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Grupo Progreso condemns derogatory campaign jingle

It is ironic that former 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez, who is running for Bacolod mayor against the incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia, has commissioned folk singer Freddie Aguilar to compose and interpret a campaign jingle that obviously pictures the city as the seat of crimes and corruption, the Grupo Progreso said in a statement issued by its spokesperson Dr. Chris Sorongon.

The close to 4-minute score entitled “Wakasan Ang Krimen”, made the rounds on social media platforms the past few days, leaving local police authorities at a loss because Bacolod City has one of the lowest crime indices in Western Visayas.

In other words, the jingle does not only leave a bad taste on the mouth but may be considered as “fake news”. Created by Aguilar, a has-been who is a non-Bacolod resident, the song is not only a derogatory piece of trash but also a clear black propaganda tool that insults Grupo Progreso as well as the entire decent citizenry of Bacolod, the statement added.

Considering the facts and related data issued by the Philippine National Police in reaction to Aguilar’s obra, the lyrics of the song are a smack on the face of law enforcement agencies which has worked tirelessly to keep the peace.

Records released by the PNP in Region 6 and the Bacolod City Police Office belied the song’s claims.  Bacolod’s crime volume is only 234 for the period covering January to February 2022.

The current record is the sixth lowest among two highly urbanized cities and six provinces in Region 6.

Iloilo Province’s crime volume during the same period, explains Lt. Col. Lester Leada, who is BCPO chief of operations, is the highest at 849, followed by Negros Occidental at 688; Iloilo City, also an HUC like Bacolod, has 687; Capiz, 355; Aklan, 249; Bacolod, 234; Antique, 165, and Guimaras, the smallest province, had 59.

Leada further said that given the data, Bacolod as an HUC, is generally peaceful compared to other LGUs that belong to the same category, adding that out of 234, only 38 are classified as index crimes, most of which were isolated cases. The bulk at 196 are non-index crimes or violations resulting from traffic-related incidents or, cases or apprehensions made during the PNP-led drug raids or campaigns versus illegal gambling.

Netizens who listened to Aguilar’s “Wakasan Ang Krimen” opined that the content of the jingle is a hard sell, an act of desperation as it portrays Benitez, who paid him to do the campaign jingle, as the bringer of solutions to purported crimes that they are imagining to be happening in our city.

It clearly speaks of arrogance and ignorance as he wants to be mayor yet he insults and misleads the city and its people by portraying Bacolod as a haven for criminals, consequently destroying our good image through a song that extols the former congressman from Victorias City as a Messiah. Pathetic, to say the least. It was meant to scare visitors and would-be investors. Unfortunately, it was initiated by someone who is vying to be Bacolod’s next leader, the statement said.

The people of Bacolod condemn this act of desperation. Enough of your under-handed and mudslinging campaign tactics, former congressman.

Intsakto na nga pag insulto sa pumuluyo sang Bacolod kag sa syudad sang Bacolod. We issue this appeal: Let your campaign be anchored on issues, not innuendoes, lies, empty promises and malicious imputations.

Allow us to again refresh your memory, too, that Bacolod would not have garnered numerous awards if crimes and corruption, as implied in your campaign jingle, do thrive in our city. The DILG has set very high standards before awarding the Seal of Good Local Governance to any LGU.

Bacolod would not have been awarded twice the “Most Business-Friendly Highly-Urbanized City” in the Philippines by the PCCI, the biggest and most prestigious business organization in the country, if it were not compliant with the criteria set forth by the award-giving body.

We would not have been declared the “Most Livable City”, the “Most Competitive City”, the “Best Performing LGU” both in the Visayas area and Western Visayas region, if the affairs of the city had not been managed exemplarily.

The list of the city’s awards for close to two decades goes on and on and the current administration of Leonardia does not rest on its laurels. It continues to strive to give the best to its constituents.

And by the way, to his own credit and hard work, Leonardia was declared “Asia’s Most Outstanding Public Servant and Advocate for Peace and Good Governance of the Year” during the 5th Asia-Pacific Luminare Awards last March 23.

Let the truth be known.

Bacolod City is no haven for criminals, the statement concluded.*

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February 2023

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