By Rex Remitio | CNN Philippines
Borongan City, Eastern Samar (CNN Philippines, November 30) — Presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vows to continue the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program of the administration despite being criticized by President Rodrigo Duterte, father of his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Marcos made the statement during a rally in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Tuesday.
“Ating pina-plano at iniisip kung paano ipapaahon ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas, kung paano ipagpapatuloy ang ginawa ni President Rodrigo Duterte na ‘Build, Build, Build’ na palalakihin pa natin at pagbubutihin,” the standard bearer of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas said.
[Translation: We’re planning and thinking of how we can boost the Philippine economy, of how we can continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ which we will expand and improve.]
The President openly supported his long-time aide Senator Bong Go, standard bearer of Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, despite Marcos’ support for the administration. But Go announced his withdrawal from the 2022 presidential race on Tuesday.
Marcos said the continuation of the infrastructure program will be part of his post-pandemic jobs creation program for residents of Eastern Visayas if he is elected president.
The region, which is regularly hit by typhoons and still reeling from lack of adequate housing for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, is among the poorest areas in the country.
Three in every 10 families in Eastern Visayas are poor, based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s data for the first quarter of 2018. Eastern Samar has the highest poverty incidence rate in the region with 43%.
During the rally, Marcos also told his supporters that a tandem between a Marcos and a Duterte is an important “symbol of unity.”
Earlier, Marcos said his campaign is centered on “unifying leadership” as the country aims to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Napakahirap ng trabaho na ‘yan na ipagsama-sama ulit ang mga Pilipino na ‘di nag-aaway at ‘di nagsisisihan. Kaya nung si Inday Sara na ang lumapit sa akin, napakagandang pangyayari ito,” Marcos added.
[Translation: Uniting Filipinos without them fighting and blaming each other is truly a hard task. That’s why it’s a beautiful moment when Inday Sara approached me.]
The presidential daughter, meanwhile, said it would be better if everyone supports her and Marcos, not only one of them. She explained that she can do her job as vice president better if her running mate is the president.
The Davao City Mayor also praised Marcos for his record in public service, which she said is also the reason why she asked him to be her running mate.
“Sabi ko kay BBM (Marcos), ‘puwede mo ba akong kunin na bise presidente mo?’ Para sa akin importante ang naging governor siya ng apat na term, isang term na congressman, at isang term na senador,” she said.
[Translation: I asked BBM, ‘can you get me as your vice president?’ For me, it’s important that he is a four-term governor, one-term congressman, and one-term senator.]
The Marcos-Duterte tandem visited Eastern Samar, Samar, and Leyte in just one day in a bid to solidify their hold of Eastern Visayas.
They held a motorcade from Borongan City all the way to San Juanico Bridge near Tacloban City, to meet hordes of riders from different parts of the country who joined the “Unity Ride” for the tandem.
Eastern Samar, Samar, and Northern Samar were bailiwicks of the Marcoses from 1969 to 1986. Marcos lost these provinces to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race. President Duterte also lost these provinces to then Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas.