BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – John Chiong was a laborer abroad when Rodrigo Duterte ran for president.
A former provincial government employee for 17 years, Chiong resigned his job to look for greener pastures.
He was elsewhere when then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ran for president of the country.
Unlike many Filipinos abroad, he did not campaign for Duterte.
Archie Baribar is a lawyer schooled in Ateneo.
He gained popularity in the 1980s as a human rights lawyer.
He ran and won as a councilor last year, starting another fresh three-year term that might lead to a full nine years of three 3-year terms each.
In the 2016 polls, he ran as representative of the lone district here.
He campaigned with the support of President Duterte, even dubbed it AlDuB or Alyansang Duterte Baribar, sounding similar to the hottest love team that time, AlDub.
Even then, he still supported Duterte, and became the spokesman of Kilusang Pagbabago, a movement supporting the President’s campaign for change, in Negros island.
Now, Chiong and Baribar are backing the President in his campaign against the “oligarchs.”
Baribar is the first elected official in the city to sign a manifesto of support to Duterte as the controversy over the cancellation of the franchise of ABS-CBN rages on.
They have launched a signature campaign here for a manifesto of support that has so far gathered more than 500 supporters.
“I did not campaign for him but the vision of our organization, Task Force Kasanag is consistent with his,” Chiong tells DNX.
To Chiong, Duterte is the only president desirous of true social change.
The manifesto is short, a paragraph long.
“We, the members of Task Force Kasanag Inc. supports (sic) your advocacy to fight against illegal drugs, corruption, terrorism and criminalities especially to fight against oligarchs. We continue to support the reformation Mr. President,” it said.
The last line said: “And we believe you are the future of the Filipino people especially in the future generation that we are free from corruption and criminality.”
Baribar explains to DNX he signed the manifesto despite Duterte’s “perfect imperfections because he articulates the rage of our ordinary people.”