SORSOGON CITY --- On the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections, veteran journalist Juan E. Escandor, Jr. filed his candidacy as second congressional district representative along with his lawyers and supporters at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections, Thursday morning in this city.
Escandor said that he retired as Southern Luzon Correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Senior News Reporter for Bicol Mail on June 2018 to run as congressman of the 2nd district of Sorsogon.
Escandor, 59, has been a journalist for two decades writing for the Inquirer and other local newspapers. He also became a public affairs host for DZGE AM, a radio station based in Camarines Sur for a time and worked for different non-government organizations before entering media.
The veteran journalist will run as an independent candidate.
Anti-political dynasty campaign and tourism advocacy
Escandor said that his run is a “work of fate” as he initially planned to run for a lower position in the local government in his hometown Gubat. However, supporters from different towns in second district came to him and urged him to run as congressman in order to derail the attempt of the ruling Lee Rodrigueza family to put up a political dynasty in Sorsogon.
Robert “Bobet” Lee Rodrigueza, the incumbent and first-termer governor, son of Sorsogon City mayor Sally A. Lee and former Governor Raul R. Lee, whose political dominance in the province ran for decades, has transferred his registration to Bulan town in order to run as Congressman of the Second District of Sorsogon.
Meanwhile, outgoing three-term 2nd District Congressman Deogracias B. Ramos is set to field his younger sister, Bernarditas Ramos, a retired teacher, to replace him and establish a political dynastyty of his own, Escandor claimed.
In order to enhance the quality of life of Sorsoganons, voters should learn and take a step by not allowing a family dynasty’s dominance in the province’s political arena.
Known for its untouched beaches ideal for water sports such as surfing and eco-tourism adventures, the province is also rich in marine resources and biodiversity.
“Despite the richness of the province’s resources, Sorsogon was ranked 20 with highest poverty incidence among its population, according to the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2015”, he said.
“Given the said data, Matnog, a coastal town in the second district has been identified with the highest poverty incidence reaching 45.2 % in the province along with the towns of Juban with 37.3% poverty incidence and Sta. Magdalena with 35.5%”, he added.
To address these prevailing problems, he said that he plans to legislate a law that will establish and strengthen the existing and develop potential tourist destinations in the second district’s municipalities by creating a Tourism Development Administration of Sorsogon, if given the chance to be elected.
Bringing the government closer to the people
In order to reach the true sentiments of the people and bring the necessary services attached to a congressional office, Escandor also plans to establish four congressional offices in the second district.
“A congressman’s role is to legislate laws that would enhance the economic situation of his people and the only way to deliver the services they truly need is to hear these sentiments straight from them by way of having a formal office near them”, he said.
He also plans to legislate health and educational programs for the less fortunate residents of the district by providing scholarship grants ranging from tuition fees and book allowances funded by the Office of the Congressional Representative.
Given his vast experience in the media and non-government organizations, Escandor said that he is fully ready to take on the political field as he has clear vision and platforms to help his home province.
Escandor, a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Aquinas University of Legaspi, has been recognized in the field of journalism as Correspondent of the Year by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 1999, an awardee of Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon in 2008 for fiction titled “Taon kan mga Ayam”, and recipient of a Special Citation from the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2017 for his news feature titled, “A Harvest of Hope.”