VP Leni: A star of hope shines for Negros Occidental; 70k turnout in people’s rally is biggest yet
BACOLOD CITY – The overcast sky and off-and-on drizzle was no deterrence to the estimated 70,000 people waving pink stars, flaglets, and balloons who flooded the Paglaum stadium in Bacolod City, Negros Oriental.
The ebullience and joy emanating from the supporters were the same warm welcome given to presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo all over the province in the sweltering heat throughout the day, and all over the country over the last few weeks.
It was the same spirit, too, that filled the streets from the airport in Silay to Bacolod back in October, shortly after Robredo announced her candidacy.
“Hinding-hindi ko rin makakalimutan: Nang ipinagbawal ang motorcades noong una naming pagpunta dito ni Senator Kiko [Pangilinan]. Pagkatatapos po naming magdeklara, kayo ang nagpauso ng stationary caravan at pinuno ninyo ang daan mula sa Silay City hanggang dito sa Bacolod ng mga dancer, singer, madre, cyclists, kabataan, at mga banda,” Robredo said to thunderous applause.
She added: “Malinaw na malinaw po ngayon: Hindi lang po ito kampanya para sa mga kandidato. Kampanya po ito para sa ating mga pangarap. Kampanya ito para sa lahat ng ating minamahal. Kampanya po ito para sa isang gobyernong tapat,” Robredo said, and the crowd roared: “Angat buhay lahat!”
She said that it was very apt that the people’s rally was held at the Paglaum sports stadium. Paglaum is Hiligaynon word for “hope”.
The sheer number of people who attended the people’s rally in Bacolod City could be an indication that Negros Occidental is likely going back Robredo again in the May 9 elections, after Negrenses gave her a huge win in the 2016 vice presidential elections where she received almost 600,000 votes.
This despite only a handful of local executives like Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson have declared their support for Robredo. With Lacson are former governor Lito Coscolluela, Negros Occidental District Rep. Leo Rafael “Bebo” Cueva, Sagay City Mayor Alfredo “Thirdy” Marañon III, Cadiz City Mayor Bading Escalante, former Mayor Patrick Escalante, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, and Himamaylan Vice Mayor Justin Gatuslao.
Should she be elected President, Robredo promised help for farmers who find it difficult to move forward due to the high prices of farm equipment.
“Ang target natin: gawing abot-kaya ang mga ito para mas malaki ang inyong kita pagdating ng anihan.”
With her Sugar Industry Roadmap, Robredo pledged support to help the industry modernize and diversify so they can reach bigger markets.
She reiterated her plan build the Negros-Guimaras-Iloilo bridge.
“Kapag konektado na ang mga probinsya, mas magiging maayos ang daloy ng mga produkto, sisigla ang ekonomiya, at uunlad ang komersyo,” she said.
On renewable energy, Robredo said she would push distribution to all parts of the province.
“Ang kailangan lang ay tiyakin ang pag-distribute nito sa mga kabahayan para wala nang sitio na magpapalipas ng gabi sa kadiliman,” she said, adding:
“Kung anuman ang kailangang gawin para maitulak natin ang paggamit ng malinis, renewable at maaasahang power supply, gagawin po natin—magtutulungan po tayo para mangyari ito.”
Across the province all day long, Robredo was met by thousands of joyful, pink-clad supporters everywhere she went.
Robredo started her long day with a rally at the Bishop’s Compound in San Carlos City where she was endorsed by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson.
Speaking in Hiligaynon, Lacson told supporters that Robredo is intelligent, sincere, helpful, and trustworthy. He said with a sincere government, everyone’s lives are uplifted.
Robredo then proceeded to rallies in Sagay City and Kabankalan, where she was warmly greeted with trademark Negrense hospitality.
In Barangay Caradio-an in Himamaylan, Vice President Leni Robredo spent time with beneficiaries of the eight of the OVP’s Community Learning Hubs in Himamaylan.
The hubs are part of Robredo’s COVID-19 response operations in the province, which also include the teacher training program of Bayanihan e-Skwela, PPEs and medical supplies to 36 medical institutions, offices, and LGUs and the vaccine express which vaccinated over 2,000 people.
Meanwhile, the Angat Buhay programs of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in Negros Occidential include a feeding program in Hinobaan and livelihood subsidies for groups in Hinobaan, Murcia, and Sipalay; the building of classroom buildings, solar kits, and solar-powered electric fans to help public education, as well as subsidies for groups involved in rural development and women empowerment.
After more rallies in Binalbagan City and La Carlota and a whistletop in Hinigaran, where she was joined by her daughters, Aika and Tricia, Robredo finally made it to Paglaum sports stadium in Bacolod City.
The people were entertained by a slew celebrities including Edu Manzano, Joel Torre, Ronnie Lazaro, Agot Isidro, Ogie Diaz, Mama Loi, Dyosa Pockoh, DJ Joey and Nikki Valdez. Kuh Ledesma, The Company, Kyla, Gab Valenciano, Janina Vela, Tippi dos Santos, Kay Leni Tayo Singers, Curtismith, Gracenote, Mayonnaise, and Rivermaya also performed.
Megastar Sharon Cuneta, Pangilinan’s wife, introduced the vice-presidential candidate. The audience joined her in singing the classic OPM song, “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Ko.
“Alam kong ramdam ninyo ang nararamdaman ninyo: Palakas nang palakas ang momentum at enerhiya, parami nang parami ang sumasama sa ating hanay, palalim nang palalim ang pagtataya sa ating laban,” Robredo said to thunderous applause. “Galingan pa natin ang pakikipaglaban natin para sa tama at totoo. Lakihan pa natin ang ating mga puso. Lakasan pa natin ang ating mga tinig para dumami pa ang makakita: Puwede palang ganito mangampanya. Puwede pala ang ganitong klase ng gobyerno: Tapat, taumbayan ang bida, tunay na nagkakaisa.”