Message of pro-admin rally: Help Duterte finish 6-year term
They may have fallen short of the expected 50,000 attendees to the rally supporting President Rodrigo Duterte, but organizers of the “Ituloy ang Pagbabago” event maintained that they are not after the numbers and that those who came to Plaza Miranda are part of the “majority” who are satisfied with the government’s policies.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that they are “happy” with the turnout of Duterte’s supporters, who despite the intermittent rains still stayed on. He pointed out that they had to end their program at 6 p.m. in consideration of the attendees who may get sick.
At its height, organizers said they mustered a force of around 30,000 people. Ground police estimated that around 16,000 people from all over the metro and nearby provinces trooped to Plaza Miranda.
The Manila Police District, however, placed it at just 7,000. The Inquirer observed though that the crowd was no more than 3,000, as there were several pockets in the public square. The late afternoon rains also forced several attendees to leave the venue.
The five-hour-long program mainly centered on the message of helping Duterte finish his six-year term and quell any efforts that would prevent that from happening.
“There are those who do not like the administration. That is why our speakers told [the attendees] to fight those who are against [the administration]. It’s because the majority has kept silent. It’s the minority who is always being heard. This gathering was a chance for the majority to speak up and say their piece,” Cusi said.
Interestingly, the attendees, whom Cusi said were part of the majority who support Duterte, were bused in from various cities in the metro and nearby provinces, such as Bulacan and Pampanga.
Most of them were also government workers and barangay “volunteers,” who carried signages carrying messages of support coming from their respective city and provincial councils.
Cusi, however, stressed that “no government funds” were used for the event.
Benny Antiporda, board member at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and one of the event’s organizers, reiterated this to the crowd as he wrapped up the program and amid criticisms on social media.
He pointed out that the funds used to mount the event came from “all of you who love President Duterte and the Filipino nation.”
Antiporda called on Duterte’s critics that instead of condemning the administration, they should give him the chance to make things right.
He acknowledged that there may have been “mistakes,” particularly on the brutal campaign against the illegal drug trade, but that these are already being addressed by the President.
“Let us continue the change [we are seeing]. We are already seeing the path to a good future that we want for our families. Why would we stop it?” he said.
Asked to elaborate what that particular change was, Antiporda said it was the fact that one can already “go out at night without fear because it’s now the drug users and peddlers who are afraid to leave their homes.” /jpv
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