Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn
MANILA – Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn is serious in his bid for a Senate seat, even if he says "it's not easy to run as an independent."
Hagedorn’s candidacy in the 2013 mid-term elections came as a surprise to many, but the long-time Palawan mayor said he wants to share his learnings with the legislature.
“Tapos na ‘yung term ko as local servant, kaya gusto naman namin maibahagi ang aming experience sa local governance sa national level at ‘yun ang dahilan kung bakit nag-file ako ng candidacy for Senate,” he said at ANC’s “Harapan 2013” forum on Tuesday.
Hagedorn served as mayor of Puerto Princesa for 20 years, developing programs on environmental protection and anti-poverty, which he plans to continue if he is elected to the Senate.
The latest pre-election survey of private pollster Pulse Asia shows Hagedorn ranked 20 to 23, with only 9.3% support from a sample of 1,800 registered voters, 18 years old and above.
But Hagedorn said he is confident that he will make it to the “Magic 12,” citing support from local government units across the country.
“Napakahirap tumakbo ng independent pero sa ngayon, nakuha ko na ang commitment ng lahat ng local government units. Being the only local government official who is running for the Senate, alam ko na ang lahat ng local government units ay magbibigay ng suporta sa atin,” he said.
Hagedorn also attributed his poor survey ranking to the lack of awareness among voters of his candidacy.
“Konti ‘yung taong nakakaalam na ako’y kumakandidato. Pero once na nalaman nila na ako ay kandidato, full support ang binibigay nila,” he said.
He believes that his supporters can relate to his programs on environment and poverty, issues that Hagedorn said are correlated.
“Kaya isa sa gusto ko itaguyod kapag ako’y nasa Senado na ay magkaroon ng honest to goodness anti-poverty program. Napakayaman natin sa likas yaman ngunit sa latest survey ay 54% ng ating mamamayan ang sinasabing sila ay mahirap,” he said.
On Tuesday, Hagedorn held a motorcade around Manila with candidates of Miss Earth and Miss World.
“Sila ang ka-partner namin pagdating sa environmental consciousness,” he said.
Hagedorn has fielded his wife, Elena, to succeed him as Puerto Princesa mayor, but he said this does not signify that they are trying to build a dynasty.
In his 20 years of service, Hagedorn said he refused to allow a member of his family to seek office in the city.
But as his term ends, the mayor said he would like his wife to continue the programs he started.
Hagedorn shared that in 2001, he didn’t field any family member to run as mayor despite calls from his supporters to do so.
“Pinatakbo ko ‘yung vice mayor, kahit nagtatampo ‘yung mga liders at ating followers. Sabi nila, kung wala ng Hagedorn, paano kami, kami ang nakikipaglaban ng inyong advocacies. Hindi ko pinakinggan, pinatakbo ko ‘yung vice mayor. Nagalit ‘yung ka-partido at tumakbo against my will, ang nangyari nadurog ang partido namin, walang naiwan. Lahat kami natalo, and in less than 1 year, lahat ng pinaghirapan namin nasira,” he said.
He added that illegal settlers, illegal logging and illegal fishing became rampant when he left office.
“It was a sad lesson to be learned,” he said.
Hagedorn is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition, which has formed an alliance with the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
However, since the LP senatorial slate was already full, Hagedorn opted to run as an independent.