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Shadow Exclusive: Interview with incoming Bukidnon 2nd District Congressman Florencio T. Flores, Jr.

“If there’s just one thing that I’m worried about, it’s the pressure that will come from the people of Bukidnon.”

Such was the statement from incoming Bukidnon Second District Congressman Florencio T. Flores, Jr.

In an exclusive interview with this writer from Mindanao, Flores, who finished three terms as Malaybalay City Mayor and who recently bagged the coveted Bukidnon 2nd District congressional seat, said that although he doesn’t feel pressured at all at the moment, he knows that it will be a “different, most likely interesting” road ahead.

“The people in the second district of Bukidnon will have expectations and as much as I want to strive hard to meet those expectations, we know that we can’t satisfy all the needs. That is why we need to prioritize,” he said.

Flores’ district includes the province’s two major cities – Malaybalay and Valencia.

The three-time Malaybalay City chief executive admits that while he served as vice mayor before and ergo may be familiar with the legislative side of politics, the goings-on in Congress are “very different.”

“I’m still trying to learn the ropes there,” he admitted.

He also said that he already visited the Batasang Pambansa a few days ago to have an initial feel of things. “I even told them (employees at Congress) that it didn’t matter even if my office will just be in a stock room so long as my staff and I can work,” he joked.

During the early part of the campaign, Flores was touted the “underdog.” His biggest opponent was Engr. Wenifredo Agripo, a former Bukidnon board member, vice governor and Valencia councilor.

In the end, however, Flores won by a large margin. His win was an answered prayer for his loyalists and a happy surprise not only for Flores’ friends and family but for him as well.

“That’s why I’m inspired with this new challenge to serve in another capacity,” he said.

The three-time Malaybalay City mayor said that if made to choose, he wants to join the congressional committees on health, education and agriculture.

“These three are primary concerns in Bukidnon,” Flores said.

When asked what his party is, Flores said that as of the moment, he remains a LAKAS Party member.

It can be recalled that former three-term Bukidnon Governor and now Bukidnon Vice Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr. shifted allegiance and endorsed Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manny Villar instead of LAKAS’ Gibo Teodoro. Zubiri and Flores are staunch political allies and the latter ran under Zubiri’s wing in the last two terms.

Flores stressed, however, that party affiliation will not be a primary factor if and when he decides on crucial issues such as the alleged plan of former President and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo to run for speakership.

Meanwhile, when asked if he will retain the staff members during his term as city mayor, Flores said that he has not finalized his plans yet.

“Although you may agree when I say that it’s important to have people that you can trust and rely on around you,” he stressed.

Flores said that he will set a congressional district office very soon.

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