Manila Bulletin : Bongbong returns to home province, introduces Sara to Ilocanos

17 February 2022

By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. returned to his home turf Ilocos Norte on Wednesday, Feb. 16 for a campaign rally that was expected to gather a plethora of supporters to show off the strength of “Solid North”.

Appearing before the public for a motorcade with his running mate, vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Marcos Jr. said “It always feels happy to be back home.”

Ilocos Norte is a known bailiwick for the Marcoses, which include his late father, former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who was born in the municipality of Sarrat.

Marcos Jr., meanwhile, served as the province’s governor, vice governor and congressman. His relatives, including sisters and cousins, have also been elected to local government posts.

Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio, whose tandem is called “UniTeam”, passed through the towns of Pagudpud, Bangui, Burgos, and Laoag to woo the Ilocanos clad in red waiting en route to the site of the proclamation rally. The local folk repeatedly shouted “Bongbong, Sara.”

They then held the proclamation rally at the Paoay Sand Dunes. The event ended at almost midnight.

“Umuwi ako dito na may kasama. At sinama ko na po at ipinagmamalaki ko sa ating mga kaka-ilian ang aking naging partner, ang aking naging kasama sa kampanyang ito, ang aking kasama sa paglalaban sa kilusan ng pagkakaisa, ang pinakamagaling (I went back home with a companion. I brought with me, and I’m proud to present to you, my partner in this campaign, my partner in the movement of unity, the best of all),” Marcos Jr. told the crowd, referring to Duterte-Carpio.

The presidential aspirant added that he feels “lucky” to have partnered with Duterte-Carpio, who is “the best” and “the most faithful” in terms of her belief in the power of unity.

Marcos Jr., who has pitched a message of unity in most of his campaign speeches, said that he learned the idea of unity in Ilocos Norte where he served as the local chief executive and a lawmaker.

“Naging maliwanag na saking pagiisip tungkol sa napaka-mahalagang konsepto ng pagkakaisa, noong ako’y nagtrabaho na dito sa Ilocos Norte. Ang pagkakaisa ang sagot para sa progreso (The very important concept of unity became clear to my mind when I worked for the government here in Ilocos Norte. Unity is the answer to achieve progress),” he said in his speech that ran for about 19 minutes.

Several senatorial aspirants running under the UniTeam’s line-up joined Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio. They were: Herbert Bautista, Jinggoy Estrada, Larry Gadon, Senator Win Gatchalian, Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Harry Roque, Mark Villar and Senator Migz Zubiri.

Senatorial hopeful Robin Padilla, whose candidacy was endorsed by Duterte-Carpio in her speech at the event, also joined the group.

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Marcos Manotoc, nephew of the presidential aspirant, assured Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio of “solid” support not only from his constituents but from the entire Ilocos region.

“We pledge our support to the BBM-Sara slate and ito pong Ilocos Norte na probinsya po natin ay hindi naman ganun karami ang boto, pero solid naman ang boto namin (Ilocos Norte may not be a big province, but our votes are solid. And I’m sure solid din ang boto ng Ilocandia para sa BBM-Sara ticket (the votes of the whole Ilocos Region are also solid for the BBM-Sara ticket),” Manotoc said in a chance interview before the motorcade began.