Manila Bulletin : Bongbong repeats call for unity in home turf of Ilocos

26 February 2022

By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. capped over the weekend his campaign sorties in the Marcoses’ known bailiwick of Ilocos region–but even there, he felt the need to repeat his call for unity.

Marcos Jr.’s last leg of rallies in the region was held in La Union on Friday, Feb. 25 and Pangasinan on Saturday, Feb. 26. The two locations weren’t included during his first swing of Ilocos last week.

On Feb. 16 and 17, he stepped foot on Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, respectively, for the first time since the campaign season kicked off. He said he “always feels happy to be back home.”

After wooing the Ilonggos on Wednesday and Thursday, Marcos Jr. flew to La Union for a caravan-come-campaign rally that ended at 9 p.m. at the Poro Point in San Fernando City.

He then started his motorcade early the next day in Alaminos City in Pangasinan—the southernmost part of the Ilocos region.

In a media release on Saturday, the Marcos camp said La Union residents went “all in” for him as they described the presidential aspirant as a “symbol of solidarity”.

La Union Governor Francisco Ortega III said the province will give its full support to Marcos Jr. and the UniTeam as they are seen as a “symbol of unity” that will help the country recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Tunay na pagkakaisa at pag-unlad ng buong Pilipinas ang kanyang hangarin. Hawak niya ang mga pangarap at mithiin ng bawat Pilipino na kanyang dadalhin at tutuparin sa hinaharap (True unity and progress for the country—that’s what Marcos aspires to achieve. He holds the hopes and the aspirations of every Filipino, which he can make possible),” Ortega said.

On top of his pitch for unity, Marcos Jr. laid down his priorities if elected in the seat. These are strengthening local business, agriculture, tourism, and digital infrastructure sectors, something he also said in past campaign rallies.

“Maraming-marami po tayong kailangang gawin para masabi na tayo ay naka-recover na dito sa krisis ng ekonomiya (We will have to do a lot of things to be able to say that we’ve already recovered from the economic crisis),” his camp quoted him as saying.

In the end, Marcos Jr. stressed the country cannot achieve economic recovery without unity.

“Hindi ba ang ating ipinagmamalaking katangian sa kulturang Pilipino ay ang ating pagbabayanihan… Ang sinisigaw namin na dapat na ay unahin natin ang pagkakaisa nang sa ganon ay makaharap na tayo at makatrabaho na tayo, para maka-recover na tayo dito sa naging krisis ng pandemya (Isn’t it that we’re proud of our culture of unity? That’s why we’re calling for unity, so we can finally face the challenges, get a job and be able to recover from the crisis brought by the pandemic),” he told the crowd in Pangasinan.

“Ipagpapatuloy po natin ‘yang ating mga adbokasiyang, ang ating adhikain ng pagkakaisa (We must continue our advocacy, our call for unity),” he added.

Ilocos region has been known as the bailiwick of the Marcoses, members of which have served as elected officials of various local government positions.

Marcos Jr., in particular, served in the past governor, vice governor, and congressman of Ilocos Norte. Meanwhile, his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos, was born in the province’s Sarrat town.