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Defensor launches bid for QC mayor with Castelo as running mate

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Thursday filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor of Quezon City in the 2022 elections.

MAYORAL BETS. Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor and Councilor Winnie Castelo show their certificates of candidacy for mayor and vice mayor of Quezon City on Thursday. (Inset) In Malabon, former two-term Vice Mayor Jeannie Sandoval is also gunning for mayor, while husband Ricky Sandoval is also bidding for the city’s Congress seat. Manny Palmero and Andrew Rabulan
Defensor filed his COC with his vice-mayoralty running mate, incumbent Councilor and former Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo, at around 8 a.m.

“We feel extremely honored and humbled that the people of Quezon City are showing us so much support,” Defensor, a nephew of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, said in a statement.

“We are very excited by the opportunity to serve and help improve the quality of life of our people,” he said, as he seeks to unseat incumbent Mayor Joy Belmonte.

Defensor vowed to transform the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH), a referral facility for COVID-19 cases, into “a true center of excellence in delivering the best and most efficient healthcare services.”

“We envision the QCGH becoming a model in best practices for all local government hospitals. We will also double to 500 the hospital’s bed capacity,” he said.

Defensor said he intends to grant new local tax incentives to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis so that they can start hiring workers again.

“We will also build up Quezon City’s life-saving emergency rescue capabilities, considering that the city has the highest number of road crashes in Metro Manila,” he said.

“Quezon City had a total of 22,494 road crashes in 2020. In contrast, Manila had only 6,655 cases, while Makati City had only 4,508 incidents,” Defensor said, citing statistics from the Metro Manila Accident Reporting System.

The lawmaker likewise pledged to put up a new public drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center in Quezon City with two dormitories—one for female patients and the other for males.

“We are also absolutely determined to create new and better pathways for students and out-of-school youth who want to pursue careers in athletics,” Defensor said.

“We aim to establish a new Quezon City Sports Academy and to embark on new community-based sports programs to fully develop our children,” he said.

Defensor also said he plans to make Quezon City “the most bicycle-friendly city” in Metro Manila, and to put up more open spaces where people can freely recreate, jog, and walk their dogs.

Also present during Defensor’s COC filing were his supporters – incumbent and reelectionist Quezon City Reps. Anthony Peter Crisologo (first district), Precious Hipolito Castelo (second district), and Allan Reyes (third district).

They were joined by Councilor Marvin Rillo, fourth district congressional candidate, and former Rep. Vincent Crisologo, sixth district congressional candidate.

Defensor, Castello and all six congressional bets have grouped themselves under the Malayang Quezon City banner.

The group’s fifth district congressional aspirant, Rose Lin, was unable to attend Defensor’s COC filing after she went into quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.

Defensor previously represented Quezon City’s third district in Congress for two terms, and later held various Cabinet positions during the Arroyo administration.

Topics: Mike Defensor , Quezon City , Election , Joy Belmonte , Winnie Castelo
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