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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 17, 2016
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Mar unfazed by survey,
urges support for Leni
BY CARLA GOMEZ

An upbeat Mar Roxas appealed to mostly yellow-clad cheering hometown crowds at rallies in Negros Occidental yesterday to vote for his running mate Rep. Leni Robredo (Camarines Sur, 3 rd District) and his senatorial slate who, he said, are committed to continuing the Daang Matuwid (Straight Path).

The Liberal Party slate drew a crowd of 5,000 at the Silay City plaza yesterday morning, 8,000 at the coliseum in Bago, the hometown of Roxas' mother Judy Araneta Roxas, and 5,000 in the afternoon in Bacolod City.

Roxas, unfazed by his recent low Social Weather Station survey standing, cracked jokes in Hiligaynon, danced to the beat of his campaign jingle, and kissed and hugged old women in the crowd.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. introduced the LP standard bearer as the “pride of Negros”, who is the most qualified bet for the presidency, and reiterated his call for Negrenses to vote for Roxas and Robredo.

Negrenses should grab the opportunity now to elect one of their own, Marañon said, citing Roxas for having fathered the call center industry in the country that has created thousands of jobs and for having fast-tracked the creation of the Negros Island Region.

“Let us not miss the opportunity to have put a Negrense in Malacañang,” the governor said.

The majority of Negros Occidental officials have crossed party lines in support of Roxas and Robredo.

Roxas, for the most part of his rally speeches appealed to Negrenses to help Robredo win the vice presidency.

The LP standard bearer said he would be ashamed if Robredo, who is the most qualified to be vice president, would lose in his hometown.

It is important to vote Robredo into office because of her competence, integrity and willingness to sacrifice for the Filipino people, Roxas said.

Roxas then made a pitch for each of the LP senatorial bets and ended his speeches with showers of yellow confetti, and cheers from the crowd.

The LP senatorial bets are Senate President Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Ina Ambolodto, Mark Lapid, Cris Paez, Jericho Petilla, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Francis Pangilinan, TG Guingona, and Ping Lacson.

MOST QUALIFIED

Robredo, on the other hand, told the crowd that Roxas is the most qualified among the candidates running for president. His name has not been tainted by any accusation of corruption in his long years in public service, she said.

“I hope your love for Secretary Mar will rub off on us,” she said, as she appealed to Negrenses to vote for her and their senatorial bets, too.

Roxas yesterday appeared unfazed by the latest SWS survey that placed Vice President Jejomar Bonay leading at 29 percent, followed by Senator Grace Poe and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte tied at 24 percent, with him at 18 percent and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago at 4 percent in the race for the presidency.

ELECTION DAY SURVEY

In an interview, Roxas said surveys rise and fall, what is important is the survey conducted on Election Day, when asked about his current SWS standing.

He said the welcome given by his provincemates to him and his partymates yesterday had been as sweet as the sugar they produce.

Roxas also thanked Marañon, whom he called his idol and a visionary, for his support.

He also endorsed Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4 th District) as the next vice governor of Negros Occidental.

Roxas also made stops at First Farmers Holding Corp. in Talisay City and the Carmelite Monastery in Bacolod City.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said they are depending on Negros Island and the Western Visayas to give the LP bets and Roxas a big lead to cover for areas where they may not be too strong.

BIG VOTING AREA

Former Negros Occidental provincial election supervisor Jessie Suarez said Negros Occidental is the fifth largest voting area in the country with more than 1.6 million voters.

“We hope to get broad based support in Negros and Bacolod,” Drilon said.

Drilon said he is not concerned or worried about the recent SWS survey showing Roxas trailing three other presidential bets.
The campaign has just started and he is sure they can show the people that this administration has done so much for the country, for Negros and Bacolod, which Roxas will continue, Drilon said. He is sure Roxas can recover in the surveys, he added.

He also said they believe Robredo is a superior candidate and they intend to convince the people that she should be the vice president.
"The ultimate survey will be on May 9 and we are confident of our chances,” Drilon said.

Senatorial bet Leila De Lima, former Justice secretary, said the poor ratings of Roxas can only improve significantly , now that the official campaign started with the party and coalition machinery at work.

GAMBLE ON THE FUTURE

It is just a matter of Roxas increasing awareness that he is the most qualified among the presidential bets, she said, adding that “no doubt his ratings will continue to improve now that the official campaign has started”.

She also said Robredo is the perfect VP for Roxas, amid the rise of Senator Bongbong Marcos' ratings in the survey for vice presidentiables.

The martial law record of the Marcos family is a serious issue that must be pondered on by voters, she said.

"Are we willing to gamble on the future of our country?
Are we willing to gamble the return of Marcos," she said.
She said the auction of the Marcos jewelry is long overdue and a should be done to earn funds for the national treasury.*CPG

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