Monday, February 22, 2016

Ilocanos give Poe warm welcome

Sen. Grace Poe eating empanada at the Batac Public Market (Lei Adriano)
By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITYSome Ilocanos in this province known as the Marcos bailiwick said the “solid north” vote goes to Vice Presidential candidate Ferdinand Bongbong R. Marcos Jr. but added they prefer Ms. Poe-Llamanzares for president.

Several members of the local business sector here particularly the mango growers from Ilocos Norte and nearby Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan provinces welcomed Ms. Poe-Llamanzares with placards and tarpaulins with her photo along with FPJ and Susan Roces.

"We [give] our all-out support for Senator Bongbong but we want Grace for president. We want a new leader untainted with corruption. Someone who is not indebted to anybody like old politicians and our old government system so that she can institute reform and clean our government,” said Ricardo Tolentino, a well-known mango magnate in Northern Luzon who even brought a bouquet of roses for Ms. Poe-Llamanzares when they welcomed her at the Laoag airport.

Selfies, groupies in Batac
Upon arrival at LIA, Ms. Poe-Llamanzares immediately proceeded at the Batac public market where she gamely alluded to supporters request for selfie and groupie.

Market goers who were able to take photos and shake hand with her, giggling as they were amazed to see the senator whom they described as small yet tough. Some are even jumping with joy saying they were able to hold the hand of the next president.

We shake hands. I wont wash my hand for a while, said one in jest.

Meanwhile, Goring Miranda, an old woman using wheelchair at the Batac public market waited for Ms. Poe-Llamanzares where she was expected to pass at the vegetable section. She requested her family to bring her to the public market so she could see her in person. Her face lit up when she saw the senator and the latter took her hand and put it on her forehead.

At the public market, Ms. Poe-Llamanzares stopped for a while at the stall of an empanada vendor and bought some. She even ate her share right away as she walked through other stalls buying some other stuff.

MMSU visit
Ms. Poe-Llamanzares also met with students at the Mariano Marcos State University-Batac campus, where Senator Marcos and running mate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago visited the day before to the kick off of their own campaign.

Her expected arrival at the university however was delayed for almost an hour as Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos met with her at the Batac downtown and led her to the Paoay sand dunes where a statue in honor of Ang Panday was erected.

At MMSU, instead of organizing the student forum at the air conditioned Teatro Ilocandia, organizers led by the University Student Council said Ms. Poe-Llamanzares requested that it be held at the open covered court of the MMSU gym.

Students were convened shortly minutes before Ms. Poe-Llamanzares arrived at the gym.

Henedine Aguinaldo, Director of MMSU student affairs said, "We learned from the other day. Our students waited for so long waiting for our guests [Senators Marcos and Santiago]. As a result, several classes were cancelled so our students could attend the forum with Senators Bongbong and Miriam.

Though students were all amazed and entertained by Senator Santiagos hearty pick-up lines, some students were disappointed that she had to leave shortly after her speech. Students said they prepared some questions and waited for long hours but they were not able to ask even just a single question for Ms. Santiago.

As for Ms. Poe-Llamanzares, students from various colleges took turns asking the Senator about several issues concerning the youth which she gamely acknowledged and answered briefly.

Campaign promises
If elected President, Ms. Poe-Llamanzares assured students that she will push for free lunch among public schools, including free and fast internet and Wi-Fi connection.

Expressing support to the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) reform law, the senator lauded the move to prohibit political dynasties. One thing the senator and Mr. Marcos agree in terms of allowing youth participation in the governance process.

Among the salient provisions of the SK reform law include the anti-political dynasty provision where elected and appointed Sangguniang Kabataan officers must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official, incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal official in the locality where he/she seeks to be elected. 

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