HNP IN ILOILO. Some of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) senatorial bets seek the support of more than 6, 000 voters in Iloilo province during their campaign rally at the City of Passi Arena on Tuesday (March 26, 2019). (Photo by Gail Momblan)
ILOILO CITY -- Thousands of Ilonggo voters welcomed Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidates even if only four of its 13 senatorial bets attended the Iloilo province campaign rally on Tuesday afternoon.
Among the senatorial candidates present at the rally, which was held at the City of Passi Arena, were reelectionists Cynthia Villar and Joseph Victor Ejercito, former senator Pia Cayetano, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.
Iloilo gubernatorial aspirant and 4th District Rep. Ferjenel Biron hosted the rally.
HNP chairperson Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte was unable to attend due to prior commitments, Biron said.
He added that the scheduled rally pushed through even without the presence of the complete senatorial line-up.
"Bong Revilla (former senator Ramon Revilla Jr.) was represented by his wife Lani (Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado) while General Bato (former Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa) was represented by his son," Biron said in an interview.
Representatives of political bets were unable to deliver their messages since the group immediately headed to Koronadal City, South Cotabato for a campaign rally of the Partido ng Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) with President Rodrigo Duterte scheduled on the same day.
Villar, as chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, continued her oversight functions in provinces affected by El Niño. “There are provinces that were already declared under state of calamity and therefore can use their calamity funds,” she said in an interview.
She assured that the Department of Agriculture (DA) already prepared for the El Niño and distributed seedlings that can withstand dry condition.
“Because there are crops that can withstand El Niño and the DA encourages farmers to plant those for them to have harvest in spite of El Niño,” she said.
Marcos, on the other hand, lauded the Pintados de Passi Festival in Iloilo’s component city of Passi, Dinagyang Festival, and Iloilo River Esplanade.
If elected senator, she said she would apply a “different model” in tourism, which will focus on community development. She said the people should benefit in tourism in a way that they will be the ones who will supply food and services to tourists.
“I don’t want that big hotels and resorts are the only ones gaining from tourism,” she said.
Cayetano and Ejercito continued to push for the programs concerning women and healthcare, respectively.
Other candidates who belong to the HNP senatorial line-up are reelectionists Juan Edgardo Angara and Aquilino Pimentel III, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, journalist Jiggy Manicad, former presidential aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino. (PNA)