Is the Albay quarrying activities the cause of Al Francis Bichara’s non-reelection?
“Incumbency advantage” is seen as one of the plus factors why sitting officials seeking reelection hardly lose the ballots. Hence, political pundits predict a sweet Al Francis Bichara win in the 2022 Albay gubernatorial elections. Bichara had completed three terms as governor, became an ambassador then a Congressman, and is now on the second term as governor again after winning the 2016 and 2019 elections. But as he is sought the third mandate for this set, he lost big time to Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal by a margin of 229,735 votes.
Did the Albayanos temper him for the quarrying activities? Or was it the province’s COVID-19 response? Or both?
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The Municipality of Guinobatan, in Albay, is one of those that suffered heavily from Typhoon Rolly. Its losses include five persons dead and two more missing, and millions of pesos worth of destroyed houses, public infrastructure and agriculture. The cause: The quarrying at the foot of Mt. Mayon that flooded the barangays close to the volcano with sand, boulders and volcanic debris. Allegedly, the quarried materials were left in the riverbeds that when Typhoon Rolly arrived, the water pushed the materials along with boulders and rocks down to the residential and agricultural areas.
Investigation on this claim is still on-going and quarrying activities have been suspended already. Even then, the question lingers: Just how lucrative is the quarrying of sand and gravel along Mt. Mayon that even Albay’s provincial governor is allegedly engaged in it?
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