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CEBU CITY, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe, who is running for president, will make more visits to the vote-rich province of Cebu in the 7 weeks left until the May 9 elections.
By doing so, Poe and her running mate, Senator Francis Escudero, will see and hear first-hand what the people need, as well as win their support, said their campaign manager, Cebu 5th District Representative Ace Durano.
Just recently, the Durano family ended months of speculations when they announced that they are supporting Poe and Escudero.
Ace is allied with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), as well as Bakud or Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya, a local political party led by his family.
Danao City Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano, founder and chairman emeritus of Bakud, said it was a difficult decision, considering all the candidates are his friends.
Bakud has coalesced at the local level with the Liberal Party (LP), whose standard-bearer is Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Another presidential candidate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban, is a Durano relative.
“He (Duterte) has supporters here but as I said, the party will really work hard for the candidacies of senators Poe and Escudero,” Nito said. “I can say that with the commitment of the party, we will do our very best to make them win this coming elections in the district.”
The northern Cebu district’s lone city and 10 towns have 328,514 registered voters this year. More than a quarter of them are in Danao City, where the Duranos have dominated politics for nearly a century.
During their visits to different places, particularly far-flung areas, Ace said he saw Poe and Escudero win people over. Earlier in March, the tandem visited Samboan town in southern Cebu and went trekking to a waterfall. (Ace Durano served as tourism secretary during the presidency of Gloria Arroyo.)
Aside from the Duranos of the 5th district, the Espinosa family in Toledo City in the 3rd district has also announced its support for Poe and Escudero. The Espinosas were the first political clan in Cebu to announce their support for the two candidates.
Former Toledo City Mayor Arlene “Daydee” Espinosa-Zambo said that Poe and Escudero were the first national candidates who sought their help.
The Espinosas are known allies of One Cebu, whose candidate for Cebu governor, Winston Garcia, earlier announced that the group is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance. (One Cebu recently dissolved their alliance with UNA. – Editors)
To prove their support, Zambo said they will include the names of Poe and Escudero in their sample ballots.
“Among buhaton ang unsa’y mabuhat namo,” Zambo said. (We will do everything we can.)
In the 2010 presidential elections, the family supported former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, who was then the administration party’s candidate.
Among towns and cities in Cebu, Toledo City has the 3rd largest number of voters. In the May 9, 2016, elections, records from the Commission on Elections show that there are 103,658 registered voters in Toledo. – Rappler.com