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Duterte supporters launch Tapang at Malasakit Alliance

Representatives of more than 100 pro-Duterte groups were expected at the launch. Kristine Joy Patag

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:12 p.m.) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday led the launch of the Tapang and Malasakit Alliance, to gather support for government campaigns like the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

According to a roster prepared by the organizers, more than 100 groups supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte were invited to the launch of the alliance, formally called the Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines.

More than 1,000 people from these groups were expected to attend the program at an events hall in Taguig City.

READ: Sara to read launching of pro-Duterte group

 

Aside from the support groups, politicians, including presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano attended the launch. 

Mayor Duterte, who said she had tried to convince her father not to run for president in 2016, said that she recognized dissent is part of democracy but said those in the opposition should not lie.

"And it’s very bad if you paint a sad and hopeless Philippines outside," she said, saying the country's reputation would be damaged.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, among the most vocal of Duterte's critics, was in the US last week to meet with lawmakers there. Some Duterte supporters claimed Trillanes had tried to block US President Donald Trump's planned visit to the Philippines in November. Trillanes has denied he tried to do this, saying a US president's trips are planned in advance and cannot be cancelled "on the say so of a Philippine senator."

Mayor Duterte said: "Let us set aside our personal politics that has torn our country every time we have a new president."

Transportation Undersecretary Karen Jimeno, spokesperson for the alliance, said in a press briefing that the alliance is also to call for unity when the country is "on the verge of something very important", which is the rehabilitation of Marawi City. The capital city of Lanao del Sur has been declared liberated from Abu Sayyaf and Maute terrorists who had laid siege to it since May.

The government is preparing to rebuild the battle-scarred city and is making plans for the return of around 359,000 people displaced by the fighting.

"For greater causes, we have to be positive and help each other out. We should not condone destructive politicking," she said.

Jimeno said that while members of the alliance recognize the importance of constructive criticism in a democracy, "destructive politicking" affects the whole country.

"We dont want to see the devaluation of peso... it's affecting all of us. So, that's what we're talking about. If they're (alliance members) part of spreading fake news, that's also destructive politicking," Jimeno said, adding Tapang and Malasakit is "not about below the belt hirit (insults)." 

She said that the launch of the coalition, which she said is privately funded, is not in preparation for the 2019 midterm elections.

"The alliance is not a venue for people to campaign for 2019. Marami kaming members who have nothing to do with politics." — from reports by Kristine Joy Patag

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