New party to challenge NPC in Tarlac (Philippine Star)

ANGELES CITY, Philippines A new political party will challenge the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in Tarlac.

Paniqui town Councilor Ross Tayag yesterday said the group, led by “independent-minded” municipal councilors, met over the weekend to form what they called Tarlaqueaong Malaya (TAMA).

“Our main intention is to unify all independent and independent-minded, progressive and principled leaders to become a potent political group. We will be the alternative voice of the people of Tarlac,” Tayag said.

Records at the Commission on Elections showed that 17 councilors, two mayors and two vice mayors in Tarlac won as independent candidates in 2013.

Moncada town Councilor Ricardo Vengco said independent councilors, “have been marginalized by the dominant party for a long time.”

“Our special programs are not supportedas a consequence, our constituents suffer. With our bonding, we will have a bargaining power,” Vengco said.

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The NPC, which was founded by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, has dominated Tarlac politics for years. Second District Rep. Susan Yap-Sulit, Gov. Victor Yap, Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco Jr., seven of the 10 provincial board members, 15 of the 18 mayors and around two thirds of municipal councilors are its current members.

Tayag, TAMA ad-hoc committee chairman, said they would establish chapters in the province and administer the oath of barangay officials before they would seek Comelec accreditation.