2022 Philippine Elections

Robredo volunteers target at least 25% of Northern Mindanao voters

Froilan Gallardo
Robredo volunteers target at least 25% of Northern Mindanao voters

PINK RIBBONS. Political supporters wave pink ribbons as they launch the campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan's tandem in Cagayan de Oro on February 8, 2022

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

Winning at least 900,000 voters to their side won't be a walk in the park given their limited resources, but Robredo-Pangilinan supporters are optimistic that volunteerism would be the key to achieving their goal

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Volunteers for the presidential campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, February 8, said they were working to win more than 25% of Northern Mindanao’s voting population to her side.

That won’t be a walk in the park given their resources, but they shared the optimism of other Robredo supporters that volunteerism would be the key to achieving their goal.

With only pink party balloons and tarps, the supporters launched the campaign of Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in Cagayan de Oro, the regional center, amid difficulties in logistics.

Despite the small and scattered gatherings, they have been successful in a way to be the only political group in the city and Misamis Oriental that made noise, at least during Day 1 of the national campaign period.

The Robredo-Pangilinan volunteers bought their own fuel, balloons, and tarps used in a 50-vehicle motorcade that snaked through Opol town, Misamis Oriental, to their Leni-Kiko headquarters on JR Borja Street extension in Cagayan de Oro.

LABAN LENI. Flashing the L sign, a volunteer campaigns for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem along the Opol-Bulua diversion Road in Cagayan de Oro City on January 8, 2022. (Froilan Gallardo/Rappler)

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, who has set his eyes on gubernatorial comeback, led the Robredo-Pangilinan campaign launch in his hometown of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.

Such volunteerism is reminiscent of the presidential campaign of the late Corazon Aquino in the 1986 snap elections that helped spark the People Power Revolution against the Marcos regime.

But will this kind of volunteerism help Robredo and Pangilinan win the May 2022 elections?

Engineer Tony Requirme, one of the organizers of the Tuesday activities, said their challenge is to garner no less than 900,000 votes in Northern Mindanao, a target, which he admitted, “would be a struggle.”

“We have to resort to volunteerism to reach the marginalized sectors. That is our key to victory,” Requirme said.

Must Read

‘Kakampinks’ on people’s campaign for Robredo: ‘That’s her path to victory’

‘Kakampinks’ on people’s campaign for Robredo: ‘That’s her path to victory’

Requirme admitted that logistical and financial problems were adding to their challenge of organizing a grassroots campaign in the urban poor communities and far-flung villages in the five provinces and nine cities of Northern Mindanao.

Northern Mindanao registered 3,541,831 voters as of the 2016 elections, but the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said only 2,108,036 cast their ballots that year.

Rey Ranes Balandra, a barangay councilor in Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro, said most of the Robredo-Pangilinan volunteers in the city are from middle-class families who have started to reach out to the marginalized sectors like the public transport groups.

Joel Gabatan, a leader of the National Confederation of Transport Union in Northern Mindanao, said his group has organized public vehicle drivers to help in the key political battlegrounds in the city.

“Our drivers are told to ask their passengers sitting on the front seats to vote for Leni and Kiko. This would prove helpful,” Gabatan said.

But the Robredo-Pangilinan volunteers suffered a setback when Moreno’s endorsed mayoral aspirant, Representative Rolando Uy of the city’s 1st District, and his son, Vice Mayor Reineir Joaquin, decided to support the tandem of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The Uys are long-time political allies of Moreno, a supporter of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem. –Rappler.com

Froilan is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship