ILOILO CITY, Philippines—With less than two weeks left in the campaign, presidential candidate and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso believes he can still win voters in the Western Visayas region despite trailing behind Vice President Leni Robredo and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Speaking to the press in Jordan, Guimaras, Domagoso said a provincial capitol employee had approached to say there is a “silent majority” rooting for him in the election.
Domagoso, mentioning an incident in October when a Robredo supporter tried a “cancel” campaign against a restaurant that hosted Marcos, said maybe most people don’t show their preference to avoid the political noise.
“I didn’t work in Quiapo [as a fortune-teller], Domagoso joked.
“I couldn’t predict what will come out of the election results. I don’t want to pre-empt the people,” he said.
“What is important is that I am here. I will soften the bulalo of Guimaras. I will court [voters]. Isn’t that what we candidates should be doing,” Moreno said.
“We will show you our sheer will to win, and it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and there’s a God,” the mayor stated.
The Manila mayor said he went to Guimaras because their team felt that the island was neglected in national election campaigns, claiming that he was first to visit the island.
Robredo held a caravan and rally on the island on February 26.
“No one is paying attention to them [Guimaras], but I wanted them to feel that no matter how big or small, we will go there as much as we can. Doc Willie and I as well as our team want to be able to make people feel the importance of every municipality, town, mountain, [and] island.” he said.
Moreno praised Guimaras’ self-reliance, citing its billion-dollar mango and other food exports and renewable energy through the San Lorenzo Wind Farm.
Pulse Asia’s March 2022 survey showed Moreno bagging only 10% of respondents in Western Visayas, with Robredo leading the region with 49% and Marcos with 26%.
The Domagoso campaign is set to barnstorm another vote-rich province in the region, Negros Occidental, on Friday, April 28.
In the 2016 elections, Domagoso landed in the top 12 of the senatorial elections in Guimaras with just over 19,000 votes, behind Manny Pacquiao who had more than 29,000 and ahead of Ping Lacson who had only more than 16,000.
Robredo won the island province in the vice presidential race with over 56,000 votes against second-place Marcos Jr. who got around 7,800 votes. In the 2019 senatorial race, Ka Leody De Guzman won only over 800 votes.— Rappler.com
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.