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Roxas campaigns in Duterte territory

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Straight to the lion’s den.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II on Tuesday, March 8, takes his campaign to the home region of a friend-turned-foe he is constantly at odds with. Roxas will be campaigning in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental, provinces in the Davao Region. 

Home to over 2.6 million registered voters for the 2016 elections, the region is the bailiwick of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Roxas’ erstwhile friend and now rival in a tight 4-way presidential race.

 

Roxas lost in all provinces here during his vice-presidential bid in 2010, which Jejomar Binay won.

Today, based on the latest Laylo survey, Duterte is the dominant choice in the Davao Region, with 79% saying they would vote for the Davao mayor, while 11% claiming they would go for Roxas. Only 2% of those surveyed by Laylo said they would pick Binay.

Roxas is set to visit a banana cooperative in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, meet local and barangay officials in Tagum City, join the founding anniversary of Compostella Valley in Nabunturan, before ending the day with another assembly in Mati, Davao Oriental.

Roxas’ visit to Davao happens days after he, alongside running mate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo and party chairman President Benigno Aquino III, barnstormed the vote-rich province of Cebu in a series of sorties and proclamation rallies.

Cebu was a Roxas stronghold in 2010, where he won big during his failed bid for the vice presidency. But Cebu province is now said to also favor Duterte.

According to the Laylo survey, 40% of voters in Central Visayas, which Cebu province is a part of, would vote for Duterte. Roxas was a distant second with 28%.

Mindanao for Duterte

The entire Mindanao is where Duterte lords over all other contenders for the presidency. Close to half of those surveyed in the Laylo poll said they would vote for Duterte. Roxas followed with a distant 20%. 

Roxas and Duterte have had an interesting relationship since the 2016 campaign period heated up. The Davao mayor accused Roxas of being behind rumors he had cancer, a claim Roxas denied. 

The fight escalted when Roxas dismissed as a myth claims that Davao City was the country's safest. Duterte countered by saying he would slap Roxas should their paths cross in the campaign.

This triggered a series of verbals jabs and sucker punches through media interviews, before dying down by the time 2016 kicked in. 

Recently, Duterte has been aggressive in hitting Roxas, accusing him of incompetence and of misusing funds meant for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) rehabilitation. Roxas has thus far refused to respond to Duterte's latest tirades. – Rappler.com