By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
THE tandem of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio vowed to improve Mindanao's standing as the country's food basket to help the region recover from the effects of the pandemic.
Marcos, a former senator, is vying for president in the 2022 elections and Duterte-Carpio, the outgoing Davao City mayor, is his running mate.
In a joint statement, the BBM-Sara Uniteam said Mindanao "must be at the forefront of the country's agricultural trade because one-third of its land area is devoted to agriculture."
They noted that Mindanao produces 40 percent of the country's food needs and contributes over 30 percent to national food trade.
"Though Mindanao is considered to be one of the poorest islands in the country, it is considered the richest when it comes to natural resources," the Uniteam said. "That's why it is necessary to strengthen it to achieve [our goal] making the country's food basket ito ng bansa."
The Uniteam cited as an example Bukidnon, a well-known food source in northern Mindanao and a major producer of rice, corn and sugarcane.
The duo added that the Southern Philippines can also strengthen the country's export industry.
The Uniteam said millions of the tandem's supporters on Sunday displayed their initial strength by staging the "caravan for peace, unity and progress."
The event was held simultaneously in about 30 cities and 15 provinces in Mindanao, the Bicol Region, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Abra in Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.
Marcos and Duterte-Carpio spearheaded the caravan in Davao del Norte, their first public activity together since they separately announced their candidacy.
The two thanked their supporters.
"We will rise again," Marcos told the crowd.
"Let us protect our candidates, let us protect our president and let us protect BBM," said Duterte-Carpio.
The two also led in swearing in new officials and candidates of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and attended the blessing and opening of the PFP headquarters in Tagum City.
"I'm really overwhelmed, just seeing the posts and live videos on social media by our supporters. I don't know how to thank them for the effort they are showing," Marcos said.