DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s health and education initiatives could make a deeper dent on the “Solid North”, supporters of the presidential aspirant said on Sunday, January 30.
Robredo youth supporter Kevin Conrad Ibasco expressed his awe at Robredo’s will to enter “hostile” Pangasinan, where Ferdinand Marcos Jr. trounced Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race.
“#LeniMatapang is a manifestation of how courageous Vice President Leni Robredo was to enter one of the provinces under the so-called ‘Solid North’, Ibasco said, using a hashtag used for Robredo’s January 30 visit to Alaminos City, the Lingayen Municipal Plaza and to San Manuel town and Dagupan City.
“She is defying the odds”, said Ibasco, who noted that the Vice President’s track record in helping find solutions to the two-year COVID-19 pandemic could improve her odds in Pangasinan, one of four provinces in Region 1 (the Ilocos Region).
Robredo led the launching of a community hub in Alos National High School in Alaminos City, followed by her inspection of the swab cab, which provides free antigen testing services to the public, at the Lingayen Municipal Plaza.
The Office of the Vice President taps the networks of private and multilateral organizations that trust it with dispensing aid.
The OVP’s swab cab tested 232 individuals for COVID-19, with only 14 having positive results.
“Sinimulan natin ito last year pa bilang pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng testing, lalo na sa free testing, lalo na sa mga lugar na mataas ‘yung incidence ng mga kaso”, Robredo told reporters. (We started this last year in response to the need for more testing, especially free testing, in areas with high incidence of COVID-19”)
Individuals who tested positive in the antigen test will be endorsed to their respective LGUs. They will also receive a care pack containing vitamins and medicine from the OVP.
The OVP has also installed numerous Community Learning Hubs in the province, to help students have free access to gadgets, computers, and even Internet connection.
Ibasco said the challenges faced by college and university students have made many young adults question the traditional “Marcos pa rin” choices of their elders.
Pangasinan is the biggest Ilocos Region province. In the 2016 election, the province gave 832,711 votes for Marcos and only 265,016 votes for Robredo.
Robredo, unfazed, said she trusts that votes will be delivered for her on May 9.
In a dialogue with supporters via Zoom on Thursday, January 27, Robredo said campaigning in the Marcoses’ lair is “worth it”.
“Expected naman sa election results talagang yung napakaliit na percentage sa Region 1, pero wala akong naging pagsisisi. Yung botong nakuha ko , yun yung botong nakuha ko noong eleksyon”, she added.
(We expected a very low percentage of votes in Region 1 but I have no regrets. The votes I got were real votes given during that election.)
Ibasco was upbeat, saying a half-full glass way of looking at it is that Pangasinan gave Robredo the margin to edge out Marcos in the final count.
Robredo led Marcos by 263,473 votes when she was proclaimed the winner of the vice presidential elections.
Marcos protested the outcome. After four long years, the Supreme Court unanimously junked in February 2021 the defeated candidate’s electoral protest. – Rappler.com
Ahikam Pasion is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.