MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's allies in the provinces will mount prayer rallies against "political noise" this weekend to prove that protests against her are limited in "imperial Manila."
Candaba town Mayor Gerry Pelayo said the mass actions will be held in at least 14 provinces and three cities starting Friday until Monday, when anti-government groups calling for the President to resign amid the broadband deal corruption scandal are expected to mount their second big rally in the Makati financial district in two weeks.
"We want to show that the political noise is isolated in the so-called imperial Manila,? Pelayo said in a chance interview with reporters. ?We will have our own show of force in the provinces."
He said the rallies would call for "peace, unity, enlightenment, progress, and a stop to all political noise" that could derail economic growth.
The coordinated mass actions will be held in the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Norte, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Laguna, Bataan, Mt. Province, Aklan, Romblon, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Antique, Cavite, and the cities of Iloilo, Ormoc, and Tacloban, Pelayo said.
The Candaba mayor said the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will also participate: Maguindanao, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Shariff Kabunsuan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Marawi City.
Meanwhile, tuck driver Angelo dela Cruz, a former hostage of extremists in Iraq, went to Malacañang on Thursday to show support for the President, his "cabalen" or province mate in Pampanga.
Arroyo ordered the pullout of the country's humanitarian contingent from Iraq in 2004, at the risk of straining ties with the United States, to spare Dela Cruz from execution under his captors.
"The President saved my life. Now is the opportunity for me and my fellow OFWs [Overseas Filipino Workers] to defend her from her detractors," he told reporters.
"This is the time for me and my fellow OFWs to show support for the President, who only has our welfare in mind," he said.