MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A new coalition led by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was formed to unite Filipinos and put an end to "destructive politicking."
It was a sea of red as hundreds of supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gathered for the launch of the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines on Monday, October 23, at the Marquis Events Place in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
"Let us not be distracted by the noise created by clashing political interests. We support freedom of speech and expression, but we need to recognize the difference between constructive criticisms and destructive politicking," said Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Karen Jimeno, who read the alliance's pledge during the program.
LOOK: The pledge of the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines pic.twitter.com/mreWp8elV7 — Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) October 23, 2017
This was echoed by Duterte-Carpio, who said "dissent is a facet of democracy" but added the matter is different altogether when you "lie to oppose."
"And it's very bad if you paint a sad and hopeless Philippines outside. Okay lang siguro if mag-away dito sa loob. Tayo lang naman eh. Pero 'pag reputasyon na ng bansa natin ang nasisira sa mga kapitbahay natin, mali po 'yun," said the Davao City mayor.
(And it's very bad if you paint a sad and hopeless Philippines outside. It's probably okay to fight here inside. It's just between us. But if the country's reputation is being destroyed in front of our neighbors, that's wrong.)
Last week, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had met with US Senator Marco Rubio to discuss the ties between the two countries as well as upholding human rights in the Duterte administration's bloody drug war.
Trillanes is a staunch critic of President Duterte and his family. The senator is accusing the Duterte clan of having unexplained wealth. (READ: Prove the bank accounts are true, Sara Duterte dares Trillanes)
In her speech, Duterte-Carpio described her father as "very, very imperfect" but "he is a wrangler."
"We have 5 years to take advantage of that warrior spirit, of that aggressive spirit, and use him, siya ang gagamitin natin (he's the one we will use) to create a better future for our country," she said.
"Let us set aside our personal politics that has torn our country every time we have a new president.... Let us change that. [In] 5 years, we need to push and push and push and see a change in 5 years," she added.
Duterte-Carpio then called on the public to focus on helping rebuild Marawi City and making the Philippines a leading country in Southeast Asia.
According to the Davao City mayor, alliance members are expected to help address the issues faced by their respective communities. (READ: Tindig Pilipinas can join pro-gov't coalition – Sara Duterte)
"This is the launch. This is checking who will answer the call for the alliance. We noticed many have already answered the call, and we're trying to come up with a masterlist and segregate them according to their community and talk to them about what they can do in their community," said Duterte-Carpio in Filipino.
"[We're] not [going to work] together nationally because every community has a peculiar problem. So if I'm from Taguig, I will help in Taguig. If I am from Caloocan, I will help in Caloocan. If I'm from Visayas, I'm sure there are many problems there that they can all find a solution to," she added.
Not a show of force?
The Tapang at Malasakit Alliance launch was attended by key allies and Cabinet members of the President.
Among those who joined Duterte-Carpio onstage were Jimeno, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation Chairperson Andrea Domingo, and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
Pro-Duterte bloggers were also seen at the venue, including Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and Bruce Rivera.
Asked if the event was a show of force of all blocks supporting the President, Abella said Tapang at Malasakit is merely an "alliance for nation-building."