By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte: Presidential frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has called on Filipino voters to be vigilant in guarding the ballot and ensure that the results of Monday's elections will reflect the will of the people.
Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio made the appeal as they urged the Filipino electorate to vote for the nation's unity and future on Monday, May 9.
"Panalo na! Basta't bantayan niyo 'yung boto sa Lunes na walang tulugan (We already won! Just closely monitor the votes on Monday without sleeping a wink)," Marcos told the mammoth crowd during the UniTeam's Mindanao Miting de Avance rally here on Thursday.
"Hihingi tayo sa lahat ng kaibigan natin ng maraming-maraming kape para walang matutulog dahil alam naman natin kapag tayo ay natulog maraming nangyayari na 'di kanais nais (Ask all your friends for lots of coffee so that you wouldn't fall asleep because we all know that once we fall asleep, a lot of unfortunate things could happen)," he added.
The presidential frontrunner also asked the voters to support the UniTeam ticket to ensure unity among Filipinos.
Marcos vowed that he, Duterte-Carpio, UniTeam senators, and his allies would do all they could to deliver on their promises, should they win the people's mandate.
"Habang tumatagal ang kampanya, 'yung pagkakaisa ng taong-bayan ay sinimulan na at nagsisimula na magkaisa ang buong Pilipinas (As the campaign unfolded, the unity among Filipinos started to grow and unified the entire Philippines)," Marcos said.
"Hindi n'yo na hinintay ang halalan, hindi n'yo na inantay ang resulta ng halalan, ngunit kayo po ang taong-bayan ang nanguna na dito sa kilusan ng pagkakaisa na ating sinimulan, na ating ipinaglalaban, na ating isinisigaw na alam po nating makakabuti po sa taong-bayan (You didn't wait for the elections, nor the election results, but Filipinos are leading the movement of unity that we started, we are fighting for, and we are calling for as this would be good for the country)," he added.
In her own speech, Duterte-Carpio thanked the crowd for making them feel that an election victory is imminent.
"'Pag sinabi ng 'TAGUMpay,' Panalo na. Panalo na ang lahat (If we say TAGUMpay, we already won. Everyone wins)," the Davao City mayor told the huge crowd.
Echoing Marcos' appeal for unity, Duterte-Carpio said political partisans should forget about divisiveness represented by various colors — red, pink, green, yellow, orange — after the nation chooses its new set of leaders.
They should think that they are all Filipinos belonging to one country, she added.
During the rally, the tandem also reiterated their commitment to continue reopening the economy to help it recover from the pandemic, as well as to continue the programs of the Duterte administration, including the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality and its massive Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.
Marcos expressed elation over the broad popular support his tandem with Duterte-Carpio and his UniTeam coalition enjoy.
"Ngayon lang tayo nakakita na mahigit kumulang 65 percent ng tao ay nasa atin na at sumasama sa atin at nakikipagsanib puwersa sa atin," Marcos said.
This means that Filipinos have started to unite even before electing their new leaders, he added.
The UniTeam tandem was in Tagum City for the miting de avance, days before election day.
A four-hour heavy downpour and an earthquake did not stop the crowd from expressing support to the tandem, who has since dominated poll surveys.
The venue, which was the same rally site as the UniTeam's contending party, was already full and spilling off as early as 2 p.m. even if the event was scheduled to start late afternoon.
While the crowd was enjoying the entertainment of the grandest political gathering held in the province, an earthquake struck.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology later said it was a 5.8-magnitude tremor with the epicenter in Tarragona, Davao Oriental.
The miting de avance here was the second of three for UniTeam and the one designated for Mindanao. Before Davao del Norte, the slate had its first miting de avance in Guimbal, Iloilo.
The UniTeam will hold its culminating Luzon rally in Parañaque City today, May 7, the last day of the election campaign.