SEA OF PINK. A crowd of about 40,000 reportedly turns up at the Iloilo Sports Complex for the “People’s Rally Para kay Leni at Kiko” on Friday night (Feb. 25, 2022). Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo committed to pursuing projects that could help farmers and fisherfolk in Iloilo and revive the economy. (Photo courtesy of Robredo People’s Council FB page)

ILOILO CITY – Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo has committed to pursuing big infrastructure projects in Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo, to help revive the economy and improve the lives of farmers and fisherfolk.

During the “People’s Rally Para kay Leni at Kiko” at the Iloilo Sports Complex that was reportedly attended by about 40,000 people on Friday night, Robredo said she would like the construction of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose project stage II (JRMP II) irrigation project in Calinog, Iloilo fast-tracked.

The JRMP II, the biggest irrigation project outside Luzon, is expected to water 31,840 hectares of farmland in Iloilo, generate 6.6 megawatts of hydroelectric power and 86 million liters per day of bulk water supply for the province and the city, generate eco-cultural tourism opportunities, and mitigate flooding in Calinog and nearby towns.

About 80 percent of the cost of the JRMP II is funded by the government of South Korea through a tied loan with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund.

"Pag nahuman ini, makay-o ang sistema sang irigasyon kag mangin bugana ang produksyon kag ani sang aton manguguma (Once this is completed, the irrigation system will be put in place and farmers will have better production),” Robredo said, speaking in the Ilonggo dialect.

The proposed bridge that will link Panay, Guimaras, and Negros islands will also get attention if she gets elected into the country’s highest post, she said.

“Ang nagtulog nga Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge, padayunon na naton kag tutukan para pag sugpunon ang mga probinsya para sa madasig nga pagtabuk sang produkto kag pukawon naton ang komersyo (We will pursue the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge that will connect the provinces for faster transport of products, which would revive the economy),” she added.

Robredo also pledged to improve the Iloilo Fish Port Complex in Barangay Tanza here, which is the major center of fish trade in Western Visayas, to ensure fresh fish catch for the llonggos.

Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon, in his message during the grand rally, said progress in Iloilo would continue under the leadership of Robredo.

Drilon said Friday’s political rally was one of the biggest in the history of the province and his 30 years in public service.

“In the last 15 years, I have brought to my home province and city no less than PHP30 billion in terms of projects. I am proud of that kay akon ginapalangga ang aton kasimanwa. Buligan naton si Leni kay kon sya magdaug padayon ang progress sa Iloilo (I am proud of that because I love our constituents. Let us help Leni because if she wins, progress will continue in Iloilo). Vote for the most honest, most competent, most qualified Leni Robredo,” he added.

Meanwhile, vice presidential aspirant Kiko Pangilinan, who was joined by his wife, actress Sharon Cuneta, also wooed Ilonggos as he expressed his gratitude for their support when he ran for the Senate.

Claiming to be the second most favorite senator of Iloilo next to Drilon, Pangilinan said Ilonggos helped him when he ran for the Senate in 2001, 2007, and 2016.

Meanwhile, Robredo urged Ilonggo voters to extend their support to their Tropang Angat of senatorial candidates – Sonny Matula, Teddy Baguilat, Antonio Trillanes, Chel Diokno, Alex Lacson, Jejomar Binay, Chiz Escudero, and incumbent senators Joel Villanueva, Migz Zubiri, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Richard Gordon.

After the grand rally at past 8 p.m., Robredo proceeded to join the celebration of the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution at the Provincial Capitol lobby in this city.

She started her campaign sortie in Iloilo by visiting the municipalities of Oton, Concepcion, Ajuy, Pototan, and Sta. Barbara, and the component city of Passi.

She proceeded to Guimaras province for another campaign sortie. (PNA)