PUERTO PRINCESA CITY – Presidential candidate Leni Robredo and running mate Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan made the trip to the Baywalk Park here Wednesday after a rally in Occidental Mindoro.
Supporters gathered at the park as early as 9 a.m., under the sweltering heat which gave way to a sudden downpour later in the afternoon.
Despite the rain, the crowd stayed until 8 p.m. when Robredo finally went onstage, fresh from her trip in Mindoro.
To Palaweños, Robredo's promise was to protect the country's "last ecological frontier."
"Ang lalawigan ninyo napakaganda. SIgurado akong proud kayo na Palaweño kayo," Robredo told a cheering crowd.
"Kapag kami po ni Senator Kiko ang inyong tinulungan, ang priority po natin dito talagang proteksyon ng kalikasan."
(Senator Kiko and I will prioritize protecting the environment in Palawan.)
Palawan island is the westernmost province of the country, part of the more than 1,700 islands called the Palawan Biosphere Reserve, according to the UNESCO.
The more than 1.1 million hectares of the reserve is home to 105 out of the 475 threatened species in the Philippines.
Of these, 67 are endemic to the Philippines, and 42 of the 67 are endemic to Palawan.
Palawan is also home to the largest remaining mangrove cover in the country, covering over 44,000 hectares of coast.
Robredo said prioritizing Palawan's environment means prioritizing its people.
"Kapag atin pong inalagaan ang kalikasan, ang balik din niyan sa inyo," she said.
"'Yung kabuhayan para 'wag magutom, 'yung proteksyon ng ating mga buhay, 'yung pinagkukunan ng iba't ibang mga yamang-lupa at yamang-dagat na tayo rin ang magbebenepisyo."
(We will benefit from taking care of the environment. It will protect our lives, and ensure livelihoods from the resources it provides.)
But Robredo said she and Pangilinan, whose platform is thrust by agricultural reform, cannot do it alone.
"Mangyayari lang po ang lahat ng pangarap natin sa bayan natin 'pag tayo ay magtutulung-tulungan."
(We can only reach our goals when we work together.)
Robredo in 2016 won the vice presidential election over Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., earning 44.61 percent of the province's votes, according to data gathered and processed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
Marcos got 93,647 votes in 2016 here, just over half of Robredo's 183,884.
Robredo thanked the crowd for standing for hours through the heat and the rain, and volunteers who helped make the event happen.
"Kung hindi kayo inspired, magpapabasa ba kayo ng ulan? Magtitiyga ba kayo na ala-una pa lang nandito na kayo? Pero ginagawa niyo 'yun dahil alam niyong may pupuntahan ang sakripisyo ninyo."
(If you are not inspired and hopeful, would you have stayed under the rain since early in the afternoon? You do it because you know your sacrifice will pay off.)
She said it was a testament to the trust they had in the kind of government she and her tandem with Pangilinan promises.
"Ang taumbayan tutulong lang siya, aambag lang siya 'pag may tiwala siya sa kanyang pamahalaan."
(The people will always be inspired to help and be productive members of society when they trust the government.)
Palawan has the highest number of registered voters among the five provinces in MIMAROPA, with over 746,000 registered for the May 9 polls.