Halalan 2013: Mapping the Battleground Provinces & Cities

de veraThe intense focus on the Team PNoy versus UNA race in the Senate has obscured the equally important proxy fight between the two coalitions to gain control of key vote rich provinces and cities that will serve as the backbone of the presidential campaign in 2016.

The top 10 provinces (Cebu, Cavite, Pangasinan, Negros Occidental, Laguna, Bulacan, Davao del Sur, Batangas, Rizal, Nueva Ecija) account for some 16 million voters, or nearly a third of the total number of registered voters in the country.

 The national balance of forces between the two coalitions appears to be disproportionately in favour of Team PNoy coalition with candidates in more areas in the country. But the term “coalition” gets more complicated as one goes into individual local governments. NPC and LP candidates are battling it out in at least twelve provinces while there are NP and LP gubernatorial candidates in five provinces. With some of the NPC heavy weights in the UNA, these provinces are converted into battle ground areas. 

The key vote-rich provinces and cities that bear watching are Cebu [Davide (LP) vs. Garcia (NUP)], Pangasinan [Braganza (Team PNoy) vs. Espino (NPC)], Laguna [Ejercito (UNA) vs. San Luis (Team PNoy)], and Nueva Ecija [Umali (LP) vs. Joson (NPC)].

Several provinces that are in the top 10 in voting population are free zones like Cavite [Remulla (NP) vs. Maliksi (LP)] or have powerful incumbents running unopposed - Bulacan (Alvarado, NUP), Batangas (Santos, LP), and Rizal (Ynares, NPC).

In these areas, the Team PNoy vs. UNA battle shifts to either the congressional race or to individual cities and municipalities. The governors in these provinces will be mixing and matching senatorial candidates from both coalitions on May 13 and their support will be up for grabs to both camps in 2016.

Among the cities, Cebu [Osmena (LP) vs Rama (UNA)], Manila [Estrada (UNA) vs. Lim (Team PNoy)], Caloocan [Malapitan (UNA) vs. Echeverri (LP)], Cagayan de Oro [Emano (UNA) vs. Moreno (LP)], and Paranaque [Bernabe (UNA) vs. Olivares (LP)] are the key battleground areas.

There are some are free zones like Pasay (Trinidad, NP; Calixto, LP; del Rosario, NPC) and so many cities , such as Quezon City (Bautista, LP), Davao (Duterte, HUGPONG), Pasig (Eusebio, NP), Marikina (de Guzman, LP), Malabon (Oreta, LP), Mandaluyong (Abalos, LAKAS) and Makati (Binay, UNA) that are not in play and expected to remain safely in the hands of incumbents.

Whoever wins these key vote-rich provinces and cities will have a powerful anchor for his/her 2016 presidential campaign. The decision of Binay to openly back a coalition opposite that of Aquino is a political gambit that can enhance his presidential ambition, if these key races go UNA’s way.

So how does it look at this point?

Cebu – May go to Davide (LP) given the shift of support of key political clans to the LP camp.

Pangasinan – Espino (NPC) remains strong and there is no indication of a late surge from Braganza (LP)

Laguna – Race has tightened with San Luis (LP) eating into Ejercito’s (UNA) lead.

Nueva Ecija – Umali (LP) remains strong.

Manila – Erap (UNA) is leading and can be tight depending on last minute activities of Lim (LP).

Cagayan de Oro – Trending towards Moreno (LP) with the switch in support from the Rodriguez camp.

Cebu City – Tight but favours Osmena.

For the full presentation on the political banners in the different provinces, cities and towns, please visit the Interactive Election Map section.

J. Prospero E. de Vera III
Author: J. Prospero E. de Vera III
Prof. J. Prospero E. De Vera III, DPA is the University of the Philippines System Vice President for Public Affairs.
Professor De Vera teaches Public Administration at the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in UP Diliman. He has spent at least three decades in the policy arena working in the legislative and executive branches of government in both the Philippines and the United States.