With Winnie Castelo as running mate: Mike Defensor running for QC mayor

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By Billy Begas

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor is set to run for Quezon City mayor in the 2022 elections, challenging the incumbent local chief executive, Joy Belmonte.

Defensor filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor on Thursday (October 7). He’s running alongside Councilor Winnie Castelo.

“We feel extremely honored and humbled that the people of Quezon City are showing us so much support,” said Defensor, a nephew of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Also present during Defensor’s COC filing were his supporters – incumbent and reelectionist Quezon City Representatives Anthony Peter Crisologo (first district), Precious Hipolito Castelo (second district), and Allan Reyes (third district).

They were joined by Councilor Marvin Rillo, fourth district congressional candidate and former Rep. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, sixth district congressional candidate.

Defensor vowed to transform the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH), a referral facility for COVID-19 cases, into “a true center of excellence in delivering the best and most efficient healthcare services.”

“We envision the QCGH becoming a model in best practices for all local government hospitals. We will also double to 500 the hospital’s bed capacity,” Defensor said.

He also underscored the need to grant new local tax incentives to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis so that they can start hiring workers again.

“We will also build up Quezon City’s life-saving emergency rescue capabilities, considering that the city has the highest number of road crashes in Metro Manila,” Defensor added.

Citing data from Metro Manila Accident Reporting System, Defensor said Quezon City had a total of 22,494 road crashes in 2020 way to high compared to Manila’s 6,655 cases, and Makati City’s 4,508 incidents.

Defensor also pledged to put up a new public drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center in Quezon City with two dormitories to separate the male and the female.

“We aim to establish a new Quezon City Sports Academy and to embark on new community-based sports programs to fully develop our children,” said Defensor.

He also plans to make the city “the most bicycle-friendly city” in Metro Manila and put up more open spaces where people can freely recreate, jog, and walk their dogs.