By PAT SAMONTE
BUTUAN CITY – Ending weeks of speculation, Agusan del Norte First District Representative Lawrence Lemuel Hernandez Fortun and construction mogul Engr. Ronnie Vicente Conde Lagnada have announced on Tuesday their team-up in next year’s elections before wildly-cheering 3,000 chairpersons, council members and supporters from all of this city’s 86 barangays at Big Daddy’s Convention Center here.
Under the Bando Lawig banner, Fortun will run for reelection while Lagnada will challenge incumbent Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. for this city’s top post. Amante earlier announced he would seek reelection.
Fortun and Lagnada’s team-up has unified local political forces led by former Congressman Jose Aquino II and former Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II now headed by City Councilor Derrick Plaza. Aquino will be Lagnada’s vice-mayoral bet while Plaza will run for reelection.
In his speech, Fortun lamented what he called “sinister initiative” against him by some local officials in the Liberal Party national leadership and “baseless criticisms” hurled by paid radio commentators.
The young solon noted that since the passage of the Butuan City Watershed Code during his term as this city’s vice-mayor, no strong effort has been taken by the local administration for the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the Taguibo Watershed, which is the primary source of water of Butuan’s 200,000 consumers.
It was gathered that Fortun has alloted infrastructure projects to Butuan City some P1 billion and P2.28 billion in 2014 and 2015, respectively, aside from classroom buildings and scholarships to students.
In his State of the City Address on last August 20, Amante acknowledged and thanked Fortun for the projects the solon brought to the city.
Lagnada said his entry into politics and government service maybe a sacrifice on his part as he would leave one of the biggest construction company in the country.
“Now is the time to introduce reforms and focus more on economics and policy-setting to generate industries and provide jobs for the people,”Lagnada revealed.
The businessman said, “I think I can do it” and called on Butuanons for support to enable him to put into action his plans to which a huge banner with “RCL” marking was unfurled by supporters in the audience amid long loud cheers of R…C…L (for Ronnie Vicente Conde Lagnada) repeated several times.
Joining Plaza in the Fortun-Lagnada camp are incumbent Sangguniang Panlungsod members Rema Burdeos and Ferdinand Nalcot. The other aspirants for city council slots include Atty. John Gil Unay, Atty. Glenn Carampatana, businessman Omar Andaya, Barangay Libertad Chairman Vincent Rosario and Norbert Nortega.
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