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‘Negros for Leni’ fighting back, gains multi-sectoral support

“Negros for Leni” volunteers calling on the vice president to run for president in 2022.* Archie Alipalo photo

Multi-sectoral groups in Negros Occidental today, February 25, threw their support behind the call for Vice President Leni Robredo to run for president in 2022.

“Today, we add our voices to all those in other parts of the country who call on VP Leni Robredo to run for president. We urge everyone to join us as we fight back for a better future,” former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela, “Negros for Leni” co-convenor, said.

Coscolluela, at a press conference in Bacolod City where a battery of sectoral leaders aired their support for Robredo, said they aim to gather 100,000 signatures to call on the vice president to run for president.

“We will launch a massive signature campaign using all our volunteers …(and) there will be a parallel campaign on Facebook, which can reach many more people even from outside the province,” he added

They will put together an organization in every single town and city in Negros Occidental, down to the barangay level, so that when election time comes with or without resources, they will have people on the ground, Coscolluela said.

In the last two weeks, there have been significant initiatives taken in major population areas such as Metro Manila and Cebu for Robredo to run for president, he added.

“This is not orchestrated by one national organization, it is spontaneous, independent, it’s happening all over…Eventually I hope that this will build up into a genuine people’s clamor,” he said.

The “Negros for Leni” campaign will also be supported by a web page that will explain the values and vision Robredo stands for, and serve as a venue for people to send in feedback on what they believe the next president should focus on, Coscolluela said.

An important aspect of a Robredo presidency is the genuine connection she can provide between Malacañang and the people that will allow them to speak out and even complain, he said.

“Right now if you complain you get red-tagged, you get terrorized, you get victimized by trolls,” he said.

Coscolluela said, “if there is no viable alternative to what we have now we are going to end up with a political monolith that can do practically anything it wants”.

He said Robredo was not informed about the “Negros for Leni” campaign, they do not have her blessings, but they need her to know that there is a clamor for her to run for president.

“We are hoping with the public clamor she will decide to do it for the country,” he added.

They are hoping she makes a decision by the end of April, Coscolluela said.

“If she doesn’t make a public statement, hopefully, she will just send a private confirmation so that we can begin the harder task of organizing a campaign machinery,” he said.

The campaign for Robredo will be a multi-party, multi-sectoral people’s campaign, and they will support whoever runs with her, Coscolluela said.

A “Negros for Leni” statement, read by Cocolluela at the press conference, said it is significant that their search for the next president is being launched as the country commemorates the EDSA People Power Revolution.

“Based on what we believe a president ought to be, and based on a public service track record that is exemplary in its accomplishments, dedication and integrity, we are united in urging Vice President Leni Robredo to take on the challenge and run for president in the coming 2022 elections,” the statement said.

Robredo as president “will not only lead with competence, but will inspire Filipinos in search of hope, enable those in need of empowerment, and restore our faith in a government that nurtures and builds and brings back our pride as Filipinos,” the statement added.

Among the sectoral speakers were Albert Pagunsan and Ken Paolo Gilo for the youth, Jessie Suarez – retired employees, Joy Jarabelo – urban poor, Joseph Tuvilla Jr. – young professionals, Andrea Si and Sonya Verdeflor – women, Tito Robert Piansay – senior citizens, Wennie Sancho – labor, Rodel Parcon – small and medium enterprises,
Eli Patriarca – academe, Rey Provido – LGBT and Romeo Torcuator – fishermen.

Patriarca said the nation needs a leader who can be trusted, while Tuvilla said the country will be in good hands under a Robredo presidency.

Si stressed the need for a president who believes in democracy, while Provido said Robredo is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Support for Robredo will ensure good governance, genuine freedom, human rights and justice towards the attainment of a more humane social order for all, Sancho said.

Suarez, former Commission on Elections provincial head, said Robredo is a role model in her public and private life, who will deliver good governance.*

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