Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., visited Cebu City on Friday, October 22, for his first local trip aside from his hometown Ilocos Norte since filing his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president.
And while meeting with Cebu media, Marcos, son of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, immediately promised the Cebuanos he would bring their province back its prominence.
“Cebu can return to its prominence not just a second city but the former capital. Because we need to move (or) decentralize Metro Manila,” Marcos told local media.
Aside from decentralizing Metro Manila, Marcos also said that he was also seeking to decentralize Cebu City since it “also has the same problem.”
Marcos said that the problems Cebu City is facing are “national in nature.” He said, “Things like power and of course, (COVID-19). Then, infrastructure. Cebu City has a very specific problem: traffic. Like all our big cities now.”
“But I think we can always count on Cebu (to be) the hub of economic development. (There’s) a new theory (now that states) urbanized centers will be a hub of economic development. (Like) an eco-zone. (But of course, the model is different.)” Marcos said.
Marcos inaugurated his headquarters in Cebu City and led the oath-taking of the local Partido Federal Pilipinas (PFP) officers. He is seeking the presidency under the PFP.
Cebu province is critical for all politicians seeking national positions.
According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Cebu province has at least 3.2 million voters registered as of September 2021, making it the most vote-rich province in the country.
Marcos also meet with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. “Cebu is very much a leader in terms of opinion-generation in this part of the country. In fact, it’s second only to, perhaps, Manila to the rest of the Philippines,” Marcos said during his courtesy call.
Marcos, though has his work cut out here.
During the 2016 vice presidential elections, he lost to Leni Robredo in the province of Cebu, and in the independent cities of Lapu-Lapu and Cebu. Marcos mustered 310,054 votes, while Robredo got 817,052.
For more than four years, Marcos questioned the results of the vice presidential race against Robredo, insisting that the elections in some provinces were marred by cheating.
In February 2021, however, the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, unanimously dismissed the protest that he filed against the sitting vice president.
Despite several attempts made by his camp to question the results of the 2016 elections, the SC has upheld the integrity of the automated election system. – Rappler.com
Art Lubiano is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.