May 27, 2013 · Posted in: General

Romualdo clan
still reigns in Camiguin

THERE WILL BE no “yellow ribbons” tied to the tress in the island province of Camiguin after this year’s midterm elections.

Unlike most of the provinces across the country where Team P-Noy’s Liberal Party (LP) dominated the 2013 Midterm Elections last May 13, here, whatever political party the Romualdos choose wins. For more than two decades now, the island province of Camiguin has been run by the island’s most prominent political family. And going by the results of all the elections, whichever color the family adapts, the people follow.

Delivering an 8-4 tally in the senatorial race, the orangy United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party commanded a landslide victory from district congressional representation down to municipal councilors.

Since 1987, when the Romualdo patriarch, the late Pedro P. Romualdo, was elected as the lone district’s congressman, the family never vacated the congressional seat. Pedro’s son, Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo eventually became the province’s governor. The dynasty has also extended to the municipal level with Maria Luisa De La Fuente Romualdo, the governor’s wife, ruling the island’s capital town of Mambajao as its mayor since 2007.

Last April 24, 2013, the Romualdo patriarch passed away in the middle of the campaign season. It was supposed to be his last term in Congress. However, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allows a replacement candidate bearing the same surname. The patriarch’s grandson, lawyer Xavier Jesus M. Romualdo took the challenge of filling up his grandfather’s seat. The younger Romualdo ranked 4th in the recent 2012 Bar Examination. After last Monday’s midterm elections, the younger Romualdo is now one of the youngest solons in Congress.

For 26 years, the Romualdos reigned over the 5th class province of Camiguin – widely known as a tourist destination, with five municipalities, seven volcanoes and two islets. According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), 5th class provinces have an average annual income of PHp 90M or less, but not more than PHp 180M.

A quick look at the PCIJ’s MoneyPolitics online database shows an interesting picture of a province steeped in natural beauty but mired in poverty. It also shows the continued influence of one clan as the dominant political machinery in the province.

In his last term at the lower house, the Romualdo patriarch had been receiving priority development assistance funds (PDAF), also known as the pork barrel, of Php 35M every year.

In the 2010 presidential elections, Camiguin ranked 5th among the country’s provinces with the highest percentage of voter turnout. Among its registered voters, 84.6% exercised their right to suffrage. However, for the 2013 midterm polls, the island is the country’s second vote-poor province with only 58,021 registered voters.

Statistics show that the reign of the Romualdos has been a fight of bringing down numbers—a battle against the increasing number of poor families in the province.

In 2000, NSCB data revealed that Camiguin was the 9th poorest province in the country with a poverty incidence of 53.1 per cent. This means that in that year, more than half of the island’s families were living below the poverty line. The province only got out of the top ten list of poorest in the year 2003. In 2009, NSCB data showed that the poverty incidence of the province dropped to 44.6 per cent, with more than half of the province’s families already above the poverty line.

NSCB data shows that the province’s poverty figures have undergone an unsteady roller coaster ride. In 2006, the province’s poverty incidence among families was 27.4 per cent. In 2009, it dropped to 17.2 per cent. However, in 2012, the incidence doubled, reaching up to 34.9 per cent.

Year after year, more and more families slide under the poverty line as the province’s annual per capita poverty threshold continuously increased. The same NSCB data also showed the increasing cost of living in the island: P5,878 in 2006; P7,834 in 2009; and P9,290 in 2012. If a family’s income is below these figures, the household falls under the poverty line. The number of poor families in Camiguin has been increasing. NSCB data shows that the number of poor families was pegged at 5,445 in 2003, increasing by 921 families in 2006, and rising to 8,793 in 2009.

Interestingly, the poverty statistics don’t seem to fall into place with the Good Governance Index (GGI) measure by which the national government assesses the performance of local governments.

According to NSCB data, Camiguin ranked 13th in 2005 and placed 3rd in 2008 among 79 provinces in the country when it comes to Crime Solution Efficiency Rate. In the same year, the province’s GGI reached 182.9 and ranked 1st in the country.

The Good Governance Index (GGI) measures several elements that are perceived to be indicators of good governance: (1) Sustainable management of resources through generation of adequate financial resources and responsiveness to alleviation of poverty; (2) Rule of law through improvement of internal and external security, law enforcement and administration of justice; (3) Efficiency of the delivery of services on health, education, and power supply; and, (4) People’s empowerment and participation.

In other words, while poverty statistics seem to show that the people in the province are getting poorer, the GGI says that they have been well-governed. Perhaps this alone begs the question: can a people be poor and well-governed?

4 Responses to Romualdo clan
still reigns in Camiguin



June 2nd, 2013 at 11:42 am

camiguin’s romualdo’s still reigning congratulations!!!



March 8th, 2014 at 6:50 am

Poor people are easily controlled. Data regarding good governance are manufactured by govt itself. Camiguinians peace loving people.


Israel Piñeiro Jr

March 9th, 2014 at 11:50 am

I’m so sorry to hear that Rep. Pedro Romualdo passed away. I knew him, and he was a good man.



March 10th, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I will speak for the college graduates of CPSC from mainland Mindanao, Bohol and Camiguin. Now, why would a poor individual bother to study in an island? Because it is FREE. I want to thank the late Hon. Pedro P. Romualdo for his efforts of giving us a bright future. Now, most of my classmates are overseas filipino workers and of course the remittance will give back what they owe to the government. So please take it as a consideration on what they have tried to help than making this partial datas.

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