CAIBIRAN, Biliran- This small and remote town could be setting an election record of sort.
For the first time on its political history, three women are running for the post of mayor, squaring off with a lone man candidate.
The women mayoralty candidates are the incumbent vice mayor, Rhodessa Delante; Yolanda Maderazo, the sister of outgoing mayor Eulalio Maderazo, who is her running-mate; and Judith Go, sister of former vice mayor Naricres Go.
The lone man candidate in the crowded mayoralty race is Eddie Visbal, a retired fire officer.
Wilson Ginagate, assistant elections officer of the town, said that this is the first time that more women are gunning for the top post of Caibiran, a fifth class town (annual income: P102 million) with a voting population of 16,625 registered voters.
“This year’s race is very interesting, if not (historical) as there are three women running for mayor and only one man,” Ginagate said.
Based on their record, there are 8,206 women in the town who are registered voters, lower by 213 with that of their male counterparts.
According to him, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been encouraging more women to run for elective positions as they are also advocating GAD (gender and development) for women equality.
In Eastern Visayas, there are 836 women candidates who are seeking for elective posts up for grabs in the forthcoming May 13 elections.
The number, however, is comparatively small compare to the 2,555 men candidates in the region who are also running for posts for governor, congressman, board members, mayor, vice mayor and councilors.
For Vice Mayor Delante, she is glad that there are more women who are running for the mayor of their town.
She said that the women are now more aware that they could do what men could do, running the affair of a local government.
Delanate,34 and a mother to two young girls, said that she believes that she could get women’s votes, an observation shared by Maderazo.
And obviously, the women candidates are banking on the votes of women, saying they have programs intended for them like livelihood so they would not depend so much on their husbands, in particular.
“They knew that if a woman would lead them, they could be assured that they will be in good hands. They are more comfortable to have a woman leader, I guess,” Maderazo, a retired planning officer of the provincial government of Biliran, said.
Maderazo,60, is confident that it will be a woman who will emerge as the winner in the mayoralty race.
“I’m sure of that. (He) is a weak candidate,” she said, referring to Visbal.
For Vice Mayor Delante, she is also counting her young age to get the votes of young women of their town.
“I really hope to get their votes as I knew that they want to see a young leader like me who will lead our town to progress,” she said.
It was learned that the town has only produced two women mayors: Erlinda Reyes, who served during the remaining years of the Marcos dictatorship, and Floresca Delante, who served from 2007 to 2010.
Incidentally, both women are relatives to Vice Mayor Delante, a former beauty queen. Reyes is an aunt while Floresca is her mother.
For Janet Go, a registered voter, said that she does not really consider the gender of the candidate when she vote.
“It’s more on their programs and what they intend to do to help the people of the town,” the 30-year old woman said, declining to say who will receive her precious vote among the three women mayoralty candidate.
The other candidates, Go and Visbal, were not available for their comments. (JOEY A. GABIETA)