For Duterte supporters in Luneta, spirit of Edsa revolt not lost
President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters may be celebrating the People Power anniversary far from its traditional venue, but it doesn’t mean that it’s less significant than the celebration on Edsa.
For Bobby Brillante of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Council, it was a good turn of events that their rally coincided with the EDSA revolt anniversary.
“I think the celebrations are complementing because February 25 was a celebration of freedom… We want to make sure that freedom and democracy will continue to stay,” he said.
Thousands of Duterte’s supporters gathered at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Saturday evening to back the administration’s war against illegal drugs and poverty.
BACKSTORY: Duterte supporters to stage own rally
As of 6 pm Saturday, organizers pegged the crowd to be at 400,000, while the police only pegged it at 13,000.
Supporters from all over Metro Manila and outside of the National Capital Region flocked to the vast field as early as 4 p.m., carrying streamers in support of their idol.
A group from Bacoor, Cavite, brought with them a poster that read: “Ipaglaban ang kaayusan, suportahan ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Defend order, support the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte).”
Early on in the program, the organizers recognized the presence of a group of Marcos loyalists in the crowd.
The first four hours of the program was an interfaith prayer vigil, while a concert featuring various performers filled up the rest of the night.
Health secretary Paulyn Ubial lauded Duterte for being the only Philippine president to have given the Department of Health such a huge budget.
“It was the first time in Philippine history that the health budget was higher than the defense budget. Before, we used to be in seventh place when it came to the budget, now we are at number three,” she told the crowd.
The crowd cheered even more wildly as Ubial added: “That is how much the President loves us Filipinos, he has full support for our health.”
Brillante, the MRRD-NECC spokesperson, said their target of one million is for the entirety of the vigil and other simultaneous events all over the country.
“Other supporters converged in Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro, while there are other overseas Filipino workers in other countries conducting their own activities,” he said.
He added that some mayors even called them up to ask why they were not invited, since the activity was mainly for grassroots organizations which supported Duterte in his presidential campaign.
“They are all welcome here, but we really want this to be more of a people’s expression of support rather than a political expression,” Brillante said.
Among the groups invited were the PDP Laban, Friends of Rody Duterte, Kilusang Pagbabago, Hugpong Federalismo and other people’s organizations.
Brillante added that some rallyists who came from the EDSA anniversary celebration at the People Power Monument will be joining them as well.
Sunday’s program will be attended by politicians supporting Duterte, including Manila mayor Joseph Estrada.
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