ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Davao City Mayor and Lakas-CMD vice presidential aspirant Sara Duterte flew solo without her running mate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as she courted local officials in Iloilo City on Tuesday, December 14.
Duterte praised Iloilo City while at the Philippine Councilors’ League-Iloilo (PCL-Iloilo) convention, saying that the city was “an inspiration for innovating public service.”
“We are always being beaten in all recognitions and awards. Iloilo City always wins. In bike lanes and in digital tourism, we always lose. Iloilo City always wins. That is why when me and my city administrator discuss ways to improve Davao City, we always benchmark Iloilo because [the city] is always forward-thinking and always has innovative ways to serve the public,” she said.
The Davao mayor was referring to the recent Mobility Awards, where Iloilo City won as the country’s best bike-friendly city, and the Tourism Pearl Award for the almost-all-digital 2021 Dinagyang Festival.
She also explained why she threw her hat in the ring, citing the clamor for her to run as president in the 2022 elections, and the fact that her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, ultimately did not run for the second-top job.
“When the supporters saw that I didn’t run for president, the calls intensified. People told me they felt abandoned because they focused at me. A group approached me and told me that the people want a Duterte. I said no to [running for] president, why would I say no [to running for vice president] this time?” she said.
She likewise vouched for Marcos, noting his executive experience as Ilocos Norte governor and in legislative as a one-term representative and one-term senator.
“Sometimes, in our lives, we need to stand on the shoulders of another leader, and for me, that is [Marcos]. Because as a voter, I want the person presenting to be the next president would have experience in an executive position,” she said.
She also attended provincial-wide meetings of the League of Mayors and League of Vice-Mayors, where she was warmly received by the local chief executives.
Guimbal town mayor Jennifer Garin-Colada posted to her Facebook, expressing being starstruck with Duterte.
In the photo was her brother, former 1st district representative Richard Garin, who is now running for Miagao town mayor under Duterte’s Lakas-CMD.
Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte revealed her senatorial endorsements, which included her father, who later in the day withdrew his senatorial bid at the COMELEC central office in Manila.
As of this writing, neither Sara nor anyone in her camp has made any statement as to her father’s withdrawal.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas thanked Duterte for her praise of the city, saying that he was “pleased”.
“I am very pleased that a fellow public servant, Mayor Sara, has recognized our tireless initiative to ensure that we give the best for our beloved people despite the challenges brought by the pandemic,” the mayor said in a Facebook post.
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist from Iloilo City and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.