PDP-LABAN RALLY. Actor Robin Padilla gives the traditional "mano" (kissing of the hand) to President Rodrigo Duterte who graced the PDP-Laban proclamation rally in Barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City on Thursday night (March 31, 2022). In his speech, Duterte thanked the Cebuanos for their support, as he told them that they would not regret it as he delivered his campaign promises before the 2016 national elections. (Screengrab from RTVM video)

CEBU CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte underscored the support of the Cebuanos in 2016 during the proclamation rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) in Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City on Thursday night.
 
Ako ba motapusay na ko. Pagdagan nako, ang Cebu maoy usa sa mga probinsiya in the entire Cebu island gave a whopping botos… gusto lang ko gikan gyud sa akong kasingkasing, daghang salamat (I’m about to finish my term. When I ran as president, Cebu was one of the provinces in the entire country that gave me a whopping vote… from my heart, thank you very much),” Duterte said in his speech.
 
Duterte said the people would not regret supporting him in 2016 as he delivered his campaign promises and his administration is doing well, citing the successes in the war against drugs, criminalities, insurgency, and corruption.
 
He also cited the “Build, Build, Build” program that paved the way for the various infrastructure projects, including the beautification of many airports in the country, the free irrigation program for the farmers, the Universal Health Care law, and the Malasakit Center that gives the poor patients free medical services, as well as free tertiary education for colleges students.
 
The President’s speech at the proclamation rally was a reiteration of his postscript remarks during the joint meeting of the National Task Force and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-RTF ELCAC) in a hotel in Lapu-Lapu City.
 
The meeting was attended by the four governors of Central Visayas, mayors, barangay officials, and beneficiaries of different barangay-based projects.
 
Cebuano roots
 
As he traced his roots in Danao City north of Cebu, Duterte narrated how his family migrated to Davao until his father became governor while he became mayor 20 years later after serving as a prosecutor in the area.
 
He reiterated his intention to crush the illegal drug problem in the country, recalling how he started the campaign in 2016 when he exposed certain generals of the police force who were allegedly involved in the drug trade. 
 
“Do not destroy the young of my country. Kasi kapag ginawa mo yan (Because if you do that), you are destroying the Philippines),” he said.
 
Meanwhile, the President also bared his efforts in honoring Datu Lapu-Lapu as a national hero through a presidential proclamation, recognizing him as the first Filipino to defeat the foreign invasion.
 
He recalled his visit to the Mactan Shrine noticing that the statue of Lapu-Lapu was shorter than Ferdinand Magellan, which he ordered its replacement by calling the attention of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
 
The President also hinted at the declaration of Jose Abad Santos as national hero. Santos was killed by the Japanese during World War 2 while serving as Supreme Court chief justice after he refused to pledge allegiance to their flag.
 
Senatorial candidates
 
Duterte endorsed eight other senatorial candidates who are not included in the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
 
The names of other senatorial bets the President mentioned during the proclamation rally are on top of the nine candidates he and his party earlier endorsed.
 
Other senatorial bets are former Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero, Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Senator Joel Villanueva, former senators Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri.
 
The Cusi-wing PDP-Laban faction has already named its senatorial candidates: House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, former Presidential Anti-Graft Commission chair Greco Belgica, former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, actor Robin Padilla, broadcaster Rey Langit, and former Energy Undersecretary Astra Pimentel. 
 
The party also introduced its guest candidates for senator: former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, and former senator and Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gringo Honasan.
 
So ang ibang kandidato na gusto kong, ’yung may maibigay. Pumili na lang kayo kung sino ’yung magaling (So the other candidates that I want to endorse are the ones who have something to give. Just choose who is the best),” Duterte said. (PNA)