LAOAG CITY – Around 100,000 motorcycle riders wearing red shirts and holding flaglets dominated the Manila North Road in this northern part of Luzon on Sunday as a show of unity and support for presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (BBM).
In an interview, Maj. Eddie Puyat, police chief of Paoay town, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) initiated a traffic management plan and alerted all police units with the help of the Provincial Mobile Force Company and their force multipliers in the barangays to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and secure the participants.
While he admitted that it is hard to control a huge crowd particularly in terms of implementing health and safety protocols, Puyat appealed to all concerned participants to do their share in preventing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The event went smoothly and it did not cause too much traffic because they have designated several pit stops,” Puyat said.
Organized by various riding groups, the Unity Ride that lasted seven hours started in Paoay town at 5:10 a.m. and passed through the towns of Currimao, Batac, San Nicolas, Sarrat and Laoag City.
According to Ryan Remigio of Team BBM Filipinas, over 100,000 individuals registered for the Ilocos activity which was also staged in various parts of the country including Bataan, Cavite, Abra, and La Union provinces.
A similar Unity Ride was held in Ilocos Sur last Nov. 7, drawing more or less 8,000 participants as claimed by organizers.
During the motorcade, some Ilocanos came out of their houses to cheer on the passing motorists while repetitively chanting, “BBM! BBM!" The elders likewise chanted, "Marcos, Marcos pa rin!"
Along the way, a number of homes and business establishments played on speakers the "Bagong Lipunan" hymn, a popular patriotic song during the administration of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos, the father of Bongbong.
Ilocos Norte Provincial Board member Saul Lazo, a motorcycle riding enthusiast who participated in the activity, said in an interview, "the event is one for the books”, as he noted the overwhelming support of his province mates and other volunteers. (PNA)