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Hontiveros hopes for more progressive voices in LGUs, as ex-Akbayan solon takes oath as Dinagat gov



"We hope for more progressive leaders who would bring a new kind of principled and efficient governance to our provinces and towns. If all politics is local, then progressive politics should be localized as well."

This was how Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed her optimism about the increased involvement of reform-oriented officials in local government units (LGUs) around the country, following the historic win of progressive lawmaker Kaka Bag-ao as Governor of the Dinagat Islands.

"Governor Bag-ao's inspiring win is hopefully only the start of a wave of progressive mayors, councilors, governors who will help positively transform public service and governance at the grassroots level," she said.

Hontiveros is taking part in today's inauguration of Bag-ao, a human rights lawyer and like the Senator, was a former Akbayan partylist representative at the House of Representatives. Dubbed the "Dragon-slayer," Bag-ao won the 2019 gubernatorial race in Dinagat Islands, and dethroned the Ecleo political dynasty, which had ruled over the province for nearly half a century since 1967. Bag-ao's latest win is her third against the Ecleos. She also won the 2013 and 2016 congressional races against the Ecleos.

"Her victory affirms our belief that we can still triumph over and dismantle systems of political patronage, political dynasties and corruption that thwart genuine democracy and good public service. There is still hope for our nation," she said.

Hontiveros said that she is confident that her partymate will prioritize the basic needs of the people of Dinagat Islands, and that Bag-ao will use her position to forward their common advocacies such as gender equality, social justice, land reform and the rights of farmers and fisherfolk.

According to Hontiveros, she has worked with Bag-ao to champion landmark laws such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform with Extension and Reforms (CARPER) Law, the Reproductive Health Law, the Safe Streets and Public Places Act, the Mental Health Act, and the Philippine HIV-AIDS Policy Act. The two also pushed for the passage of bills such as the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill, the National Land Use bill, and the other proposed laws for the welfare of farmers and fisherfolk.

"Having worked with Governor Bag-ao within and outside of Congress, I know that her constituents can count on her to push policies that will lead to a more prosperous and progressive Dinagat Islands. I know that like other progressive LGU leaders in the country, she will do everything to improve the daily lives of her people, especially the poor, women, the youth and other marginalized sectors," she said.

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