Marcos starts courting Mindanao to boost his numbers

Patty Pasion
Marcos starts courting Mindanao to boost his numbers
Bongbong Marcos' Mindanao sorties start in Soccsksargen, where his voter preference rating is at 14% compared to Francis Escudero's 27%

SOUTH COTABATO, Philippines – After sweeping through several provinces in Luzon, vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr started his campaign in Mindanao on Wednesday, March 9.

The vice presidential candidate, still doing sorties without his standard-bearer Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, spent the first day of his Mindanao leg in General Santos City and South Cotabato province – both in Soccsksargen, where his voter preference rating is at a low of 14% compared to his strongest rival Senator Francis Escudero, who is at 27% in the region.

Overall in Mindanao, Marcos’ rating is at 16%, compared to Escudero’s 29%. 

Accompanied by Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Lagdameo, Marcos was received warmly by the local chief executives of General Santos City and the South Cotabato towns of Polomolok, Tupi, Tantangan, and T’boli. 

The crowd reception, however, was not as overwhelming as in his sorties in Luzon. Only in the municipalities of Tupi and T’boli was the son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos had large crowds welcoming him.

Locals in Tupi said many Ilocanos have migrated to South Cotabato. The T’boli community, meanwhile, said they were grateful to Marcos’ father for enacting the law that created the municipality named after their tribe. 


LP intervention?

Word got around that the administration Liberal Party (LP) was monitoring the mayors of South Cotabato if they would take part in Marcos’ visit. The vice presidential candidate, who chairs the Senate committee on local government, shrugged it off. 

“Nag-commit sila ng suporta nila. Kung pigilan man sila ng kabilang [kampo] o hindi, gagawin pa rin nila ‘yung trabaho ng pagkampanya o pagtulong na kanilang ipinangako,” Marcos told reporters. (They committed their support. Even If the other camp barred them or not, they will still do their job to campaign or help deliver what they promised.) 

Most residents we asked in the areas that Marcos visited said they will vote for LP presidential bet, Manuel Roxas II, but was silent about his running mate Leni Robredo.

Peace, agriculture, education

Asked what can he do for the people in Mindanao, Marcos cited the strides he made in creating the substitute bill to the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law. 

He said he will continue pushing for peace in Mindanao because this is the key to attracting investors in the so-called Land of Promises.


  • Mindanao: 12,628,265
  • Soccsksargen: 2,086,112 
  • Soccsksargen vote : 16.5% of whole Mindanao vote, 4% of national votes


“Sa buong mundo, kinikilala na potensyal talaga ang Mindanao basta hindi masyadong magulo at naglalaban pa ang militar,” he told the local media. (All over the globe, Mindanao’s potential is recognized. [What they worry about] is war and military offensives.) 

But beyond peace, some residents of the province appeal for help in strengthening agriculture and education. 

“Ang number one problem dito [ng farmers], nahihirapan silang magtanim dahil walang ulan. Sana masuportahan kami ng patubig,” farmer Christopher Alfonso told Rappler. (The number one problem of farmers here is they are having a hard time planting because there is no rain. [I hope] they can support us with an irrigation system.) 

Jomaica Tawod of T’boli town said, “Iyong edukasyon po ng kabataan po gusto namin na tulungan kami para makatapos ng pag-aaral ang mga anak namin.” (We want them to help us with our children’s education so that they can finish their studies.) 


Where’s the anti-Marcos crowd?

Earlier in the day, in General Santos City, the anti-Marcos group that vowed to “haunt” Marcos Jr’s campaign made its presence felt at his sortie.

Less than 10 members of the Coalition Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang (Carmma) rallied during Marcos’ short speech to about 100 college students gathered at the city’s Oval Gym. 


“Kung nalaman lang sana natin na darating si Marcos ay nag-mobilize na tayo ng marami. Ngayon lang natin nalaman na darating pala si Bongbong kaya medyo madalian ang pagpoprotesta natin,” protester Ryan Lariba told reporters. (If we knew earlier that Marcos would be here, we could have mobilized more members. We learned only today that Marcos was coming.)

The group failed to interrupt the senator’s sortie as some of his staff tried to stop the small protest. 

Recent surveys show a strengthening national support for bid of the son and namesake of former President Ferdinand Marcos. He is still tied with poll frontrunner Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero in both Pulse Asia and Manila Standard surveys for March. (READ: Why Bongbong Marcos might win as VP) –




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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.