LAOAG CITY, Philippines – Ilocos Norte’s favorite son and presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. came home to his home province on Wednesday, February 16, where he pummeled on the “unity” thrust learned during his various terms as provincial official.
Marcos Jr., speaking on the Paoay sand dunes where the motorcade that traversed 100 kilometers from the northern town of Pagudpud culminated, reminisced on his time in the province where he learned the “concept of unity.”
“Naging maliwanag lang sa aking pag-iisip tungkol sa napakahalagang konsepto ng pagkakaisa noong ako’y nagtratrabaho na dito sa Ilocos Norte,” said Marcos Jr as he spoke to a fired-up crowd of at least 25,000 based from the headcount of local police.
Marcos Jr. first sat as vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980 at the age of 23. The sitting president of the country at that time was his father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
He was later elected as governor of the province in 1983 and held the post until 1986. From 1998 to 2007, he was reelected as Ilocos Norte governor.
“Ngayon lang ang naging pagkakataon namin na pumunta sa Ilocos Norte. Dapat hindi niyo na ako dinadala sa Ilocos Norte, dahil ‘pag nasa Ilocos Norte ako, ayoko na umalis,” said Marcos in jest even though he had been described as a “perennial absentee governor” by locals.
He cited how his fellow Ilocanos have shown him that “unity” is the solution for development and in improving the lives of Filipinos, adding that he wants to replicate this across the country.
Marcos Jr claimed that the message that he and his running mate Sara Duterte were presenting had become a movement.
He noted that the economic crisis and the pandemic faced by the country at present could be solved by a “movement of unity.”
The candidate has faced criticism for repeatedly evoking unity in his campaign speeches without clear and detailed plans and directions.
Marcos urged his province mates to support Duterte, saying she would help ensure the fulfillment of their common vision for the Philippines to “rise up again.”
Marcos Jr.’s grand homecoming in the province was also an opportunity to show force for the candidacy of his eldest son, Sandro Marcos.
The 27-year-old Marcos scion is up against another member of a formidable political family in the local scene, reelectionist Ria Fariñas, the daughter of veteran politician Rudy Fariñas.
After he was introduced by his son for his campaign speech, Marcos Jr. said he was thrilled to watch Sandro for the first time engaging in public speaking.
“Puwede nang gawing congressman,” said Marcos Jr. in jest, proclaiming that his son is ready for his first foray into politics, even though it is no easy feat as his son is not running unopposed.
While Marcos Jr. has repeatedly cited his desire to unify the country, local residents in Marcos Jr.’s home turf are divided due to the rivalries among the Marcoses and the Fariñases for top elective posts. – Rappler.com
John Michael Mugas is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.