MALOLOS, Bulacan—There is an ongoing “Pink Olympics” among Vice President Leni Robredo’s supporters as different provinces try to outnumber one another by having the biggest crowd. And on Saturday, March 5, the spotlight is on historic Bulacan province as Caviteños earlier challenged it to top the 47,000 crowd it drew last night.
Though it fell short of the goal to top Cavite, the country’s second vote-rich province, Bulacan held its own with some 45,000 pink-clad supporters in attendance at Robredo’s “People’s Rally” at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center.
The challenge started last week when both Cebu and Iloilo drew large crowds that made the campaign rallies look more like a concert than a sortie.
Some of Robredo’s supporters have been calling it the “Pink Olympics,” with the challenge being issued particularly to Bacolod City for a March 11 scheduled rally.
On Twitter, the hashtag #BulacanIsPink is trending at the second spot as of posting time. It currently has 109,000 tweets.
Awed by the number of attendees, Robredo, with her voice a bit hoarse from weeks of campaigning, challenged young Bulakenyo supporters to convince their parents and relatives to vote for her, adding that her team will be back before the May 2022 elections to see if they did their “assignment.”
The aspiring president noticed that more than half of some 45,000 pink-clad supporters in her audience were young people.
“Meron kayo assignment. Dapat ayain natin ang ating mga magulang, tiyahin, at tiyuhin na sumama na sa laban natin. Kaya niyo kaya ‘yun (You have an assignment). We need to invite our parents, aunts, and uncles to join our fight. Can you do that)?,” she asked.
She was joined on stage by running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, senatorial candidates Chel Diokno, Sonny Matula, Alex Lacson, and representatives of Senator Leila de Lima and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Before she took the stage, several artists performed. Among them are the band True Faith and Kuh Ledesma, as well as some 60 members of Doctors for Leni or Robredocs, who performed “Di Niyo Ba Naririnig?” a Tagalized version of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the Les Miserables.
The Vice President promised vote-rich Bulacan province, wherein she lost by more than 190,000 votes to former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2016, that she will be back before the polls.
For the May 2022 polls, Bulacan has more than two million votes. It’s the fifth most vote-rich province in the country.
“Magkikita pa tayo, babalik po kami (We are going to still see each other, we are going to be back. Between now at sa susunod na pagkikita natin, magta-trabaho po tayo (and our next meeting, we are going to work),” she said even as the crowd misunderstood and assumed she’ll be back as “president.”
“Excited na ko bumalik dito dahil excited ako makita sa pagbalik ko kung ginawa ninyo ang assignment ninyo (I’m excited to be back here because I’m excited to see if you did your assignment),” Robredo added.
The lone female presidential candidate is confident that if she can always draw a crowd like the one on Saturday, then victory will be possible.
“Siguraduhin natin (Let’s make sure) that in the next 65 days, lalo tayo magparami (there will be more of us),” she said.
While she admitted that her message of “radical love” isn’t always easy for the youth, she asked them to extend their patience and reach out to victims of fake news and disinformation.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan echoed Robredo’s call to the crowd: they need to convince more people to fight alongside them in May 2022.
He lamented the lies spread on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, but reminded their supporters that people who believe such lies are victims.
“Ang kalaban natin hindi ang nililinlang, kung hindi ‘yung mga nanglilinlang. Ang kailangan natin para labanan ‘yun ay katotohanan (Our enemies are not the one being fooled, but the one spreading the disinformation. What we need to fight against it is the truth),” the senator, who was earlier introduced by wife Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan on video, said.
Pangilinan reminded the crowd that they cannot afford to go wrong this coming May, and they have to make sure of the people they will put in power.
“Lahat tayo huhusgahan ng kasaysayan (All of us will be judged by history),” he said, adding that he would face his future grandchildren knowing that he fought and stood up for what’s right.
“Lumalaban! Tumataya! Kumikilos! Yan ang magiging sagot natin sa ating mga anak. Noong panahon na kailangan, hindi tayo nagsawalang kibo (Fighting! Risking! Moving! What’s what our answer will be to our children. At the time that we are needed, we did not remain silent),” Pangilinan stressed.
Both Robredo and Pangilinan were victims of fake news, according to fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph. In its latest report, it found that 94 percent of the fake news were negative toward Robredo while only six percent were positive. In Pangilinan’s case, 100 percent of the fake reports were negative.
Consequently, Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio were the biggest beneficiaries of fake news, with more than 90 percent fake news reported about them written in a positive light.