayor of Baguio City—the incumbent mayor Benjie Magalong and former Mayor and Congressman Mauricio Domogan.
What’s going for Domogan is certainly his long stints as congressman and mayor of Baguio City– for a total of more than 20 years. Those enabled him to develop deep political roots. But that can also be a disadvantage. The opposing camp could say, for that length of time, was he able to implement change others could not have done? They could also say, he could have done a lot more.
As to incumbent Mayor Benjie Magalong, he certainly had done a lot more in the field of infrastructure that others failed to do. The demolition of structures that encroached on roads-right-of -way will surely be trumpeted by his supporters as a substantial achievement and a big and glaring failure of past city administrations.
Another point that Magalong supporters will be shouting about is the no-nonsense implementation of lockdowns or strict travel restrictions whenever there was a surge of covid-19 cases such as the present rampage of the Delta variant.
They will point out that without Magalong’s kind of leadership, Baguio could have become a no man’s land with corpses of covid-19 victims scattered all over.
But that can be interpreted as a source of political weakness on his part. A lot of his potential voters might have been alienated already due to the strict policies on movement to contain the spread of the covid-19 disease. A lot of these people went hungry, or are still going hungry, as their sources of income dried up or even prohibited or strangled and are dead or almost dead such as drivers of public utility vehicles, and owners of small and micro businesses.
Travel restrictions without dole outs for people to survive on, might be the strongest threat to Magalong’s reelection effort.
These might be where the strength of Domogan will come in. He is more accessible and appears to the great majority as having a softer heart.
A winner, whichever way the coming local election would go, would be SM City Baguio. Both mayoralty candidates approve of the development of the city market in accordance with SM’s plans. It would not be surprising if equal support would flow to both political camps.
In a quandary, however, are the Vergaras. For a long time they were the political allies of Domogan, but they were also some of the biggest supporters of Magalong last election.
But everybody love’s a winner. The one with a bigger chance of winning would be loved more. **

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