MANILA (UPDATED) — Former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio led Sunday the launching of their 2022 campaign headquarters in Tagum City, Davao del Norte days after confirming they are running in tandem for president and vice president, respectively.
The two, calling their tandem 'Uniteam', engaged their supporters, joining the last part of a caravan and distributing some souvenirs, with Duterte-Carpio disclosing that what made her decide to team up with Marcos was his experience as governor for four terms, a congressman and a senator.
Days after the two confirmed their tandem, President Rodrigo Duterte, the father of Duterte-Carpio, called Marcos a "spoiled" and "weak leader". Duterte is backing the presidential bid of his longtime aide, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go.
"I confidently believe nga iyang experience nga mao na iyang magtabang sa iya sa pagkapangulo sa Pilipinas," Duterte-Carpio said of her 64-year-old running mate.
(I confidently believe that his experience will help him as President of the Philippines.)
The Marcos camp has not yet reacted to Duterte's latest remark, but Duterte-Carpio has called on her supporters to “protect Marcos.”
“Kailangan masigurado natin na maprotektahan ang ating pagsuporta, protektahan natin ang ating kandidato, protektahan natin si BBM,” Duterte-Carpio said.
(We need to ensure that we protect our support, protect our candidate, protect Bongbong Marcos.)
“Often times in life we find ourselves to be the leader,” the Davao City Mayor said.
“But sometimes in our lives, we need to stand behind another leader,” she added.
Duterte-Carpio, 43, is running under Lakas-CMD, which she now chairs along with the Davao-based Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional party, while Marcos is under Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.
The Davao City mayor said she accepted the offer to run as vice president because she realized she can help Filipinos in need.
The presidential bid of Marcos is being challenged by some groups over his tax evasion conviction a few decades ago. His camp describes the disqualification petition as a nuisance.
Marcos' critics also mention the administration of his father, which was mostly through martial rule, marred with allegations of human rights violations and corruption. The family had either dismissed or downplayed the allegations.
Aside from the one in Davao del Norte, separate caravans were also held by supporters of Marcos in Ilocos Norte, Bataan, and Negros Occidental on Sunday.
Marcos said that compared to other caravans happening around the country, the Davao del Norte caravan is different as it is the place where change started and unity begins.
In a statement released by Marcos' camp, the two aspirants said they would make Mindanao " the country's food basket" to help the area recover from the pandemic.
"Malakas ang potensiyal ng Mindanao dahil sa mayaman nitong lupa at magandang klima," the duo said.
(Mindanao has a strong potential because of its rich land and has good climate.)
They cited Bukidnon as an example, which, according to them, is a major producer of rice, corn and sugarcane.
The tandem added that Mindanao also had the potential to strengthen the country's agricultural exports.
ISKO'S 'BILIS KILOS'
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, the standard bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko, said his “Bilis Kilos” agenda of governance in can be replicated all over the entire country.
“Nasa pandemya tayo. Ang buhay at kinabukasan ng tao ang nakasalalay. Kaya naisip ko na kung ano ang ginawa natin sa Maynila, ganun din ang gagawin natin sa buong bansa,” Domagoso said in a recent radio interview, according to a statement from his camp.
(We are in a pandemic. The lives and future of the people are at stake. That's why I though that what we did in Manila City, we will also implement in the entire country.)
The agenda include Domagoso's mass housing project, the construction of a COVID-19 field hospital and a new Ospital ng Maynila, the provision of free antigen testing and free remdisivir and Tocilizumab for COVID patients, and delivery of relief goods, his camp said.
"I will devote the first two years of my administration towards reinforcing our health system to best cope with the pandemic... even as we do everything to revive and rehabilitate our economy, to create more jobs, more business and more opportunity," he said.
"We must build more and better health facilities while addressing problems of malnutrition and mental health."
The actor-turned-politician said he would provide gadgets and other school supplies to public school students nationwide, similar to what he did with learners in Manila.
Public school teachers will also be given laptops and internet connection, he added.
Domgaso said housing would become the new focus of "Build, Build, Build," the Duterte administration's infrastructure program.
He added that he would work with Congress to reduce taxes on petroleum and electricity.
BONG GO'S STAND ON VACCINATION, NTF-ELCAC
Go, for his part, reiterated his appeal to grant cash incentives to beneficiaries of the government's conditional cash transfer program once they get vaccinated against COVID-19, amid proposals to make inoculation mandatory.
He also stands by his position to back the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) after its budget was slashed by the Senate due to unexplained spending this year.
Vice President Leni Robredo meanwhile said she was not bothered by her survey numbers and acknowledged that she needs to work hard to improve them.
Robredo was a far second to Marcos in the survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations.
If elected, Robredo said she will run after the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, and let the rule of law run its course with regards with former First Lady Marcos’ graft conviction.
"Whether kung si Imelda Marcos yan or kung sino ka man na tao, kung ano ang sinasabi ng batas, kailangan sundin," Robredo said in an interview with Korina Sanchez.
(Whether it’s Imelda Marcos or some other person, what the law says should be followed.)
Supporters of Robredo from various municipalities in the Caraga region served lugaw to residents.
In Butuan, Robredo's supporters also gave out pink puto and put up a freedom a freedom wall where residents could air their concerns.
Robredo is seeking the presidency as an independent candidate even though she belongs to the Liberal Party.
PING ON A BREAK
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who recently visited Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea days after the Chinese Coast Guard blocked and used water cannon on Filipino supply boats at the Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), spent the day in his home province, according to his social media post.
The final list of candidates for the May 9, 2022 elections will be released in the coming weeks, according to the Comelec. The campaign period for national aspirants officially begins on Feb. 8, 2021.
— With reports from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News; and from Hernel Tocmo, Grace Alba, Gracie Rutao, Romeo Subaldo, and Charmane Awitan