SAMAR, Philippines – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Monday, February 14, urged supporters in this province and neighboring Northern Samar to use their own resources in campaigning for their candidates in the May 2022 elections.
Perhaps taking note of how Eastern Visayas mayors have marveled at grassroots donations for Vice President and rival presidential candidate Leni Robredo, Moreno told supporters in Catbalogan, the provincial capital, “Lubusin niyo na. Gastusan niyo na kami,” he said. (Give it your all and spend money on us.)
Speaking at a town hall meeting at the provincial covered court, Moreno appealed: “‘Di ba gusto niyo ng kakaiba? Eh ‘di ibahin natin. Dati, ‘yung politiko ang gumagastos sa botante. Baguhin natin ngayon, kayo naman ang mamuhunan sa kandidato.”
(You want something different, right? Let’s try something different. Before, politicians spend on voters. Now, let’s change it by you trying to invest on us)
Thousands came to the Nijaga Park where he held the town hall after paying a courtesy visit to Mayor Diego Rivera.
But at the provincial covered court, supporters did not fill the half venue free for events. Only only Samar board member Bembot Bermejo was around to personally welcome the Manila mayor.
That did not dampen Moreno’s energy. He encouraged his supporters to go out of their way and use their own resources to campaign for him, his running mate, Dr. Willie Ong, and his senatorial slate.
“Text niyo na, sabihin niyo iboto nila Isko at Doc WIllie. Magkano ‘yun? Piso lang. ‘Pag naka unli, marami pa kayong matatext. Kaya? Naman!” he said.
(You text them and tell them to vote for Isko and Doc Willie. How much is that? That’s only one peso. Now, if you’re subscribed to an unli promo, you could text more people. Can you do it? Of course!)
The crowd didn’t seem to get him and failed to react to his message.
“Oh, eh di natahimik kayo,” said Moreno, who laughed good naturedly at the result of his effort. (So, that silenced you.)
Hundreds of supporters met him upon arriving in Calbayog for a two-day visit to Samar and Northern Samar, his first to the Visayas since the campaign period officially started on February 9.
He went around for a motorcade with his running mate and senatorial aspirants Jopet Sison, Carl Balita, and Samira Gutoc.
“Gusto namin ang maging jumping area namin is Samar. Kasi ito ‘yung lugar ng nanay ko,” Moreno told reporters during an interview in Calbayog on February 14.
Moreno’s mother Rosario Moreno was from the town of Allen in Northern Samar. His father Joaquin Domagoso, on the other hand, was from Antique.
Moreno said it is high-time to elect a Waray president, claiming Samar has not elected a single government leader at the national level for the past sixty years.
He attributed that to the lack of infrastructure projects in the province.
“For the past sixty years, walang na-elect dito on a national level — walang senator ’to, walang vice president ‘to, wala pa kayong presidente. 60 years mahigit. (For the past sixty years, no Waray has been elected to the national level — no senator, vice president, or president. That’s more than 60 years) I think the last time was in the 1950s,” he said.
It is unclear who Moreno was referring to, although the most notable official during that time was the late senate president Jose Avelino who hailed from Calbayog. Avelino served as senator from 1946 to 1951.
“My point is, baka napapanahon na itong mga Waray-Waray nating kababayan — kahit anong kulay nila sa lokal — baka pwede niyong pagkaisahan ‘yung anak ng Waray,” he said. (My point is, maybe it’s time to unite as one — regardless of political color — and elect a son of a Waray)
But another Waray-blooded candidate is gunning for president — frontrunner Bongbong Marcos Jr. — whose bailiwick in his maternal side of the family is the province of Leyte.
In 2016, Marcos won over Robredo in Eastern Visayas with nearly 38,000 votes. But it is important to note that in the per-province results in the region, Marcos only won in Leyte and Biliran.
Moreno also discussed his plans to bring to Samar the kind of infrastructure projects he built under his three-year administration as mayor of Manila such as healthcare facilities similar to the 10-story Bagong Ospital Ng Maynila. – Rappler.com
Lance Lim is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.