DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 May) — Supporters of Presidential frontrunner Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte endured the long walk along the congested Diversion Road going to Davao Crocodile Park on Saturday afternoon, the venue for the historic attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for most people singing simultaneously the national anthem.
The current record held by Bangladesh with 264,000 last year was not surpassed when only a total of 94,584 people turned up out of the 300,000 target crowd.
LUPANG HINIRANG. Supporters of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wave their flags at the Crocodile Park in Ma-a, Davao City for the simultaneous singing of the national anthem, Lupang Hinirang, on May 7, in an attempt to break the world record held by Bangladesh. This, as hundreds of thousands of Duterte supporters flocked to the Luneta Park in Manila for the Presidential frontrunner’s miting de avance. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
But Davao City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre, one of the event organizers in an interview said not all of the people who showed up were there for the world record but to show their support for Duterte on the last day of his campaign.
Also, an unaccounted number of participants did not have their identification cards with corresponding barcodes scanned as many of them did not enter the venue at the designated gate, he added.
“For the first time nag-unite ang Dabawenyos, last day of campaign. Now or never ihatag ang atong suporta sa atong umaabot na presidente. We all believe that mayor will be the next President. Maghugpong kita, para maghatag og suporta (For the first time, Dabawenyos were united on the last day of the campaign. Now or never, we give our full support to the incoming president.),” he said.
Lumads cheer after the simultaneous singing of Lupang Hinirang at the Crocodile Park, Ma-a, Davao City on May 7, 2016. They attended the event to show support for presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte who is in Luneta for the “miting de avance”. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
Hyping up the crowd was an airjet carrying a banner “Duterte Cayetano” hovered above the sea of supporters before the simultaneous singing.
Surrounded by a crowd wearing dominantly red-colored shirts printed with Duterte icons, a giant flag was raised at the center stage and then followed by the singing of “Lupang Hinirang” at 4:55 p.m.
Shortly after, thousands of supporters waved their respective small Philippine flags, which were distributed a few hours ahead of the main event, as they broke into cheers and screamed in chorus “Du-ter-te” several times.
After the singing of national anthem, many of the supporters left the venue while a sizable crowd remained for the live airing of the miting de avance of Duterte in Luneta Park. The crowd estimates in Luneta ranged from 300,000 to as high as a million as claimed by organizers.
In Davao City, the supporters who left the park endured an even more congested traffic as people coming from the inside converged at a single entry/exit point.
Traffic was also stalled along Diversion Road while the supporters inched through the stuck vehicles.
Some of the young supporters who braved the crowd said “maski init, Duterte pa rin, para sa pagbabago” (despite the heat, we’re still for Duterte, for change).
A woman in her 40’s said in her exasperated voice: “ato man ning choice, walay lain sisihon kundi kita lang” (We chose this. There’s no one to blame but ourselves).
The congestion was starting to loosen up upon reaching the St. Francis of Asisi Parish in Maa.
A group of PWDs (persons with disabilities) gather at the backstage for the simultaneous singing of Lupang Hinirang at the Crocodile Park, Ma-a, Diversion Road, Davao City on May 7, 2016. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano
Smith Billy Cartera, a para tennis player who brought home bronze medals in men’s wheelchair table tennis single from the 8th Asean Para Games in Singapore last year, said he threw his all out support to Duterte who is supportive of persons with disabilities.
“We want Duterte for change… full support for Duterte for the athletes like me,” he said.
If Duterte becomes President, Cartera said he wishes that he would continue to support PWDs and the athletes with disabilities.
He added he wants corruption be stopped under Duterte administration, if ever.
Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City chapter, said the massing of people in one venue to support for Duterte showed the people’s patriotism.
“No election has been as polarizing as the coming elections. Elections are not just about the candidates, but about the people too. When people from all walks of life braved the heat, traffic and dust to participate in this massive event, they showed, by their actions, their patriotism, love of country and desire for change and a better Philippines. Mabuhay ang Pilipino!,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)