MANILA, Philippines – There will be no rest for Liberal Party (LP) candidates and supporters beginning Tuesday, February 9, the start of a grueling 3-month-long campaign period for the 2016 elections.
The opening salvo will be in Capiz, the home province of its standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas II, followed by Iloilo, the home province of LP vice chair Senate President Franklin Drilon.
LP bets will then go back to the National Capital Region (NCR), to join a League of Municipalities (LMP) event in Manila.
The last stop for the week, according to various sources from the ruling party, will be Bicol, the home province of vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Represenative Leni Robredo.
Parties conventionally launch their campaigns in areas or provinces where a huge chunk of registered voters live. But this isn’t exactly the case for the LP in 2016.
Capiz is far from the most vote-rich provinces in the coming polls. Capiz has less than half a million registered voters.
Iloilo and Camarines Sur have more to show with over a million registered voters for 2016 while the entire Bicol region is home to more than 3 million voters.
But it will be an emotional kick-off for the ruling party’s presidential and vice presidential bets.
Roxas began his political career in the early 90s as representative of the province, taking on the role of politician after his younger brother, former Capiz Representative Gerardo “Dinggoy” Roxas, Jr, died of cancer. (READ: Mar Roxas: The long road to endorsement)
The capital of the province, Roxas City, is a tribute to the LP standard-bearer’s grandfather and namesake, the late president Manuel Roxas.
Robredo is the widow of the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, who was mayor of Naga City, a component city of Camarines Sur, for over two decades. She joined politics in 2013, after Robredo died in a tragic plane crash off the coast of Masbate. (READ: Leni Robredo: Low-key political wife goes national)
President Benigno Aquino III, chairman of the LP, is expected to join his chosen candidates in their planned kick-off events.
The President’s presence in the kick-off and his support during the entire stretch of the campaign is crucial for the LP-led coalition’s bets.
The “Daang Matuwid” coalition’s campaign is hinged on the promise of continuing and strengthening the programs and reforms of Aquino’s administration. “Daang Matuwid” is the LP’s tagline for its good governance, transparency, and anti-corruption platform.
It will be a daunting 3 months ahead for both Roxas and Robredo who started off with disappointing numbers in early preference polls. The two registered a low of 4 percentage points in early surveys – Roxas in 2014 and Robredo up until she finally announced her vice presidential plans.
The latest polls place them at either 3rd of 4th in the race.
But if the LP members and allies are to be believed, Aquino will provide both the much-needed political and star power in the 2016 campaign. (READ: Aquino ready to campaign; ‘happy’ with Mar, Leni’s numbers)
Aquino earlier said he would go all-out in campaign for his anointed candidates. – Rappler.com