Robredo team has two official campaign kick-off plans amid pandemic worry
MANILA, Philippines — Due to uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team of Vice President Leni Robredo is preparing for two presidential campaign launch scenarios on February 8.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, the vice president’s spokesperson, revealed this during a 1Sambayan forum on Thursday: “Dahil nga sa uncertainty na naga-arise from the COVID situation, ‘di natin alam, baka mamaya pagdating nga next week, meron na namang mas mahigpit na restrictions. We’re actually planning two possible launches. Isang—’yung current—’yung merong physical event and then one which is completely online.”
(Because of the uncertainty that may arise from the COVID situation, we don’t know, by next week there may be stricter restrictions. We’re actually planning two possible launches. The first—the current plan—is to have a physical event and then one which is completely online.)
Robredo’s camp has been planning to conduct a kick-off in her hometown in Naga, Camarines Sur, where she will be joined by her running mate, Senator Francis Pangilinan, as well as senatorial candidates under the tandem’s slate.
Should this push through, Gutierrez said compliance with health protocols will be assured. Participants will be required to present either their COVID-19 vaccination card or a negative coronavirus test result.
The number of people inside the venue will also be limited and social distancing rules will be imposed, he added.
Volunteer groups are also planning to mount simultaneous activities across the country on February 8 in support of the candidacy of Robredo, Pangilinan, and the rest of the Leni-Kiko slate, according to Guitierrez.
“Ang objective lang talaga natin dito ay makapag-generate ng excitement, maipakilala ‘yung ating mga kandidato, ‘yung ating slate, maipakilala kung ano ‘yung ating plataporma at ‘yung ating mga prinsipyong binibitbit at dinadala sa kampanyang ito sa higit,” he said.
(Our objective here is to generate excitement, introduce the candidates, the slate, to put forward our platforms and our principles in this campaign most importantly.)
“Gaya nang paulit-ulit nang sinabi ni VP Leni ang isang karakter ng kampanya natin ngayon na bago, na unique, na very refreshing ay hindi lang ito isang traditional campaign kundi isang people’s campaign,” Gutierrez added.
(Like what VP Leni has repeatedly said, a characteristic of her campaign that is new, unique, and very refreshing is that it will not be a traditional campaign, but a people’s campaign.)
But if her presidential campaign will be launched online, Gutierrez said they are also ready – even for a hybrid kick-off.
“Kung sakali mang in the next few days, magi-issue ang Comelec (Commission on Elections) in accordance with IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) na hindi pwedeng magkaroon or sobrang limited ‘yung physical event dahil sa COVID, we will comply and we are ready to go completely online or a hybrid of the two,” Gutierrez said.
(If ever in the next few days, the Comelec will issue guidelines in accordance with IATF that we can’t have physical events or there should be limited people due to COVID, we will comply and we are ready to go completely online or a hybrid of the two.)
“We expect that this is going to be a challenge, not just for the launch, but for the entire campaign. The uncertainty created by COVID has really put us in a very unprecedented situation as far as campaigning goes,” he added.
After the launch activity on February 8, Gutierrez said Robredo, Pangilinan, and their Senate slate plan to visit other provinces in the Bicol region on February 9. The vice president will then head to Batangas and Laguna on February 10.
Admittedly, Guiterrez said they would want to maximize the possibility of being able to hold face-to-face activities as much as possible, saying this is important in a campaign.
“But definitely, we will take every measure to ensure na yung safety ng mga taong makakausap natin, mga mag-participate sa mga events, and if Comelec will say na hanggang dito lang talaga yan, halimbawa 30-percent lang ang capacity ng venue or ganito lang kahaba yung mga campaign rallies, then we will comply,” he said.
(But definitely, we will take every measure to ensure the safety of the people we will meet in these events, those participating, and if Comelec will impose limitations, like for example, a venue will only be allowed a 30-percent capacity or impose restrictions during campaign rallies, then we will comply.)