TAGUM CITY—The city of Tagum, Davao del Norte turned pink on Thursday night as Vice President Leni Robredo continued her presidential campaign a month away from the elections.
A few weeks after securing the support of former House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Robredo returned to Tagum to hold the "Reporma" campaign rally.
Tagum City government estimated the number of attendees at 35,000, showing Robredo's growing influence in the home region of President Rodrigo Duterte and vice-presidential candidate Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Prior to Robredo's arrival, Davaoeños eagerly waited amid the rains. Davaoeña Isabelita Antonio and her "Davao for Leni" group brought Robredo's standee, saying it adds to the candidates' visibility.
She believes Robredo will win in Davao Region following support from Davao del Norte's officials, including Governor Edwin Jubahib.
"She's the only one qualified," Antonio says.
First-time voters Renan Sumalinog and Irlich Christian Edullantes, who sported Robredo's trademark pink color, are also excited to vote for her.
"Nagpopost kami sa social media para makilala pa siya," Edullantes said.
Sumalinog meanwhile said he's confident Robredo's numbers in Davao Region will grow.
In the 2016 elections, Robredo lost in Davao del Norte placing only third, next to rivals Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr..
Alvarez himself introduced Robredo, saying "Gising na ang Mindanao" and even hyped the crowd by chanting "Leni! Leni!"
In her speech, Robredo said she does not look at political colors when she's in office.
"Sa Davao Region talong-talo kami noong eleksyon, kaya ko siya sinasabi dahil sa oras na kailangan kami, palagi kaming nandito. Lahat ng sakuna nandito kami, lahat ng bagyo may relief operations kami," she said.
She promised to love the region and serve its people once elected in the highest office of the land.
"'Yung pagmamahal ko sa pinanggalingan kong probinsya, ganon din pagmamahal ko sa inyo," she said.
Alvarez, a former Duterte ally, took many people by surprise after voicing support for Robredo.
Alvarez, a key leader of Partido Reporma, initially endorsed presidential bet Panfilo "Ping" Lacson. He pivoted his support to Robredo, earlier citing Lacson's poor showing in pre-election surveys
However, he continues to support Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Lacson's running mate, for vice president.
Pangilinan was not present at the Tagum rally.
Several stars graced the program, including Magandang Buhay host Melai Cantiveros, Tawag ng Tanghalan finalist John Mark Saga, and BL star Adrian Lindayag.