Otol Odi, a 77-year-old Pala’wan Tribal leader, has just claimed the mayoral seat of Rizal, Palawan. He won with a rather large margin, ending with nearly double the votes which his closest rival garnered. The municipal Commission on Elections (COMELEC) already proclaimed him mayor last May 14.
Photo from ABS-CBN
Odi conducted his campaign on a mostly grassroots-level, as he had no capital to spend for it. Instead, he relied on the support of his fellow tribal leaders and the reputation he had previously built as a barangay official. Ethnic groups like the Tau’t Bato and Pala’wan groups rallied behind him as well.
His platform of education and empowerment won the hearts of many voters. As a person who had never graduated from High School, Odi continued to push on education as a pillar in his campaign: “Ito lang ang aming paraan upang umunlad ang aming buhay, ang edukasyon. (This is the only way we could improve our lives, through education).”
He has also promised to fight for the protection and preservation of their lands, especially against corporations and investors. Along with this, he will strive to maintain peace and order and continue the fight against corruption.
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