TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Around 50 students and youth leaders from around Eastern Visayas paraded around downtown Tacloban, shouting chants and campaigning for their presidential bet Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, during the Walk for Miriam campaign on Thursday, May 5.
Youth for Miriam Head Jonas Lavarrete said the activity aims to encourage Tacloban residents to support the senator’s candidacy. (READ: The Leader I Want: Miriam Santiago’s to-fix list for 2016)
“Our purpose is to show the Filipino people that Miriam is the true candidate that can make our country progress,” Lavarrete stated.
Asked why they are voting for Santiago, Lavarrete said the senator possesses “intelligence, honesty, and a clean track record.” He added: “Of all the candidates, she’s the only one you cannot criticize with any unpleasant issue.”
“Batas, hindi dahas!” (Law, not violence!) was the battlecry of the young supporters.
Shorin Rio Daa, one of the participants, said that rule of law and due process should prevail and must be equally given to everyone. They made it the theme of their campaign since this is always emphasized by Santiago, he added. (READ: Does Miriam Santiago own the youth vote?)
“What we mean by ‘Batas, hindi Dahas’ is that to solve criminality, killing is not the solution. We need the rule of law, and due process that should be given even if the person is convicted a criminal,” he said.
Strong impact, immediate conversion
Lemuel John Sabinada, coordinator of the Miriam Voters Philippines (MVP) in Leyte and Samar, is convinced that many voters will convert to their candidate come election day.
“We seldom saw Miriam throughout the campaign period. But when she was on television (during the last debate), her impact was very strong. Many were converted. Aside from campaigning for her online, we conduct these kinds of activity,” Sabinada said. (READ: Despite pauses in debate, Miriam still ‘strong’ bet among youth)
On why Santiago is the leader he wants, Sabinada replied, “For me, Miriam has everything. Considering all the qualities of the 4 candidates, even if you join them all together, it only takes Miriam to beat it. It’s like Miriam is already a complete package. With her experience in government, she knows how to lead it.”
He added: “The leader I want is someone who is not only good in the local and national setting, but can also compete in the international arena. If she will be our leader, she will elevate the country’s present status.”
Another supporter, Anna Morales, admires Santiago’s determination to change the status quo in the country. Being a Yolanda survivor, she holds on for hope in the senator.
“She’s the one who can really change the government. During Yolanda, I lost hope. It was like back to zero. As to Miriam, we all know that she’s sick and we turn out hopeless. But she’s determined, and we are also determined that everything can change.”
Sabinada added: “Win or lose, Santiago’s still a victor for us because the real failure is the Filipino people. If Miriam will not win, it’s our countrymen who are defeated. The ones who voted for her are the winners.” – with a report from Jene-Anne Pangue/Rappler.com
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