By Maricel Cruz | Manila Standard
Something big usually goes down whenever Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) presidential candidate former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), link up on the campaign trail.
This was again the case late Thursday when Marcos and Duterte joined each other for the BBM-Sara UniTeam grand rally at the Barotac Nuevo football field in Iloilo.
A sea of red shirt-clad supporters served as the foreground of the Saint Anthony of Padua Church while the stage occupied by the UniTeam ticket glowed in green light.
The turnout of people was impressive to say the least since Iloilo is considered opposition territory, the BBM-Sara camp said in a statement.
“The grand rally was very successful. We will work hard to ensure UniTeam candidates’ victory,” said former Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who is running for Congress and is provincial chairman of Nacionalista Party (NP), who also introduced Marcos to the roaring crowd.
Meanwhile, PFP standard-bearer Marcos Jr. is the preferred presidential bet of nine out of ten Filipinos abroad, according to Kalye Surveys conducted in different parts of the globe.
Based on the data in Pulso ng Pilipino, a summation of the different real-time, real man on the streets surveys conducted from October 2021 to January 31, 2022, Marcos is the unanimous choice of Filipinos all over the world, with a preference rate of 84.77 percent.
“This means that he is the preferred presidential candidate of nine out of ten Filipinos abroad. Second place VP Leni Robredo has a global preference of a minuscule and forgettable 4.05 percent,” the video narration said.
The Kalye Surveys showed that of the 4,343 respondents from the three continents of Asia, North America, and Europe, Marcos was preferred by 3,812 or 87.77 percent.
In Barotac Nuevo, among those who attended the event were incumbent Iloilo Reps. Braeden John Biron (4th district, NP) and Janette Garin (1st district, NP) – the Health Secretary under the administration of the late President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Another congressman, Rep. Raul Tupas, joined the grand rally. Passi City, Iloilo Vice Mayor Jesry Palmares, the Lakas-CMD provincial chairman, also attended the grand rally.
Mayor Duterte is the Lakas-CMD chairperson.
Senatorial candidates under the UniTeam ticket who attended the grand rally were Sherwin Gatchalian, Herbert Bautista, Rodante Marcoleta, Robin Padillla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Mark Villar.
Another Senate hopeful, Harry Roque, sent a recorded message.
The festive atmosphere Thursday was further ramped up by a surprise performance from Padilla, who sang “Pagsubok” by Orient Pearl in a duet with actress-host and Tingog party-list nominee Karla Estrada.
Padilla, himself a movie star, then sang “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton solo.
Celebrity Toni Gonzaga, a known BBM-Sara supporter, also came out to sing “Roar” by Katy Perry.
Marcos Jr. continues to expand his message of unity as more supporters welcomed him in Iloilo province during his second-day visit to Western Visayas on Thursday.
Marcos and Duterte visited Tamasak Arena in the Municipality of Barotac Nuevo where more than 10,000 supporters were wearing red and green T-shirts, all happy to see the UniTeam.
Everyone shouted “BBM” when the host asked the supporters who were they waiting for. Cheers seemed to be non-stop as everyone was excited to see the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer.
“I married an Ilongga because I was convinced that Ilongga is too loving. So even though I was born somewhere else, my heart is with the Ilonggos. That is an example of the unity that we can all bring together and work together. We will bring out the Filipino attitude of love,” Marcos said.
“You see, there are people inside, there are people outside. There are thousands of us. Thank you very much for your very warm welcome,” he added.
Marcos believed that all Filipinos are his allies whatever group and political color they might be supporting.
“Sometimes there are groups that fight us, divide the Filipinos. I just think that, if you are from the Philippines, you are Filipino, I am on your side,” he said.
“No matter where you come from, no matter what color your politics is, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we work together to help every Filipino and beautify the Philippines,” he stressed.
UniTeam senatorial candidates Sherwin Gatchalian, Jinggoy Estrada, Dante Marcoleta, as well as guest candidate Robin Padilla also joined in the event which started at 4 p.m. and ended around at 7 p.m.
Before his campaign rally, Bongbong led the opening of PFP headquarters in Jaro, Iloilo, where hundreds of supporters welcomed him.
“We see that it is increasing. There are more and more of us so we really need to build headquarters so that everyone who wants to join and be a member of our unity movement can organize and do everything for our success not only in the election but in the unity of the Filipino people. can be achieved,” he said.
“Thank you very much for your support and let us not stop spreading the message of our aspiration, of our unity movement,” he added.
PFP-Western Visayas chairman Jun Sagucio said compared to the previous 2016 elections, they are now reaching out down to the grassroots level to assure Bongbong of a win in the region.
Here in Iloilo (City), he is leading with two percent. Entire region, seven percent. We are now really working hard going to A, B, C, D, E (classes),” he said.
Sagucio said Iloilo residents are now starting to see the UniTeam’s call for unity, seeing supporters coming as early as 8 a.m. just to see Bongbong.
Bongbong received overwhelming support not only from the public but also from local government officials.
After the opening, Bongbong then met with some Iloilo local government officials.
One governor, seven mayors, two vice mayors, a former vice mayor, and 1,500 barangay captains rallied behind Bongbong’s UniTeam.
Bongbong also held an assembly meeting at Iloilo Convention Center where different parallel groups and grassroots supporters have expressed their love for the UniTeam.