Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Thursday declared the “Solid North” is alive and strong in the South as well as his Unity Caravan entered its third day in Mindanao.
This developed as Makilala, North Cotabato town mayor Rudy Caoagdan, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, announced his support for Marcos because he believes in his programs and his advocacy to unite the Filipino people.
Marcos went around several towns and cities in North Cotabato, particularly in Makilala, Kidapawan, Matalam, Kabacan and Midsayap—areas where Ilocano migrants settled---and received warm welcome by local officials and residents, especially in Kabacan town where around 65 % of residents were of Ilocano descent.
“I thought I’m still in Ilocos Norte,” said Marcos as he thanked the local official and resident of Kabacan for the same warm welcome they gave him when he visited the town in his first campaign for a Senate seat in 1992.
“We are already here in Mindanao, in the South, but I still feel the presence of the Solid North,” said Marcos.
In given a rousing welcome to Marcos in his visit to his town, Caoagdan, whose parents were Ilocanos, said he is crossing party lines because of his belief in his platform and his Ilocano heritage.
“My being an LP member is one thing; my support for Marcos is another because after all my parents are from Ilcocos region: my mother is from Laoag City, my father is from Pangasinan. There is no reason why we won’t
support a fellow Ilocano,” Caoagdan said.
“I think Bongbong will win in North Cotabato,” he added. North Cotabato covers 32 percent of Soccsksargen’s voting population.
Marcos confirmed in a press briefing that several local officials of Kidapawan City have also pledged support for his candidacy, although he did not name names. Earlier, Marcos paid a courtesy call to Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelista, who is also a member of LP.
North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza, an LP member, also gave Marcos a warm welcome when the senator paid her a courtesy call at the provincial capitol.
She stressed that as a member of LP she has to support the party’s candidate. However, she said that as an Ilocano she welcomes Marcos as family.
With the kind of support he received in North Cotabato, Marcos said the Solid North has evolved and no longer confined to Ilocano-speaking provinces in northern Philippines since many Ilocanos have migrated and settled in various areas of the country, including Mindanao.
“Now, when we talk about Ilocano votes, it’s no longer just the Solid North. We are now talking about Solid Philippines,” said Marcos.
On its third day of campaign in Mindanao, Marcos’ “Unity Caravan” will visit Davao Del Norte and Compostela Valley.