Solid North to form alliance with Hugpong Party, says Imee

/ 07:08 AM August 10, 2018

DIGOS CITY — Expect the Marcos bailiwick in the so-called Solid North to join forces with the Duterte power base in the South in next year’s midterm elections, according to a daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was referring to a likely alliance between northern Luzon politicians under the Marcos wing and the rising Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP) Mindanao regional party of President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.


Marcos, a consistent face in Hugpong gatherings, finally joined the HnP on Monday. She was sworn in by Mayor Duterte, along with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

The governor joked that she risked being branded a renegade because she came all the way from the North to join a southern regional party.


‘Lost Command’

“I will be an HnP member even if I will be called ‘Lost Command,’” she told reporters at Hugpong’s mass oath-taking in Malita town, Davao Occidental province.

Marcos announced that the next Hugpong mass oath-taking would start in the North next week, beginning in the provinces of Ilocos Sur, La Union and Kalinga.

Solid North refers to the regional alliance that extends from the Marcos family’s bailiwick, Ilocos Norte, to seven other provinces in northern Luzon.

Hugpong is set to become the voice of Mindanao and a force to reckon with like the Solid North, Marcos said.

Eight northern provinces are now ready to back up Mayor Duterte, she said.

“The beauty of HnP lies in its being different,” Marcos said. “It is not a monolithic, hierarchical or traditional party, but it forges alliances with the local parties. Its approach is very local.”


‘Very interesting’ model

Hugpong does not require its members to abandon their political parties, she said, “but forge alliances in the localities.”

“I think it’s a very interesting model, something that is very workable on the ground,” Marcos said, adding that no politician wins an election based on the big political parties anyway.

“So this model is better because it is (in the local contests) where a candidate wins or loses anyway. It’s not about the big political parties in Manila,” Marcos said.

She said Mayor Duterte did not intend Hugpong to become a national party, but many politicians “want to be adopted” by HnP.

Regional party

During Monday’s gathering in Malita, the Davao City mayor, who founded Hugpong, said she wanted it to remain a regional party, though she acknowledged that scores of local chief executives from all over the country had signified their intention to join.

“We will be meeting all the regional, provincial, city and municipal officials to discuss this. In the meantime, we will stay as a regional political party,” the mayor said. “We will cross the river when we get there.”

Digos City Mayor Joseph Peñas, chair of the Hugpong chapter in Davao del Sur, said the party’s growth was “inevitable” and expected the party to flex its muscles beyond the Davao region.

Aside from Roque and Marcos, those who were sworn into the party on Monday at the Malita gymnasium were Sen. JV Ejercito, Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Maguindanao Rep. Sajid “Dong” Mangudadatu and more than 2,000 other politicians.

In Digos City, Davao del Sur, Mayor Duterte also swore in 4,000 other members on the same day.

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