MANILA - The parties of Lakas-CMD and the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas officially proclaimed on Tuesday Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as their official bets in the 2022 May elections.
The event at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan saw the attendance of the tandem's senatorial slate as well as different personalities like former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, and Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson. Actress Toni Gonzaga hosted the gathering.
The Philippine Arena, one of the world's largest indoor arenas with an estimated seating capacity of more than 50,000, was estimated to have seated at least half that number as the Marcos Jr.'s camp sought to enforce health protocols.
At his campaign launch, Marcos Jr. promised to bring unity to the country as this is the supposed solution to the nation's ills.
"Kung pag-aaralan po natin ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas," Marcos said. "Lahat po nang nangyari sa atin, lahat po ng nangyari sa atin, lahat ng kahirapan na dumating, lahat ng sakuna na inabutan ng ating mahal na bansang Pilipinas, tayo po ay nakaraos laman dahil tayo ay nagkaisa."
The Philippine Arena rang with the echoes of the crowd chanting "BBM" during parts of Marcos Jr.'s speech, where he also called on people to continue what he called a "movement of unity".
"Kailangan na natin ibalik ang ating ugali na pagmamahal, ang ating ugali na makabayanihan. Hindi lamang sa larangan ng pulitika, kung hindi dapat na rin natin isabuhay ang ating pagmamahal at pagkakaisa sa ating lipunan. Yan po ang pangangailangan ngayon," he said.
Meanwhile, his running mate Duterte-Carpio promised her supporters that the Philippines will move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 3.6 million Filipinos and killed more than 54,000.
"The past two years have been very challenging for us. Dahil ano mang problema meron tayo noon, pinalala ito ng pandemya. Pero nandito pa din tayo, buo, buhay, at patuloy na lumalaban sa hamon at umaasa na may magandang kinabukasan na dadating," she said. "We will live with COVID, and we will bounce back like never before."
She praised Marcos Jr., explaining that she chose to be his running mate because of his abilities.
"Napatunayan na ito ng kanyang malawak na karanasan bilang local chief executive, at bilang legislator," she said. "The kind of experience we need not only to sustain the growth and development spurred by the current administration but also to bring a more prosperous future. We must protect President Bongbong Marcos."
Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas national president and South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo handled Marcos Jr. and Duterte's proclamations.
They also presented to the public their senatorial slate composed of House Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, former defense secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro, former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Senators Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian and Migz Zubiri.
Also present were lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, and former DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
Antique Representative Loren Legarda and Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan were not able to attend the event in-person. But Legarda still gave a video message, while Honasan's wife gave a message to the audience in his stead.