Rain and shine for Robredo supporters in GenSan rally

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 March) – Presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo and her party mates embarked on a three-city campaign swing in Soccsksargen (Region 12) on Tuesday, capping off in General Santos City where a huge crowd endured the heat and the rain to hear what their candidates ought to do once elected.

GenSan’s Oval Plaza during the “Kahayag SOX People’s Rally” on Tuesday (15 March 2022). Drone photo courtesy of RONALD VELASQUEZ

Robredo arrived at 6:40 p.m. shortly after the drizzle stopped to a wild cheer of thousands of supporters, whom the police estimated to have occupied 70 percent of the Carlos P. Garcia Freedom Park, popularly called oval plaza by the locals.
The vice president vowed to put premium on maintaining the peace and order situation in Mindanao.
“Asahan po ninyo para sa GenSan at sa buong Mindanao, prayoridad po ng angat buhay sa seguridad. Whole of nation approach po tayo sa terrorismo, violent extremism at insurgency,” she vowed.
But aside from going after lawless elements, Robredo also promised to focus on alleviating poverty and improving health and education in the south.
Robredo said under her presidency, Mindanao “will be close to the heart of the government.”
She thanked the volunteers who organized the event in this city, the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” and her huge supporters, many of them youths, who, according to her, came at their own volition.

Robredo thanked the artists in the region for drawing murals for free to promote her candidacy. In Koronadal City, a wall of a private property along a major road was painted with Robredo’s image.

When she asked the crowd if they were paid to attend the rally dubbed “Kahayag SOX People’s Rally,” the crowd’s reply echoed in the park: “Hindi!”

The crowd endure the drizzle while waiting for presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo at the oval plaza in General Santos City on Tuesday (15 March 2022). MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

Kahayag means light and SOX refers to Soccsksargen region, which is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
Robredo spoke and mingled with the crowd for at least 30 minutes, following a courtesy call with Mayor Ronel Rivera and other city hall officials.

Joining her in the crowd were her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan and senatorial candidates Senator Dick Gordon, lawyers Chel Diokno and Alexander Lacson, and labor leader Sonny Matula. The others in her slate sent their representatives.

Major Patrich Elma, Police Station 1 chief and designated ground commander, said the crowd occupied about 70 percent of the oval plaza, one of the largest open spaces in the city.

He did not give a figure though on the actual size of the oval plaza.

Based on Google Earth’s ruler tool, the open ground in front of the stage measures 300 x 110 meters, or 33,000 square meters.
Robredo was the second presidential candidate to hold a rally at the oval plaza. The first was homegrown hero world boxing champion and Senator Manny Pacquiao, who launched his presidential rally at the plaza. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

The crowd waiting for presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo at the oval plaza in General Santos City on Tuesday, 15 March 2022. MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO