Lakas vows ‘intensified campaigning’ for Teodoro
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
MANILA, Philippines – The administration party Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) will rely heavily on its members to do an “intensified campaigning” for its standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro, rather than on paid television and radio advertisements.
This was the consensus reached Tuesday among members of the national executive committee of the party who gathered in a show of unity and manifested anew their support for Teodoro and his slate.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo showed up at the meeting and ordered officers “to see to it that everything is moving smoothly.”
The party has been hounded recently by defections, resignations of top officials and alleged funding woes.
Occidental Mindoro Representative Amelita Villarosa, the new party chairman, said things were “okay” within the party.
“We are asked to see to it that everything is moving on smoothly, we are asked to address the concerns of everybody and to do something about it and when the President says, we just have to do it,” Villarosa told reporters after the meeting when asked for the message of the President.
She said the members of the executive committee were “morally buoyed” by Arroyo’s presence in the meeting.
Teodoro, however, was not present as he was in a sortie in Camarines Sur.
The party issued a resolution affirming its commitment “to intensify its nationwide campaign to give him victory in the May national elections.”
“We have moved the past few days in a new direction – giving a fierce new impetus to the presidential campaign and naming a party leadership to take over – as a way of reaffirming party unity behind Teodoro and intensifying our efforts to get him the decisive votes in 70 percent of our provinces, cities and municipalities across the nation.”
“We declare today onwards that we shall hold the ranks of the party for Teodoro and resist by all means possible, wherever and whenever they occur, efforts by rival parties to undermine our presidential campaign through all means fair or foul,” the resolution said.
When asked to explain the intensified campaign, Villarosa said it meant mobilizing local officials in provinces and cities down to the barangay (village) level to campaign for Teodoro and his team.
“Diin pa, para lalong masiguro na panalo ang aming kandidato, didiinan ang kampanya sa lahat ng sitio, lahat ng barangay, lahat ng bayan, lahat ng probinsya, all over the Philippines [We should intensify our campaign to ensure the victory of our candidate. We need to intensify our campaign in all sub-villages, villages, cities, provinces, all over the Philippines],” Villarosa said.
The strategy of tapping local officials will prove more effective than spending millions for television and radio advertisements, which has limited reach, Villarosa said.
“In the provinces, not every household has television, they also depend on us for information. What is important to them is that their needs are addressed by whoever is leading the province and we see to it that services from the provinces are delivered to the people,” she said.
To ensure that local executives will stick to the party, Villarosa assured them that their needs would be addressed.
“They are funded, if some are complaining, may be they are waiting for additional [funds], but we are okay, we are funded,” she said.
Villarosa said that releases of funds were programmed.
“We have a schedule for everything, everything will be attended to, we will fix all concerns, there’s no problem,” she said.
As the executive committee members are meeting in Linden Suites in Ortigas, Pasig City, Lakas-Kampi governors are also gathered at the nearby Discovery Suites.
Arroyo also dropped by the meeting of the governors in the afternoon.
Former Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward “Eddie Bong” Plaza, who attended the meeting, later showed up at the Lakas-Kampi meeting and read a manifesto of support for Teodoro.
“We commit to work hard for overwhelming electoral majorities for Gibo Teodoro in our jurisdictions,” the manifesto said.
In an interview, Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who organized the governors’ gathering, said they were aiming to deliver at least 14 million votes for Teodoro.
Plaza also announced that the 34 governors who attended have organized themselves into the National Caucus of Governors to support Teodoro. Plaza said a total of 50 governors were supporting Teodoro.
The governors are also members of the League of Provinces of the Philippines, but not all its members belong to Lakas-Kampi. Its chairman, Camarines Sur Governor Luis Ray Villafuerte, is supporting Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party.
The National Caucus of Governors also elected Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia as president, Sarangani Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez as vice president, Salceda as secretary general, and Plaza as finance officer.
Plaza called on the local officials to show their palabra de honor (word of honor) in supporting the party and Teodoro.