DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 March) – Thousands have swarmed the Freedom Park here, venue of the grand rally of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard bearer Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Freedom Park was also the venue of the provincial proclamation rally of Duterte last February 9, simultaneous with rally in Tondo, Manila where he laid out his platform before thousands of supporters.
Crowd was earlier projected to reach 35,000, which Duterte supporters said will be the biggest political event in Davao City.
Duterte arrived at the venue at 6:45 p.m.
A few personalities have also started arriving in the venue, one of them is former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan, who is one of the speakers who will grace the rally alongside senatorial candidates Francis Tolentino and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Dionisio Santiago.
Former and incumbent city councilors have also arrived, namely: Pillar Braga and Jackson Velos Reyes, who are both running for councilor again, and incumbents Al Ryan Alejandre, Marissa Salvador-Abella, Mabel Sunga Acosta, Lorelyn Avila, April Dayap, Leah Librado Yap and Antoinette Principe Castrodes.
Famous Davao artist and veteran singer Popong Landero performed his own compositions while OPM legends Char Borja, Renz Verano, Richard Reynoso, and Ranie Reymundo, also known as the OPM Hitmakers, entertained thousands of fans of Duterte and his running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, in a text to MindaNews, said more or less 60 police officers have been deployed to secure the venue of the rally, which will be highlighted by a candle-lighting.
The city’s state-of-the-art bus ambulance, the first of its kind in the Philippines, has been dispatched to the venue.
Several support groups have also shown up, among them are the Duterte United Women’s Organization, PDP Laban Davao City Council and President Duterte Group Volunteer.
Free t-shirt printing services are also offered for free by Duterte supporters for those who brought souvenir shirts.