May 23, 2024

Three neophyte Benguet officials – Johannes Amuasen, Marierose Fongwan-Kepes, and Joel Tingbaoen, Jr. –  all children of former politicians were sworn in as members of the provincial board on June 29.

Amuasen, who garnered the most votes for district 1, is the son of the late Ampucao, Itogon punong barangay Eddie Amuasen.

Kepes, who led the votes for district two, is the daughter of the late Rep. Nestor Fongwan, Sr. and sister of former La Trinidad councilor and ex-officio board member Nestor Fongwan Jr.

Tingbaoen Jr. is the son of former vice governor Florence Tingbaoen and the late legendary Benguet musician Joel.

Kepes and Tingbaoen were successful in their first bid while this is Amuasen’s third attempt for a seat in the provincial board.

Other returning officials are Sander Fianza, Florencio Bentrez, and Coy Nazarro for the first district and Fernando Balaodan, Roberto Canuto, Ruben Paoad, and Neptali Camsol for district two. 

The provincial officials took their oath along with reelected Gov. Melchor Diclas and newly-installed Vice Gov. Ericson Felipe.

Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, who was earlier set to join, was not in attendance due to a personal emergency. 

Administering officials during the event were Benguet Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Marietta Brawner Cualing, Deputy Provincial Prosecutor Benedict Pataras, and Diclas.

Also set to join the provincial board are ex-officio members: Philippine Councilors League- Benguet Federation President Cruso Daguioa Jr. and Liga ng mga Barangay (LnB) President Crispin Mariano Jr. who were both inducted by the governor on June 30.

Daguioa, who will take the place of Fongwan Jr., is a councilor in Tublay while Mariano is the punong barangay of Poblacion, Sablan and will take the place of former LnB president Melchor Guessey. – Ofelia C. Empian