Rosal beats Bichara as Albay governor

By Cet Dematera


A multi-awarded and undefeated mayor in Bicol has emerged victorious against an equally undefeated politician and former Philippine ambassador in the recently concluded gubernatorial race in Albay province.


The Albay Provincial Board of Canvassers had proclaimed on Tuesday(May 10) evening Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal as the elected Albay governor after he defeated incumbent Gov. Al Francis Bichara with a wide margin of over 230,000 votes.


Based on the official canvass, Rosal garnered 469,481 votes while Bichara sliced 238,746 of the total votes cast in Albay’s 15 towns and three cities.


His wife, Geraldine, also won as mayor of Legazpi City. She and her running mate, Vice Mayor Bobby Cristobal were already proclaimed by the city’s Board of Canvassers on Tuesday, May 10.


Observers believed that Rosal’s prestigious awards and notable accomplishments in Legazpi City tossed him to the gubernatorial post.


Rosal was a former chairman of the Bicol Regional Peace and Order Council and the current chair of the Regional Development Council (RDC).


As Legazpi City mayor for 18 years, Rosal received local, national and international awards and recognition from known award-giving bodies, including those from the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for good governance.


Other awards received by Legazpi City during Rosal’s incumbency were: Most Business Friendly award; Gawad Kalasag Award; Seal of Good House Keeping; Rice Achiever; Sandugo National Award; Seal of Good Governance Hall of Famer; Most Livable City; and, PAGASA Wind Vane Award.


For several decades, Bichara served as mayor, representative, and, governor of Albay. He once served as ambassador to Lebanon during the Arroyo administration.


Rosal said that his landslide victory is a luminous symbol that the recently conducted gubernatorial race was the call of the people of Albay who long clamor for change in governance.


“We have plenty of things to do in Albay. We need to do more important developmental programs and projects for the benefit of our constituents. We will strengthen the health care services to the people, particularly those residing in the island villages and other far-flung areas in our province. We will also improve the social services in order for our constituents to feel that they are also part of the government,” he said.


He explained that he will also focus on barangay development programs to give the people an opportunity to improve their livelihood activities in order to uplift their daily living conditions, adding that he will support the programs of different sectors of society that could help improve the progress and development of the entire province.


Rosal expressed his gratitude to the Albayanos for their overwhelming support of his gubernatorial bid.


He is the first governor to be elected from Albay’s Second District in the last thirty years.