Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) said yesterday that while an initial survey shows that he is within striking distance ofwinning should he run for the Senate in 2019, he still has not ruled out running for governor of Negros Occidental, or opting not to run at all.
Benitez, who met with Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. at the Capitol in Bacolod City yesterday, said they were finalizing plans for his proposed health, power and water summits for Negros Occidental, which the governor fully supports.
During his visit, the governor raised Benitez’s hand, saying he is supporting the congressman for whatever post he runs for in 2019.
Benitez said, so far, his showing in an initial Pulse Asia survey of potential senatorial candidates for 2019 was okay, he was told it was at the same level as during the time of senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva, “It’s within striking distance”.
One survey showed that he was in the high 20s and another in the high 30s, he said, adding that there is another survey coming out in March.
“It not just winnability we are looking at, one should have an advocacy and mission,” he said.
But Benitez also said there are mayors encouraging him to run for governor of Negros Occidental.
Benitez said he is meeting with Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson this weekend. The vice governor is also believed to be eyeing a run for the governorship in 2019.
“I don’t know what his agenda is but if he brings up 2019 we will talk about it. I think it’s about time we slowly start discussing the 2019 elections,” Benitez said.
Meanwhile, Benitez said his proposed health, power and water summits will be very good for the province.
The health summit will be held to strengthen the province’s universal health care system, especially the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program that has been a success in his district, he said.
“The water summit will tackle how we can best maximize our water resource and the power summit will be held to discuss how to reduce the cost of electricity and ensure its sustainability,” he said.
On March 27 there will be a pre-summit on health, with the actual summit set April 20 to be attended by representatives of national agencies, Benitez said.
They will also sit down with electric cooperatives to design a power summit in line with their intention to bring down power rates, he added.*CPG
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