Press Release
April 19, 2010

NP to solidify hold in Davao

DAVAO CITY - This southern Philippines urban center is said to be once an "Erap (former President Joseph Estrada) country," but it is not the reason the Nacionalista Party keeps on coming back here, according to NP standard-bearer Manny Villar.

The fact is, he said, the party wants to strengthen its hold on the Davao provinces, which are very important, especially that their local leaders have vowed to support the NP ticket.

The visit by Villar and his presidential slate - his running mate Loren Legarda and senatorial candidates Bongbong Marcos, Ramon "Mon-Mon" Mitra, Gwen Pimentel, Susan "Toots" Ople, Gilbert Remulla, Miriam Santiago, and Anto Ocampo and Martin Querubin, representing their fathers Satur Ocampo and Ariel Querubin, respectively - was especially made for the whole of Davao, the former Senate president said.

He said the trip was significant because of the support of the local officials of the region to his candidacy, as well as to those of the other national candidates of NP.

He cited Governors Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, Corazon Malanyaon of Davao Oriental and Arthur Chungkee of Compostela Valley, who have all declared their support for the NP ticket.

"It is not only Davao City but all big places are important to us. We are giving them equal attention," he said.

But Villar said they will also campaign harder in other areas as part of the party strategy.

He said other groups concentrate on areas where they feel they are strong "to widen their advantage" while some focus their attention on places where they are weak to strengthen their influence in such areas.

"That's all part of strategy. You could be wrong but that is still part of strategy," he said.

According to Villar, much is still to be expected in the next three weeks when he is certain that more local officials will defect to NP.

"Nakikita ko at ako ay natutuwa at higit na marami ang sumasama sa amin," he told reporters.

He explained that it has become a practice in Philippine politics to change parties or support other candidates when the term of an incumbent president is about to end.

"Talagang 'pag tapos na ang termino ng isang pangulo, marami ang lumilipat at lumilinya nang hindi kailangang lumipat ng partido. Marami ang namimili sa kung sino ang sasalihan nila," he said.

Villar mentioned the Northern Alliance, a political bloc of congressmen from Northern Luzon headed by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson, that has remained members of their original parties but has vowed to support him and his presidential slate.

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