By Joseph B.A. Marzan
And so it begins.
Supporters of Vice President and 2022 presidential candidate Leni Robredo in the city and province of Iloilo turned up for their candidate as the campaign period for national candidates in the 2022 elections began Tuesday, Feb 8.
As Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis Pangilinan, start their formal campaign activities in her home province of Camarines Sur, “kakampinks” in the city and province of Iloilo held their respective activities.
The day started with a special mass held at St. Anne’s Parish Church in Molo, Iloilo City with other supporters joining a regular mass at the Jaro Cathedral.
Members of re-electionist Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas’ Team Uswag, as well as sectoral support groups for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem, joined the mass in Molo.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. was joined by 3rd district Board Member and Liberal Party national Director-General Jason Gonzales, as well as the Makabyan Coalition, who recently endorsed Robredo and Pangilinan, at the Jaro Cathedral.
Treñas and Defensor later led a joint virtual press conference after the mass from their offices, where they reiterated their commitment to help turn out the votes for Robredo.
In his message, Treñas said that Robredo was one of the country’s leaders who truly stood out as the country struggled at the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There are a few leaders who stood out and have shown reassuring virtues in the fight against the pandemic. VP Leni Robredo is obviously one of them. [D]espite the limited resources, was able to create a huge impact in the lives of many Filipinos through her promising COVID responses and initiatives. The pandemic has revealed her true strength and she is the type of a presidential candidate who has already walked the talk,” the mayor added.
Treñas also urged Iloilo City denizens to engage in helping Robredo win the election.
“To my constituents, now is not the best time to be apolitical. Our activism is important now more than ever, because the future we are shaping today will largely affect the kind of lives our children and grandchildren will have tomorrow. Let us show our all-out support for Leni Robredo because she is our only choice. Let us do it not only for ourselves, let us do it for our children and for our children’s children. Let us do it for Iloilo City and let us do it for the Philippines,” he said.
Defensor echoed Treñas, touting the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) COVID Care Kits and Bayanihan E-Konsulta programs in response to the pandemic.
The governor added that the E-Konsulta program will start in Iloilo soon with help from the OVP.
“As vice president, other Ilonggos may not know this, [Robredo] was always here silently and working for the Ilonggos and brought all the help she can. I think that is an important advantage for us when she wins,” the governor said.
“The launch of Bayanihan E-Konsulta [in Iloilo] is very important and very timely for us. We thank [the OVP] for the help given to the province for the [COVID-19 Care Kits],” he added.
But both admitted that they are facing a difficult challenge, as they cannot turn out all Ilonggos to support Robredo and Pangilinan.
Treñas said that “95 percent” of all barangay officials have committed to back the candidates in the national polls.
“Insofar as Iloilo City is concerned, all our barangay captains are supporting the candidacy of the vice president. We cannot promise how much votes of the city will go to VP Leni inasmuch we cannot even promise our own votes for ourselves. Ultimately, it is going to be a decision made by our constituents when they go to the polls,” Treñas said.
Defensor, on the other hand, cited that there were town mayors who were silent at this time, but added that he will not push them to pronounce their endorsements at this time.
“Our congressmen are from different parties but many of them are committed to VP Leni. Many mayors are also committed to help campaign but we will wait for them to make their own pronouncements in due time,” said the governor.
Other activities were also held by town-based support groups in other towns in Iloilo, including in Alimodian, Cabatuan, Dumangas, Leon, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara, as well as in Passi City.
‘Kakampinks’ in 1st district
Meanwhile, hundreds of “Kakampinks” from the First district of Iloilo province rallied in support of Robredo in a “Grand Pink Caravan” held separately in the town of Guimbal and San Joaquin on Feb 6-7.
Around 150 Kakampinks in their pink shirts, balloons, and banners joined the caravan in the main streets of Guimbal and in the iconic Guimbal bridge last Sunday, Feb 6.
The caravan was joined by 50 vehicles composed of private cars, tricycles, and motorcycles.
On the other hand, more than 200 Kakampinks participated in the caravan in the nearby town of San Joaquin on Feb 7.
The Kakampinks aboard their vehicles paraded around the different barangays in San Joaquin to show support for Robredo.
Some supporters remained stationary on the streets as they waved their pink ribbons and pink banderitas while other supporters played campaign jingles in their speakers.
The caravan also included members of the LBGTQIA+ sector, Women for Leni, and members from the different sectors of transport, business and labor, artists, and dancers from the town.
After the caravan, a short program was held where different sectoral representatives shared their solidarity messages in support of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem at the San Joaquin Parish Beach Area Pavilion.
The two separate caravans were initiated by the two volunteer groups in support for VP Leni as the campaign period for the national candidates kicked off on February 8.
The caravan in Guimbal was organized by the Guimbal Youth for Leni volunteer group.
Meanwhile, the caravan in San Joaquin was initiated by the Youth 4 Leni (Y4L) San Joaquin. The same group also led relief efforts to the victims of Typhoon Odette in San Joaquin last year covering 4,845 beneficiaries in the 58 barangays in the municipality. (DG)