ILOILO CITY, Philippines- On May 3, about 40,000 Ilonggos, clad in different shades of yellow, gathered at the Plazoleta Gay, occupying the streets of Mapa and Iznart, for Liberal Party’s miting de avance.
Echoing the Aquino administration's slogan “Tuwid na Daan”, local candidates in Iloilo City took turns in presenting their public service track records and platforms while campaigning for the ruling LP’s national slate led by Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.
Iloilo City, considered an LP bailiwick, was a driving force in LP’s victory in the 2010 national elections. Then VP candidate and current presidential bet won in the city with almost 130,000 votes against UNA’s Jejomar Binay, with around 40,000 votes. Binay beat Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential race.
Iloilo, before and after
In his speech, LP's vice president, Senator Franklin Drilon, asked his fellow Ilonggos to remember how Iloilo was 5 years ago.
“Our river used to stink, but now, we had cleaned it. It used to be the gutter of Iloilo. Now, we even have a park beside it. Our highways used to be dusty and narrow, now Aquino Avenue is the most beautiful highway in the country. Before, we didn’t have a circumferential road, no convention center, but now, we even have more bridges and passenger terminals,” he said.
Iloilo owes its progress to the Aquino administration, Drilon suggested.
“We have more coming, but we need continuity for Iloilo to prosper even further. Without Mar Roxas, I will be useless in the Senate," Drilon said.
Incumbent Iloilo City Congressman Jerry Trenas, who started his political career in the city in 1986, recalled how he last joined a rally at the plaza:
“The last time I rallied at Plazoleta Gay was in 1986, I was still young then. It was a rally in support of President Cory Aquino. We filled the streets that day, but we have filled it even more today,” Trenas said.
Trenas noted that so much is at stake in the 2016 elections.
“I fear those who claim that they will close the Congress, kill people to solve our problems, and support revolutionary governments. However, I am confident that if we, Ilonggos, are called to fight for our democracy, we will be at the forefront of the battle.”
Daog na ta!
Meanwhile, incumbent city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, danced on stage, chanting “Daog na ta (We have won)!" with LP’s bets for the city council.
“We are Iloilo, we are proud to be Filipinos. Together we stand for Iloilo, together we will stand for the Philippines. We, Ilonggos, are intelligent voters, so I believe we will vote for the most qualified and decent leaders. Together, Ilonggos will support their fellow Ilonggos,” Mabilog said when it was his turn to speak.
He took pride in the development of Iloilo City, praising Trenas and Drilon as the architects of Iloilo City’s development.
“We have done so much, but there’s so much more we can still do,” he said.
Mabilog, now on his second term as mayor, is expecting a third win, which he hopes will extend to LP's national candidates.
Roxas is trailing behind current front runner Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Poe, while Robredo is second to front runner Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Iloilo City has 461 clustered precincts and 481, 430 registered voters while Iloilo province has 44 municipalities with a total of 1,347, 514 registered voters. – with reports from other Rappler Movers in Iloilo City: Gem Rose Cavalida, Kim Rojas, and Michael Angelo Fandagani/Rappler.com
Russel Jude Patina is Rappler's lead Mover in Iloilo.