DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte has committed to support the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), expressing his willingness to campaign and endorse its candidates for the 2019 mid-term elections.
“If you want me to campaign for you – I will,” the President offered during the Davao City convention and mass oath-taking of the 6,276 new recruits of HNP from the 182 barangays of the city and city local officials at the SMX Convention Center on Friday night.
“I can support you morally, politically kung makinig pa ang tao sa akin (if the people still trust me),” he said.
Duterte even offered a possible coalition with the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) if HNP members are comfortable with the idea. If not PDP-Laban, the President encouraged them to also continue connections with their traditional mother political parties.
“It is only through an open democratic society that we can truly uphold ideals that we hold dear,” he said, as he vowed to preserve and defend democratic values, such as the vibrant political party dynamics.
The HNP convention was also attended by national officials and politicians, among them Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, former senator Pia Cayetano, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and Senators Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara and JV Ejercito.
The attendees are believed to have plans to run in next year’s polls.
The President, the guest speaker at the convention, also expressed his appreciation of the initiative of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte, in stirring up the Filipino people through HNP.
He wished the HNP to continue upholding excellence, accountability, and solidarity as the administration brings genuine transformation to all the Filipinos.
Majority of those who took oath as HNP members are also part of the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, the local political group that the President formed in year 2000 when he was still mayor of this city. HNP is a spin-off of the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.
Mayor Sara and governors Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte, and Jayvee Tyron Uy of Compostela Valley teamed up for unity, security, and to achieve inclusive growth of Davao Region.
HNP already conducted mass oath-taking ceremonies in Compostela Valley on July 19, Davao Oriental on July 1, Davao del Norte on Aug. 3, Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur on August 6.
HNP has also coalesced with nine other local and national political parties in Manila last August 13.
In her speech during the mass oath-taking, Mayor Sara asked the members to support the senatorial line-up of HNP for the 2019 elections.
She admitted that she was overwhelmed by the turnout of the people wanting to be part of HNP in Davao City because they were only targeting 3,300.
Of the 6,276, she said 629 were walk-ins.
The mayor also had the support of her siblings – former vice mayor Paolo Duterte and his wife, Catalunan Grande Barangay Captain January Duterte, and younger brother Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, who all came for the oath-taking.
Mayor Sara said HNP is basically a political group to support the administration of President Duterte. (PNA)