Bongbong gets warm welcome in Aquino stronghold
SEN. FERDINAND “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Monday ventured into the Aquino stronghold of Tarlac province to push his vice presidential bid.
Instead of jeers, Marcos was warmly welcomed in Tarlac, the bailiwick and home province of the Aquino clan.
A modest number of residents from each town in the province welcomed Marcos at every stop of his Tarlac campaign sortie which kicked off in San Manuel.
Admittedly, Marcos said the mayors of the towns he visited were former members of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and now belonged to other political parties, particularly the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
In an interview, Marcos observed that he was received well in Tarlac considering the province being the bulwark of the Aquinos.
“People in Tarlac are very responsive and I am being received well here so far. I have many friends who are officials in Tarlac. It seems Tarlac is open (to my candidacy),” he said.
“They are supporting me as I go around, just as in my father’s time. I went around my uncle Danding’s (Cojuangco) district. There are so many people who are helping,” Marcos said.
Marcos started his Tarlac campaign in San Manuel town where Mayor Benjamin Tesoro endorsed his bid and asked his townmates, represented by 15 barangay chairpersons, to vote for Marcos who promised to push for a bigger local government unit (LGU) say in crafting national programs and policies.
However, Tesoro, who belongs to the Lakas ng Tao Christian Muslims Democrats, had previously promised to deliver votes for Marcos’ rival Antonio Trillanes IV who dropped by the town on March 4.
In Moncada, Tarlac, Marcos went around the public market and met with local officials headed by Mayor Benito Aquino at the town hall before proceeding to the Paniqui municipal hall to meet with Mayor Miguel Rivilla.
From Paniqui, Tarlac, the convoy went to Camiling town where Mayor Neil Agustin expressed hope that Marcos would become President in 2022.
Agustin, who admitted to being a “Marcos loyalist,” told a gathering at the Camiling Sports Complex to support the senator’s candidacy.
“Bongbong Marcos is the son of an Ilocano. We are Ilocanos here in Camiling. Let us help him; let us make Bongbong our Vice President,” Agustin said.
Present at the Camiling Sports Complex were local officials, including 60 barangay chairpersons.
While going around the province, Marcos emphasized his thrust of giving LGUs a fair share in policy-making as well as in the internal revenue allotment.
He maintained that as a senator he had been mindful of giving local governments a voice so the national government could hear them. Marcos particularly cited the Barangay Retirement Benefits Bill which he authored, the Senate passed, and is yet to be signed into law.
Cheers greeted the senator when he arrived at the Tarlac State University Gymnasium in Tarlac City, where he participated in the second leg of the Radyo Inquirer Issues Forum, held Monday.
During the forum, he was asked by panelist Aida Gonzales if he is ready and willing to assist the residents of Tarlac if he wins in the upcoming May 9 elections.
Marcos explained that if he wins, support will be given to all residents in every part of the country.
In the Inquirer forum, Marcos was joined by former Akbayan Partylist Rep. Risa Hontiveros, ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Samuel Pagdilao Jr., and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Dionisio Santiago.
The candidates fielded tough questions from residents and the panelists on issues regarding health, crime prevention and local government assistance to workers, among others.
The second Radyo Inquirer Issues Forum is a joint project of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer.net’s Next Video, Mega Mobile, Blank Pages Productions and Voice of the Youth Network. The forum is the brainchild of Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corp. president Paolo R. Prieto. With Jay Dones, Radio Inquirer