VP Leni: Real unity is rooted in hope
130k attendees shake up Emerald Avenue for Pasig people’s rally
Emerald Avenue in Pasig sparkled in a swathe of pink as an estimated 130,000 people welcomed Vice President Leni Robredo back to Metro Manila after four days of people’s rallies across Mindanao.
“Malayo pa kami, ramdam na ramdam ko nang halos yumayanig ang sahig dahil sa inyong energy,” said the presidential aspirant to thunderous cheers from the audience.
Families and groups of friends had gathered since the early morning of Sunday, March 20, braving the midday heat to stake their spots at the event dubbed “PasigLaban”.
Listening to Robredo made it worth the long wait. Looking at the long stretch of Emerald Avenue filled with people, Robredo said that hope is at the heart of the people’s campaign; that each one brings hope to one another.
“Malinaw na malinaw po sa akin ngayon: Pag-asa ang puso ng ating People's Campaign. Pag-asang dala hindi ng kandidatong nakatungtong sa entablado, pero pag-asa ng kapwa Pilipinong nakikilakad kapag hinaharang sa kalsada, nakikipintura ng mural na binura, nakiki-repack ng ayuda para sa mga nasalanta. Dito po sa Pasig, ngayon, tignan niyo ang inyong mga katabi; damhin ang pag-asang hatid ninyo sa isa't isa,” she said, adding:
“Pag-asa ang ugat ng tunay na pagkakaisa. Pagkakaisang matatakbuhan mo kapag nagipit ka, sasagot kapag tumawag ka, titindig sa tabi mo kapag tumindig ka. Pagkakaisa, hindi lang ng politiko sa politiko para sa pansariling interes, kundi ng Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipinong lumalaban dahil iisa lang ang ipinapakipaglaban.”
Robredo's spokesperson said an estimated 130,000 attended the people's rally.
Sixty- seven year old Amerigo Dela Paz went to the rally with his daughter, Karra. They carried a cart filled with pink pandesal to give to fellow supporters for free.
“It’s very inspiring, na people are so passionate. They move on their own. They willingly spend their time, their energy, their resources. All of these are donations. People have been so supportive of each other all for putting the right leader for government,” Karra said.
For Amerigo, his presence in the rally reminded him of the four days in 1986, when he joined fellow Filipinos in fighting for democracy in the People Power Revolution.
“Hindi na dapat maulit. Huwag na nating ibalik. [Martial law] was a terrible time… Hindi na dapat talaga ulitin for our children and grandchildren,” he said, turning emotional.
A 50-year-old woman who declined to give her name also said that the people’s rally was reminiscent of People Power. She joined PasigLaban to be counted because she believes in what Robredo, Pangilinan, and the TroPang Angat are fighting for.
“While walking from the mall to here, you can see a lot of people chanting, a lot of people na nagkakaisa and it really gives me goosebumps. Parang ano ‘to? People Power all over again?” she said. “But I’d rather that it be a People Power that will elect the correct and right President, Vice President, and senators so that we don’t have to go through another revolution as what happened in 1986.”
Indeed, people emphasized the need to vote right on Election Day as they brought placards to PasigLaban with Robredo’s battlecry at the Comelec presidential debates: “The best man for the job is a woman.”
Robredo vowed that should she be elected President, her administration would ensure that jobs would be available, healthcare would be accessible, transportation would be reliable, and housing and infrastructure would serve families.
But most of all, she promised people empowerment – and not the power of political families – in her administration.
“Higit sa lahat: Isang klase ng politikang hindi nadadaan sa palakasan. Politikang walang pami-pamilya– dahil lahat dapat kayo malakas; lahat itinuturing na bahagi ng pambansang pamilya; lahat kasali, lahat mahalaga,” she said.
With 50 days to go before May 9, Robredo once again called on the people to support her in her quest for an honest government.
“Fifty days to go. Fifty days, Pasig at NCR. Kaya pa ba nating doblehin pa ang pagsisikap? Kaya ba nating lakihan pa ang ating mga puso? Nagsimula tayo sa halos wala; nandito na tayo ngayon. May 50 days pa. Ibuhos na natin ang lahat. Kung kailangan, kaya ba nating more than 18 hours na magtrabaho para maipanalo natin ito?” Robredo said.
Robredo exhorted everyone to head out of their homes and knock on people’s doors, to go out and share the story of hope.
“Kaya ba nating kumatok sa mga pintuan? Sa mga Zoom meetings natin o sa mga chat rooms, sa jeepney o sa mga Grab, sa tambayan o sa palengke, ibahagi natin ang ating mensahe; isadiwa ang pag-asa, pagkakaisa, at pagmamahal na pundasyon ng ating laban,” she said.
Robredo also urged her supporters to smile when talking to others and to understand other people’s histories as they campaign for her.
“Magpakumbaba po tayo, maging mahinahon sa pagdidiin ng katotohanan, ipaliwanag po natin ang mga motibo, intindihin ang motibo din sa likod ng mga kasinungalingan: Na kaya may fake news, para watakin tayong lahat. Dapat hindi natin ‘yun payagan. Dahil ang pinakamahalagang katotohanan: Magkakarugtong po ang diwa ng bawat Pilipino. Iisa ang pangarap at kinabukasan ng bawat isa sa atin,” Robredo said. [End]