Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – A newly-launched citizens' movement called Hugpong Para kay Sara (HPS) on Monday urged Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president in the 2022 national and local elections.

During the official launching and oath taking to support the Duterte candidacy, HPS spokesperson and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera said the presidential daughter is the "most qualified" to effectively lead the country for the next six years.

The group launched the initiative despite Sara's pronouncement that she is not running for a national position in next year's elections.

"Alam nating hindi ito madaling desisyon para kay Mayor Sara, kaya bilang mga mamamayang naniniwala sa kanyang kakayahan at liderato, sa kanyang tibay at puso, binuo natin ang isang samahang gagabay kay Mayor Sara sa pagdedesisyon niya sa pagtakbo sa Eleksyon 2022 (We know that it would not be an easy decision for Mayor Sara, so as citizens who believe in her capacity and leadership, strong will and heart, we formed a group that would guide Mayor Sara in her decision to run in the 2022 elections),” Herrera said.

Herrera said the 10,000-strong HPS seeks to assure Sara that many people would stand behind her in her political journey.

"Ano ba ang misyon ng HPS? Simple lang. Una, siguruhin kay Mayor Sara ang more than 100 percent nating suporta sa kanya. Bibigyan ng HPS ng matibay na sandalan si Mayor Sara (What is the mission of HPS? It’s simple. First, to assure Mayor Sara of our more than 100 percent support. HPS will guide Mayor Sara) in making one of the most difficult decisions in her political life," Herrera said.

Herrera said the group also believes that Sara could continue and improve the good programs that President Rodrigo Duterte has started.

"Bukod sa maipagpapatuloy ng kasalukuyang Davao City mayor ang magagandang programa na nagawa ng kanyang ama na si Pangulong Duterte, maiaambag din ni Mayor Sara ang kanyang unique leadership style at pagiging independent-minded (Aside from the fact that the current Davao City mayor will be able to continue the good programs that her father, President Duterte, has started, Mayor Sara will also be able to contribute her unique leadership style and being an independent-minded),” she said.

HPS is composed of professionals, academicians, lawmakers, and marginalized sectors and chaired by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Sara has clarified that the confirmation of President Duterte to run for Vice President has not affected her plans as they both agreed that only one from their family will run for a national position.

Last week, President Duterte formally accepted his nomination as the official vice presidential candidate of the ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), to ensure the “continuity” of his efforts to bring progress to the country.

"From the last time PRRD and I talked this was their Plan A. The Plan B was for SBG [Senator Christopher Lawrence Go] to run as VP,” Mayor Sara said.

Sara, however, clarified that her relationship with her father is still the same.

“Our politics do not interfere with our familial relationship. Iba ang trabaho, iba ang pamilya. Walang personalan (Work and family matters are two different things. No personal feelings involved),” she said.

When asked about helping the PDP-Laban the way Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) helped them in 2019, Sara replied, “No. I will not share my light this time.”

Apart from President Duterte, the PDP-Laban also announced that its official presidential candidate is Go. (PNA)