“Pound for pound and character for character, we have a better team than we used to have. It made us even stronger, more cohesive,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said following the entry of businessman Dan Atayde to Grupo Progreso.
“If there is no enemy from the inside, we can beat any team from the outside,” the mayor added.
Atayde, who is vying as congressman of Bacolod’s lone district, took his oath before Leonardia shortly following the mayor’s first face-off against former Rep. Albee Benitez of Victorias City in the Debate Serye 2022 organized by station DYHB of Radio Mindanao Network at Ikthus’ Osbron Hall, Bacolod City.
Atayde’s entry into the GP came three months after he was first introduced by the mayor as the group’s adoptive candidate during the lighting ceremony of the Bacolod Public Plaza in December last year.
Leonardia described the ceremony as a “special night for the GP,” saying that the swearing in rite was the first since 2007 that the group had a formal induction of a new member.
“Certain things will happen if it’s meant to be,” Leonardia said.
The parting with incumbent Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya and other former members, he explained, was also a “blessing in disguise” and a “cleansing process” that made GP stronger.
As he was given the officialred-and-green GP uniform, Atayde thanked the members for welcoming him into their family.
“This is my new team, my family. This is the beginning of our fight to make Bacolod progress even more,” he said.
“What we have now is a much better team with trustworthy set of candidates. We now have the momentum,” Leonardia added.
Councilor Archie Baribar, who was among the early incumbent GP members of Grupo Progreso to “raise the hand” of Atayde last year, lauded the aspirant for stepping up to the challenge.
He also promised to support his candidacy. “I will not only continue to raise his hand, I will continue to work for his victory,” Baribar said.*