UNITY MOVEMENT. Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos (4th from right) leads the unveiling of the Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) at the Marquee Tent, Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday (July 20, 2022). The movement was formed by opposition and administration candidates who ran in the last May 9 elections in support of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s call for unity. (Photo courtesy of KNP)

MANILA – A group of lawmakers on Wednesday formally launched a movement called Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) to heed President Ferdinand "Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s call for unity, reject politics of division, and be a unifying factor to achieve the government’s development goals.

San Jose del Monte Rep. Rida Robes, Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Divina Grace Yu, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Leyte Richard Gomez, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, and Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna “Ria” Vergara convened and introduced the socio-civic movement that aims to reach out to all sectors of society up to the grassroots level in a simple ceremony at the Marquee Tent, Edsa Shangri-la Hotel.

Robes expressed hope that the group would be "inclusive and united in pursuit of a better Philippines.”

“Ito po ay tugon sa panawagan ng pangulo -- ang magbuo ng isang kilusan at pagalingin ang malalim na hidwaan ng pagkakawatak-watak...Ang Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino ay isang kilusan, samahan, ugnayan at tagpuan ng lahat ng Pilipinong nagmamahal sa bansa at naghahangad ng tagumpay at pag unlad ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino (This is a response to the President's call -- the creation of a movement to heal the wounds of division in the country... The Kilusan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino is a movement, group, association, and confluence of all Filipinos who love the country and desire to achieve a better life for every Filipino),” Robes said.

She said this is the beginning of a bigger plan to expand the organization, which is currently 200-member strong.

“Today we are 200. Next month, 2,000...and in the days to come 20,000 to 200,000 to 2 million to 20 (million) and beyond. The growth is exponential until we embody our vision of a truly unified nation," she said.

She said the group also envisions a government that is both transformational and transformed.

“We are here to affirm our unwavering and full support to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. -- in his call to collectively work for a better Philippines for all Filipinos regardless of political conviction, religion, motivations and creed," she added.

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, who is the keynote speaker, said Marcos Jr. was emphatic about the creation of the movement and “we are here to repair a house divided...to make it strong again in bayanihan way.”

“Our coming together is our response to the President’s clarion call for unity. KNP is immediately formed to formalize that movement to solidify (our) platform for cohesive, inclusive and unified action for national economy and sustainable development,” Abalos said.

The event was also attended by former Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin Abalos, five governors, several lawmakers, city and town mayors and leaders of various civic organizations who led in the signing of the KNP Pledge.

“This movement acknowledges no political boundaries. Everybody who cares for the welfare of the Filipino people is welcome, especially those who are committed to support President Marcos’s formula of unity in achieving what is best for this country,” said Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, a KNP convenor. (PNA)