While some expected the tandem of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano to showcase their respective bailiwicks in Davao and in Taguig, the presidential and vice presidential bets chose to kick off their 90-day campaign in Tondo, Manila.
According to the duo's media group head Peter Laviña, PDP-Laban standard bearer Duterte and his running mate Cayetano picked Tondo as their launchpad because it mirrors the “squalor, the neglect by government, the disparity between rich and poor that characterize the state of our nation.”
“This is where migrants from the Visayas and Mindanao start their dream for a better life in seeking green pastures in the capital upon arriving at the Port of Manila. Tondo has become their symbol for a hopeful journey for change,” Laviña said while pointing out that the case has been different.
“This is where we aim to start a new beginning for our country and our people. This campaign is not just to seek mandates or to win votes, but most importantly, to empower our citizenry and bring back to our people the power and the capacity for change; to hope for a better life, a better Philippines,” he added.
Based on 2010 data, Tondo is the most vote-rich district in Manila with 333,545 registered voters.
Vows to follow election rules
Laviña in his statement has also promised that the tandem of Duterte and Cayetano and all their staff will follow the election rules.
“We have strict instructions to our campaign organization as well as the various support and volunteer groups to adhere to all the Comelec Rules and Regulations, including in the campaign activities, propaganda, election finance, election day voting, canvassing and proclamation of winners, among others,” he said.
Through its compliance with Comelec rules, Laviña said that their team can help reform the country’s political culture and discard old practices.
Championing federalism, the top candidates of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) have been telling their audience the benefits of shifting to a federal form of government to decongest Metro Manila and develop the other regions.
Cayetano has repeatedly pointed out that Metro Manila has been getting the lion’s share of the budget.
“Sa ngayon lahat ng budget nasa Metro Manila... Sa Metro Manila, [P]1 trillion ang napupuntang pera. So maaasahan niyo sa isang Duterte-Cayetano tandem, iyong Mindanao Railway System, at iyong pondo, authority at tiwala ng lahat ng mga Pilipino, sa bawat region,” he was quoted during an interview in General Santos City in January.
In the same venue, Duterte also said that the promise of economic growth in all regions is one of the reasons why the Philippines should shift to federalism.
“Economic growth should be felt by all regions, not just a select few. This is the reason federalism is the next logical step toward inclusive growth and maintaining order throughout the country,” he said.
Duterte also previously said that federalism is the key to lasting peace in Mindanao.
“Our destiny in Mindanao is not decided by us. It is decided by the people in Manila... If there are failures in the talks, ang patayan sa Mindanao,” he said during his formal proclamation to be PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate in November 2015. -NB, GMA News