Over 125,000 supporters from the political camps of incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia and mayoral candidate Albee Benitez gathered Saturday evening and showed their support as the campaign for the 2022 local elections began.
The billionaire opponent of Leonardia kicked off his political rally at Pagla-um Sports Complex where nearly 70,000 supporters clad in white joined the political rally that was capped by a live performance from Bamboo.
Leonardia’s Grupo Progreso meanwhile drew nearly 50,000 crowd at the Bacolod Public Plaza based on police estimates.
While most supporters of Benitez were young people, Leonardia gained the support of voters who are on their 30s and up as shown on the shots during their live telecast streamed on Facebook.
Leonardia in his speech asked his supporters to continue to rally behind the tumandoks (native) of Bacolod as compared to a newcomer, whom he described as an invader, referring to Benitez who move his residency in the city just in time for the 2022 election.
But Benitez banked his campaign on the public’s clamor for change. In his speech, Benitez said his administration will focus on supporting small businessmen, vendors, jeepney drivers, and fisherfolks so their livelihoods can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lone opponent of Leonardia also promised to support vendors in Libertad, Central and Burgos markets as he envisioned to turned it into a potential food tourism.
He also lay out his plan to strengthen the information technology sector with the development of the economic zone.
But Leonardia in his speech instead reiterated what his administration has done that brought so much progress for the city. This is as opposed to discussion of plans by Benitez and his partymates.
For Leonardia the line for “better Bacolod” is not just a mere phrase as during his term he had already pushed for a more progressive Bacolod.
He cited that before COVID-19, the city has been growing at its fastest but this was abruptly cut due to the impact brought by the global pandemic. But what he promised is for Bacolod to be back on tract and will continue to be one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines once the pandemic is over.