By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times
SUPPORTERS of survey frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and local officials led by Samar Rep. Sharee Ann Tan vowed to protect the votes which will be cast for their presidential candidate in the coming May 9 elections.
Tan, who represents the province's second district, made the assurance as Marcos led Friday his UniTeam ticket in various sorties amid torrential rains in Samar, which was a "yellow province" back in 2016.
But like Marcos, thousands of his supporters did not mind the weather at all in an impressive display of commitment to the call of unity.
"Our beloved BBM supporters are here, they are here now, they're ready to support us and watch over our votes on election day," Tan told Marcos at the provincial capitol grounds in Catbalogan, Samar.
There have been indications from the Marcos camp that the presidential candidate is wary of possible cheating in the upcoming elections.
Tan said Marcos' volunteers were the ones who sacrificed to make Friday's event successful despite the challenges posed by the weather and logistics.
With this showing of commitment, she echoed Marcos's oft-repeated remark that unity will help bring progress and development to the Philippines.
"We also have here our mayors from the different municipalities, who are ready to support us. We believe and support UniTeam because we believe that unity will be the key to achieving development and progress in our country," she said.
The UniTeam is banking on Samar province to deliver a big margin of victory for Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio come election day.
Samar Gov. Reynolds Michael Tan, for his part, said that there is no stopping the votes from raining down for the Marcos-Duterte tandem and their Senate candidates.
Even employees of the local government who were watching through the windows of the various buildings inside the compound had also expressed support for the tandem.
Government data showed that Samar is home to over 597,000 registered voters in 2022.
Marcos was accompanied in the first three UniTeam rallies Friday in Catarman, Borongan City and Catbalogan City by Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and House Majority Leader and Lakas-CMD President Martin Romualdez.
Meantime, in Biliran, dela Rosa asked the electorate to vote for Marcos and Duterte-Carpio, stressing the Davao City mayor will be a cooperative and real partner of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer in bringing the country to economic recovery and addressing other problems.
"Mayor Inday Sara will be a partner of President Marcos in fulfilling his duties and responsibilities. She will be a very supportive vice president," dela Rosa said, who represented Duterte-Carpio in UniTeam's Eastern Visayas campaign sorties.
"It's a great honor to introduce the next vice president of the Republic of the Philippines, Inday Sara Duterte," Biliran Rep. Gerardo "Gerryboy" Espina Jr. said in introducing Duterte-Carpio before giving dela Rosa the opportunity to speak.
For his part, Marcos told the voters of Biliran to continue uniting and not loosen their actions until UniTeam candidates are elected.