Mayor Evelio Leonardia (right) was one of the select local officials invited to take their oath before President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang Tuesday [June 25]. Joining them in this photo is Malacañang protocol officer Jasmin Egan (center).
BACOLOD City – Mayor Evelio Leonardia confirmed that three top diplomats will grace the inauguration of city officials at the Bacolod City Government Center, 5:30 p.m. today, July 1, 2019.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Ambassadors Igor Khovaev of Russia, Dong-man Han of South Korea, and US Embassy Political Section-Internal Political Unit chief Joshua Morris all confirmed their attendance to the inauguration.
Khovaev visited Bacolod on May 3-5, 2019 after Leonardia invited him as guest of honor at the 1st Bacolod Chicken Inasal Festival on May 5.
Han was in Bacolod on Nov. 14, 2018 for a courtesy call to Leonardia. The mayor said he invited the Korean ambassador to his inauguration, as he wants to maintain the good relationship between Bacolod and South Korea.
For two years now, Bacolod’s MassKara dancers have been invited to perform in South Korea three times already: at the 2018 Andong Mask Dance Festival in Andong City on Sept. 28 to Oct. 7, where they bagged the bronze medal; at the 2019 Daegu Colorful Festival in Daegu City on May 4-5, where they were declared champion in the Best Foreign Group category, besting 21 other foreign contingents; and the 2019 Maduhee Festival of Ulsan City on June 7 to 9, the first time in the festival’s 320-year history that a foreign group was invited to perform there.
Morris had visited Bacolod twice – in October 2017 and October 2018 – for the MassKara Festival.
Meanwhile, the country’s three highest-ranking Senate officials will also grace the inauguration.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III will swear in re-elected Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia; Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri will swear in re-elected Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya; while Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon will swear in re-elected Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran.
The three top Bacolod officials all belong to Grupo Progreso.
Of the 12 winning councilors, 11 are also from Grupo Progreso: Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Simplicia Distrito, Carlos Jose Lopez, Al Victor Espino, Archie Baribar, Israel Salanga, Dindo Ramos, Bartolome Orola, Ana Marie Palermo, and Elmer Sy.
The 12th councilor is Wilson Gamboa Jr. from the rival AAB-MKK.
Also set to arrive for the inauguration is Rep. Michael Romero of 1-Pacman Party-list .
He will swear in the newly elected and re-elected councilors.
Romero, who has recently been elected as president of the 54-member Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. which has vowed to vote as one bloc in the election of the next House Speaker, is the richest lawmaker in the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, with a total net worth of P7.86 billion.
Romero is also the majority shareholder and vice chairman of budget airline AirAsia Philippines.