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HomeLocal NewsDAY AFTER | The Leni-Kiko Negros sortie: MassKara in March in Sugarlandia's...

DAY AFTER | The Leni-Kiko Negros sortie: MassKara in March in Sugarlandia’s capital

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  • “It was not just another political rally. It was a testament of a community of diverse sectors bound together to deliver a resibo of the change they want to see and the hope that they carry in their hearts.” – Millie Kilayko, Laban Leni-Negros Occidental (LLNO)
  • “It was very emotional. The success of the Paglaum Grand Rally was because of the people who believed in Leni and Kiko. We were just instruments to ensure it was orderly and well-planned and we could not have done it without the help of our Kakampink volunteers. To them, and to the 70,000 others, we owe the success of this rally.” – Atty. Pinky Ocampo, LLNO

By The DNX Reportorial Team

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The only thing missing in the streets yesterday, 11 March 2022, were the sound systems blaring Carribean and calypso dance music.

After two years of missing the world-famous MassKara Festival that happens every October due to restrictions brought by the COVID pandemic, this urban capital of more than half a million people saw a return of the festive spirit that grips it every October when the streets explode with color and celebrates a festival that brings with it bitter memories of a ship’s sinking literally, and an industry that went down figuratively.

SCENES ON THE GROUND at the Paglaum Sports Complex in Bacolod City where rehearsals are now underway for the grand rally scheduled today to cap the Leni-Kiko Negros sortie.
SCENES ON THE GROUND at the Paglaum Sports Complex in Bacolod City where rehearsals are now underway for the grand rally scheduled today to cap the Leni-Kiko Negros sortie.
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For hours yesterday, streets leading to the Paglaum Sports Complex were choked with vehicular and human traffic.

For hours since early evening, there were songs, dances, speeches.

And promises of a better life and good government.

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To those who believed in the cause of the Leni-Kiko team there was hope, the liwanag sa dilim (light in the darkness), the line in the song of the same title that the crowd sang with popular band Rivermaya.

It is not known if organizers chose the 2.4-hectare complex — the first and once the biggest grandstand before the Panaad Park and Stadium was built here — for its symbolisms.

READY FOR LENI. A stage rigged up in the soccer pitch of the Paglaum Sports Complex stands ready for presidential candidate Leni Robredo and her team for the grand rally scheduled tomorrow, 11 March 2022, in Bacolod City, Philippines that is now in the middle of a campaign period for the May 2022 polls. Robredo and her team will whistlestop through five areas here - the cities of San Carlos, Sagay, Kabankalan, La Carlota, and Binalbagan town before the grand event.
READY FOR LENI. A stage rigged up in the soccer pitch of the Paglaum Sports Complex stands ready for presidential candidate Leni Robredo and her team for the grand rally scheduled tomorrow, 11 March 2022, in Bacolod City, Philippines that is now in the middle of a campaign period for the May 2022 polls. Robredo and her team will whistlestop through five areas here – the cities of San Carlos, Sagay, Kabankalan, La Carlota, and Binalbagan town before the grand event.

“Paglaum” literally means hope in Hiligaynon, the main language spoken in the province, the name given to the stadium built during the term of then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

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His namesake, now running for president, and Vice President Leni Robredo are now frontrunners among 10 presidentiables for the general polls that is also historic for being the first held under pandemic conditions.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen because people from outside the city still want to come here even if we have mini rallies in five areas outside of Bacolod,” former Governor Rafael Coscolluela told DNX on the eve of the sortie here.

Negros Occidental, aside from being the sugar producing capital of the country, is also the fourth vote-rich area among 81 provinces in the country, with close to two million voters.

Those five areas Coscolluela was referring to are the cities of San Carlos and Sagay in the north, La Carlota and Kabankalan in the south, and Binalbagan town – where thousands of supporters turned up since morning of yesterday.

SNAP FROM SAGAY. Some images from Sagay City, the second leg of the Leni-Kiko sortie in Negros Occidental. | LLNO-Ronnie Baldonado photos
SNAP FROM SAGAY. Some images from Sagay City, the second leg of the Leni-Kiko sortie in Negros Occidental. | LLNO-Ronnie Baldonado photos

There was one whistlestop for a project visit in Himamaylan City where Vice-Mayor Justin Gatuslao is a Robredo supporter.

San Carlos City is the hometown and bailiwick of Robredo supporter Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson while Sagay City is the political base of deceased former Governor Freddie Maranon, a staunch Robredo supporter.

Amid claims from the Marcos camp that it has the backing of 28 out of 32 mayors and majority of six representatives of political districts here, the Robredo camp is saying it is enough for them to have the backing of “the masses,” Lacson, and one solon, Second District Cong. Leo Rafael Cueva.

SNAPS FROM SAN CARLOS. Some images from San Carlos City, the first leg of the Leni-Kiko sortie in Negros Occidental. | LLNO-Ronnie Baldonado photos
SNAPS FROM SAN CARLOS. Some images from San Carlos City, the first leg of the Leni-Kiko sortie in Negros Occidental. | LLNO-Ronnie Baldonado photos

“Sir, mais sir (Sir, corn)?” an elderly woman vendor asks passersby who were about to go inside the eastern entrance of the complex.

The two-lane road leading to the gates here has seen athletes and politicians who have been to the stadium for at least three Palarong Pambansa or national sporting activities and some events of the Southeast Asian Games over the past three decades.

“Dapat ipakita ta gid ang aton pag-isa,” Ilonggo actor Edu Manzano said from the rigged stage on the football pitch as the rehearsals were being conducted early in the afternoon yesterday.

LENI-KIKO FLOAT. The MassKarapat Dapat Float will be used by VP Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan in their sorties in southern Negros Occidental.
LENI-KIKO FLOAT. The MassKarapat Dapat Float will be used by VP Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan in their sorties in southern Negros Occidental.

Below, supporters cheered, some of them volunteers who have been going to the stadium over the past few days before grand event.

One of them is Rushty Ramos, a retrenched cameraman of media giant ABS-CBN’s affiliate in Bacolod that shut down after Congress did not renew its franchise.

Noontime yesterday, Ramos posted a photo of himself sleeping on the soccer pitch with the caption: “I’m so tired but happy. Doing this for my children’s future” with the hashtags of the Negros sortie: NegrosIsPink, GobyernongTapatAngatBuhayLahat, and MASSKARApatDapatLeniKiko.

“It was not just another political rally. It was a testament of a community of diverse sectors bound together to deliver a resibo of the change they want to see and the hope that they carry in their hearts,” Millie Kilayko, a civic leader said through the Laban Leni-Negros Occidental media bureau.

Kilayko, known for her charitable works in the province, is a member of the LLNO core group.

Lawyer Pinky Ocampo, on the other hand, said the Negros sortie’s success is a shared one as she described seeing the thousands gathered at Paglaum as “very emotional.”

AT THE PAGLAUM SPORTS COMPLEX in Bacolod City, the crowd begins to swell for the grand rally of the Leni-Kiko team that is expected to be here late this afternoon from its last mini rally in La Carlota City. Roads surrounding the sports complex are reportedly filling up with vehicles. This drone shot was taken just a few minutes ago by the DNX coverage team. | Drone shot by Rodney A Jarder Jr
AT THE PAGLAUM SPORTS COMPLEX in Bacolod City, the crowd begins to swell for the grand rally of the Leni-Kiko team that is expected to be here late this afternoon from its last mini rally in La Carlota City. Roads surrounding the sports complex are reportedly filling up with vehicles. This drone shot was taken just a few minutes ago by the DNX coverage team. | Drone shot by Rodney A Jarder Jr

“The success of the Paglaum Grand Rally was because of the people who believed in Leni and Kiko. We were just instruments to ensure it was orderly and well-planned and we could not have done it without the help of our Kakampink volunteers. To them, and to the 70,000 others, we owe the success of this rally,” she added. /Nikki Magbanua, Rodney Jarder Jr and DNX volunteer Cyd Denajeba contributed to this report

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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