Intermittent rain failed to dampen the spirit of thousands of red-clad “Grupo Progreso” supporters, who came to the campaign rally of the administration’s senatorial candidates led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in this city on Thursday.
The President arrived at about 7 p.m. amid a downpour, but the rain stopped about 20 minutes into his speech before the crowd attending the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) sortie held at the Bacolod City Government Center football field.
“I appreciate your sacrifice. Maganda ang pinapakita niyo na camaraderie sa eleksyon na ito kasi importante (I appreciate your sacrifice. The camaraderie you are showing for this election is important),” the Chief Executive said.
“I’m really sorry but it’s also raining in Davao. More than anything else, I’d like to thank God for the rains. We are suffering from El Niño phenomenon. We need rain,” he added.
At the start of his speech, Duterte joked how host Mayor Evelio Leonardia, head of the local coalition Grupo Progreso, took pride in how the people of Bacolod braved the rains during the rally.
Many of the supporters came as early as 2 p.m. By late afternoon, there was rain, which stopped for a while then continued until the President arrived.
For his part, Leonardia, who was endorsed by Duterte in his bid for a 2nd term in the May 13 elections, said in his welcome remarks that the President’s visit amid the unpleasant weather shows how much he loves Bacolod.
“This is a night like no other. We were happy that three times, the President came for the MassKara Festival. It was historic. And now, he is a very busy man. He goes around the Philippines to campaign. We thought after he came to Negros Occidental a few weeks earlier, he will no longer come to Bacolod,” the mayor said.
“Mr. President, we are glad to show you this. That despite the rain, because of your love (for) our President, you are still here,” Leonardia told the crowd.
He also took the opportunity, along with his wife Elsa, to “publicly and personally” thank Duterte for his endorsement of his reelection bid in a video posted on Facebook.
“Salamat gid (Thank you very much), Mr. President for your endorsement. More than that, we have seen that our President will fight for what is right,” the mayor added.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, a member of PDP-Laban, introduced the ruling party’s five senatorial candidates before they were proclaimed by the President.
They are former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, PDP-Laban president and reelectionist senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Philippine National Police and Bureau of Corrections chief Roland “Bato” dela Rosa. Mangudadatu was represented by his brother, Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu.
Guest candidates, including former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, also attended the rally. (PNA)
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