Philippine Presidential aspirant Mayor Rodrigo Duterte held his candidacy launch in a Manila slum to top up a hectic schedule, demonstrating his work ethic and affinity with the poor. Together with running-mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, the crime-busting mayor rallied supporters in working-class Tondo, Manila, on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.
According to CNN, the proceedings leading up to his candidacy announcement came at the heels of a busy Monday in Tarlac City where he met up with farmers complaining about inadequate water supply. Duterte promised to launch a policy of free irrigation for farmers if he makes it to the presidential Malacañan Palace.
During the candidacy launch, Duterte finally made it to the stage in the afternoon of February 9, to closing notes of the campaign jingle by popular singers Luke Mijares and Jimmi Bondoc. Duterte began with a tirade against the government. Referring to drug lords taking advantage of a corrupt system, he said the following in Tagalog.
“If I become president, I will tell the military and police, ‘find them, kill them.’ Don’t listen to my swearing because it’s my way of expressing anger. I’m being angry for you. D@#n this government, it is not for the people.”
After his diatribe, Duterte’s common-law partner Honeylet and daughter Veronica made their appearance onstage to grace his candidacy launch.
Duterte’s candidacy team told reporters that the decision to launch his campaign in Tondo was based on the majority unemployed and underemployed who call it home. As one of the most populous districts of Manila, Tondo shelters migrants from the Visayas and Mindanao, the “outside-Luzon” regions of the Philippines Duterte is identified with.
The intersection of Zamora and Morga streets in Tondo, where the candidacy launch took place, was closed starting Monday afternoon, slowing traffic at the landmark Santo Niño Church. Rally participants in the thousands were a mixture of nearby residents and supporters from other locales such as Taguig forty-five minutes away by public transport.
Inquirer had a roster of prominent personalities invited to Duterte’s candidacy announcement, including: PDP-Laban President Aquilino Pimentel III, along with senatorial candidates Rafael Alunan and Levito Baligod who heard the Duterte-Cayetano twosome launch their platform of fighting criminality, illegal drugs and corruption, and pushing for a federal form of government.
Scratch cards were circulated among supporters to raise funds for Duterte’s candidacy on a nationwide scale. His camp decided to launch these cards as the preferred way for Duterte, who is averse to traditional big-money donors or special interests.
The scratch cards with values ranging from P25 to P500,000, carry a PIN number, which is revealed once the card is scratched by its recipient wanting to contribute toward Duterte’s candidacy. The contributor can launch the PIN number along with his name and address via SMS to a gateway number.
Unfortunately, campaign organizers hit a snag that would mean delay when they found out that the Commission on Elections requires scratch-card donations be accompanied by notarized certificates. Another behind-the-scenes problem came in the form of senatorial candidate Sandra Cam who objected to being prevented from speaking by Cayetano staff due to time constraints.
According to the SunStar, other presidential candidates held their candidacy proclamations on February 9. Vice President Jejomar Binay and running mate Gregorio Honasan of the United Nationalist Alliance were slated for launch at 3 p.m. in the government-funded Welfareville Compound, Mandaluyong City; Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo were in Roxas’ hometown of Roxas City, Capiz, until about 8 p.m.; Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and running mate Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. were at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte around 11:30 a.m.; and Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at Plaza Miranda by 4 p.m.
The candidacy launch and its follow-up sorties took their toll on Thursday, February 11, when the hardworking mayor was forced to cancel a speech in Pasig, due to a migraine headache. Duterte’s campaign team quickly pointed out that his health was not an issue, he would march on.
[Photo via Facebook]