MAMMOTH CROWD. Vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte acknowledges a huge crowd during the UniTeam Grand Rally at the open lot in front of the LIMA Park Hotel in Batangas City on Wednesday night (April 20, 2022). Duterte was joined by presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and UniTeam senatorial aspirants. (Photo courtesy of HNP FB page)

LIPA CITY, Batangas – Thousands of supporters from all over the province showed their all-out support to presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte during the UniTeam Grand Rally at the open lot in front of the LIMA Park Hotel here on Wednesday night.

The BBM-Sara UniTeam supporters from this vote-rich province that has over 1.8 million voters, arrived as early as noontime to wait for the arrival of the UniTeam ticket.

Duterte was, for a moment, speechless upon seeing the Batangueños overwhelming support for their political bid.

“Sa totoo lang galing akong Mindanao, galing akong Davao City. Pero damang-dama ko ang inyong pagmamahal dito sa amin sa Batangas. Maraming salamat sa pagmamahal ninyo (I am from Mindanao, from Davao City. But I truly felt your love for us here in Batangas. Thank you so much for your love),” Duterte told the crowd as they chanted “Panalo ka na!” (You are already a winner) and “Hindi kami bayad!” (We are not paid).

Duterte vowed to focus on the reopening of establishments and businesses with the vision of bringing back the jobs lost due to the pandemic.

“Dahil may gamot at bakuna na laban sa Covid-19, dapat po hindi na nilo-lockdown ang mga trabaho at negosyo. Kailangan tutukan nating lahat ang pera sa bulsa at pagkain sa lamesa ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino (Since there is a vaccine already against Covid-19, jobs and businesses should no longer be locked down. We all need to focus on bringing back livelihood and food for every Filipino family),” Duterte said.

She also pushed for her vision of strengthening the education system in the country which should be of “global standards” as it is the “steward for a brighter future for the young generation.”

She also vowed to continue the plans and projects of her father, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, concerning the battle against criminality and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program which generated over 6.5 million jobs around the country.

Batangas Governor and reelectionist Hermilando ‘Dodo’ Mandanas, who had publicly expressed his support to the BBM-Sara UniTeam ticket, introduced Marcos to the Batangueños as someone who is “written by the stars” for the Filipinos.

“Siya lang ang nasabi na iginuhit ng tadhana. Siya lang ang namumuno sa isang tunay na pamamahala na nakita ang tunay na kailangan natin ngayon — ang pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan at hindi yung bangayan (He is said to be the man of destiny. He is the only leader that have the kind of leadership that we need now – unity, cooperation and not conflict),” Mandanas said.

Nasa kanya ang tunay na puso, damdamin, pagmamahal, kakayahan para sa ating bayan at para sa Pilipino (He has the true heart, feelings, love, ability for our country and for the Filipino people),” he added.

In his message, Marcos reiterated his call for unity, adding that his partnership with Mayor Sara is a great example of how to unite the country.

“Ang pag-partner namin ni Inday Sara ay napakagandang halimbawa at napakagandang simbolo dahil ako ay nanggaling sa Ilocos Norte at si Inday ay nanggaling sa Davao sa Mindanao. Kaming dalawa na nanggaling sa magkabilang dako ng Pilipinas ay nagsama. Sa palagay ko naman maganda at malakas ang pag-asa na mapagkakaisa namin ang sambayanang Pilipino (My partnership with Inday Sara is a very good example and good symbol because I am from Ilocos Norte and Inday is from Davao in Mindanao. The two of us who came from the other side of the Philippines banded together. I think the chance is good and strong that we can unite the Filipino people,” Marcos said.

UniTeam senatorial candidates Sherwin Gatchalian, Jinggoy Estrada, Robin Padilla, Gregorio Honasan, Gilbert Teodoro, Larry Gadon, and Herbert Bautista attended the grand rally.

Senatorial bet Sal Panelo, although not officially part of the UniTeam slate, also attended the rally. (PR)