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Bongbong, Sara start Metro Manila sortie in Quezon City today

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The tandem of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio is set to start their sortie in Metro Manila today.

The Marcos-Duterte tandem dubbed as “BBM-Sara Uniteam” will hold a grand caravan in Quezon City.

The motorcade will start with a meet-and-greet at the eastbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in front of the Commission on Audit at 7:30 a.m., according to Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, one of the four parties in the alliance for the tandem.

It will then proceed along Commonwealth Avenue and Quezon Avenue and will end at Welcome Rotonda at the city’s boundary with Manila.

Quezon City is the most populous among the cities in the National Capital Region with an estimated three million residents.

Meanwhile, Marcos said he plans to suspend the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law if elected president in the May 2022 elections.

At a forum hosted by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. last Monday, Marcos expressed belief that the continuous and massive importation of the staple into the country is no longer sustainable amid the country’s poor financial position.

The former senator stressed that the law, which was enacted in 2019 with the aim of lowering the price of rice in the country by removing quantitative limits on rice trading, is disastrous to farmers.

“We should minimize our importation. I know it’s easy to say, but it’s not very easy to do. It will take a long while. These are all very long-term plans but in the short-term, there’s still much that we have to do,” he said.

“I wouldn’t mind if we suspend the Rice Tariffication Law first, because it’s really destroying the… NFA is now buying at P18, P19. People don’t plant anymore at P19,” he added.

Marcos explained that while the law has good intentions, it had “unintended consequences.”

“If you read the law, it looks OK. But it had unintended consequences and there is an ongoing pandemic so our local farmers are really hurting. They don’t know how to make money anymore,” he said.

The law puts a minimum of 35 percent tariff on rice imports and this has been affecting the income of local farmers, forcing them to abandon their fields that, in turn, results in reduced production, according to Marcos.

“That is a cycle that keeps sucking us down into this importation hole until we’re not producing anything anymore. We are importing everything. We’re not in the best financial situation right now because of the pandemic and its effects on the economy. We cannot sustain it,” he said.

LMP-Mindanao assembly

Before today’s caravan, Marcos and Carpio sought the support of municipal mayors from all over Mindanao as they attended the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Mindanao cluster assembly held at the SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premier in Davao City yesterday.

Mindanao has 422 municipalities that are all LMP members.

The tandem joined senatorial candidates for the May 2022 elections in taking turns speaking to the LMP mayors, headed by Mayor Chavit Singson of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur.

Marcos arrived in Davao early yesterday morning and proceeded to the house of former Davao del Norte Rep. Anton Lagdameo, where he met with a number of Davao City businessmen and political leaders over breakfast.

Both Marcos and Carpio then held a Uniteam meet-and-greet session with Davao City Hugpong ng Pagbabago local officials, particularly those running in next year’s polls, for a photo opportunity with the tandem raising their hands. The photos are to be used for their campaign materials.

8th petition

As these developed, a group of martial law victims yesterday filed a petition asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the perpetual disqualification of Marcos in next year’s elections.

Comelec’s record showed that the petition filed yesterday is the eighth petition against Marcos’ presidential candidacy and the fourth petition to disqualify him in the May 2022 national and local elections.

The group Pudno Nga Ilokano (Ang Totoong Ilokano) is represented by former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod.

Just like the previous petitions, the petitioners, led by Margarita Salonga-Salandanan, a member of a human rights movement, said Marcos should be disqualified from the presidential race as he has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for not paying taxes from 1982 to 1985.

Salandanan’s co-petitioners include Crisanto Ducusin Palabay, Mario Flores Ben, Danilo Austria Consumido, Raoul Hafalla Tividad, Nida Mallare Gatchallan and Nomer Calulot Kuan.

Palabay said three members of their group were victims of the martial law declared by Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The petitioners stated that Marcos was convicted eight times by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on July 27, 1995 for not paying taxes, which is a violation of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

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