President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia on his re-election in the May elections, and said the city is in “safe hands” under his leadership.

“I’m happy that you were elected once again, that Bacolod City is in safe hands,” Duterte said in a video message shown during the inaugural ceremony at the Bacolod City Government Center recently.

“I wish that you will be there in the political arena, maybe a little bit longer to serve the people. That’s what it’s all about, service to the people— nothing more, nothing less,” the President added.

The President also congratulated Leonardia’s partymates, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and Rep. Greg Gasataya.

The three Grupo Progreso leaders were re-elected with overwhelming votes, and had big margins over their opponents.

Leonardia, now on his sixth term as mayor, is the longest-serving mayor of Bacolod. He garnered a record-breaking 144,776 votes in the latest elections, the highest votes ever for a local candidate in Bacolod.

He also had a lead of 63,528 votes— the biggest margin in Bacolod elections—over his closest opponent.

Leonardia said that for the first time ever, the people of Bacolod voted for an overwhelming majority. Grupo Progreso won 14 of the 15 seats, including 11 of the 12 slots for councilors.

“The people’s message is clear, that they would like to see their city officials working together, cooperating with each other, and living in peace and harmony,” the mayor said.

The Bacolod inaugural was a star-studded affair, graced by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, and Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon who administered the oath of office of the top officials.

1-Pacman Party-list and Party-List bloc leader Congressman Michael “Mikee” Romero inducted the councilors.

Russia Ambassador Igor Khovaev, South Korea Ambassdor Dong-man Han, and US Embassy Poltiical Section Chief Joshua Morris also graced the occasion.

Leonardia added: “The future will always be uncertain, the road that we will take towards the future will not assure us of everything that we want to happen. However, we will do our utmost best to see to it that Bacolod City becomes a better place to live in, and accelerate as one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines.”*

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