It’s now official: 1Cebu for Digong
(The Freeman) - April 3, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - One Cebu party, led by its gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, formally announced its support for the presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, vowing to deliver one million votes for him in the May elections.

Garcia said the party reached its decision to throw its support behind Duterte after meeting with him late Saturday.

"WinNer ta, Duterte pa," said Garcia in a statement, promoting his slogan with his running mate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz.

He stressed that the party made its decision to back Duterte, who traces his roots to Danao City, Cebu, after an extensive and thorough consultation with members and supporters of the party.

The party said it "became a logical and clear stand for One Cebu to support one of its own, and a Bisaya for President."

Duterte's late father, former Davao governor Vicente Duterte, once served as mayor of Danao City. The late Cebu City Mayor Ronald Duterte, son of former Mayor Ramon Duterte Sr., was his cousin.

Among Duterte active political relatives are the Durano, Almendras, and Patalinghug clans in Cebu.

"History will repeat itself in this election" said Garcia, referring to the one-million vote difference which the party delivered for the presidential winner in 2004, former president Gloria Arroyo.

 One Cebu, however, has yet to decide on whom to support for vice president and are still doing consultations on the matter.

Garcia said One Cebu's platform, ideals and vision are in perfect synch with Duterte's platform of government, especially on infrastructure.

At present Cebu has 2.7 million registered voters and is the most vote-rich province in the country.

Duterte camp happy with support

The camp of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the support of One Cebu for the presidential bid of the Davao City mayor.

"Kabahan na kayo," an ecstatic Duterte said to his rivals after being informed of One Cebu's decision to back him.

"We are happy to welcome the support that Winston Garcia's party, One Cebu, is giving Rody," said outgoing Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco, the national campaign manager of Duterte, "we welcome expression of support of any individual, organization or party because ours is an inclusive campaign."

Peter Laviña, the spokesman of Duterte, said the support of One Cebu "confirms many speculations that many LGUs will switch sides as Duterte gains more support throughout the country and take the lead in the presidential race.

"We most welcome such recent endorsements by the Zubiris of Bukidnon who are with LP as well as from Cagayan de Oro's Christian Democratic Party under Rep. Rufus Rodriguez also erstwhile allied with LP," he said.

One Cebu earlier dropped Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance as presidential candidate, saying UNA treated One Cebu like imperial Manila treats the rest of the Philippines  — "for all intents and purposes, with absolute contempt and disrespect."

The party said UNA repaid their loyalty by "cavorting" with the opposition camps and by conducting sorties in the province without giving notice to One Cebu, causing confusion among its candidates and supporters.

The announcement of the party came a day after Duterte received the endorsement from the Zubiri family of Bukidnon.

Binay respects decision

UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said that they respect One Cebu's decision.

   "We are still confident that VP Binay will get great majority of voters to support him because his campaign goes directly to the people," Ilagan said in a text message to The FREEMAN.

    Ilagan added that Binay will stick to his promise to put up a Malacañang in the South specifically in Cebu to personally address and monitor the delivery of basic services to Cebuanos.

Duterte and his running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano had a rally in Toledo City the other day and Duterte also graced the 22nd Annual Convention of Motorcycle Bikers at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.

      "I will run the country the way you like it," said Duterte to the delight of the over 3,000 participants of the said convention.

In his speech Duterte lambasted his fellow presidential bets Mar Roxas and Binay, whom he tagged as having no moral ascendancy to talk about eliminating drugs as well as graft and corruption.

In all these events, Duterte was mobbed like a famous superstar.

Fighting poverty

Garcia also vowed to rescue Cebu from being the country's "poverty capital."

Garcia said he was dismayed over reports that Cebu Province dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 in the economic and social competitive standings in the south because of "poor and inept governance" by the present provincial government.

"As a Sugbuanon, I cannot sit idly by and watch Cebu deteriorate day after day," said Garcia.

Garcia pointed out the Cebu used to lead development in the south, competing head-on with the progress of Metro Manila but now it is falling behind its neighbors in Visayas and Mindanao.

Despite the so-called "closeness" of the current provincial government with Malacañang, Garcia said Cebu loses billions of funds intended for the development of the province to Imperial Manila under their leadership.

The former head of the Government Service Insurance System said that under the present administration, Cebu has been downgraded from being the "Queen City of the South" into being the "Poverty Capital of the Philippines."

"Is this the kind of direction we wish to continue in the next three years? Is this the kind of future we want for our children? The type of legacy we leave behind for our younger Sugbuanons?" asked Garcia.

If elected governor in May, Garcia said he will ensure that Cebu regains its "heretofore lofty standing as the most economically robust and competitive province in the south."

"I can assure you that a vote for Winston Garcia, Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, and the whole One Cebu slate is a vote towards a better future for you and your loved ones. Karong May 9, 2016, magkuyog ta sa Bag-Ong Cebu!" he said.

Data from the National Statistical Coordinating Board showed that 40 percent of the population in Cebu are battling poverty under the present dispensation.

If elected governor, Garcia said he would turn Cebu into Asia's travel, tourism and cargo handling hub, solve its traffic problem, fight the rising tide of criminality and drugs, create much-needed jobs and with Soon-Ruiz who is a doctor, provide free healthcare to indigent patients. — with Kristine B. Quintas/BRP (FREEMAN)

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