DAVAO CITY – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will mark the beginning of his presidential race in this year’s elections on Tuesday, February 9, in Manila’s Tondo district.

Tondo, a district in Manila with a population of more than half a million people, is considered to be the country’s symbol of poverty and an “eye-opener” for visitors.

“(It) has become their symbol for a hopeful journey for change. Unfortunately, Tondo mirrors the squalor, the neglect by government, the disparity between rich and poor that characterize the state of our nation,” Peter Laviña, the head of Duterte’s media group, said.

On Tuesday, Duterte will join Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who is running for the vice presidential position as his tandem.

Tondo was chosen to be their inaugural site not just as what the Partido Demokratiko Pilipinas-Laban wanted, but also because “migrants from the Visayas and Mindanao start their dream for a better life in seeking green pastures in the capital upon arriving at the Port of Manila,” said Laviña.

‘Public can raise their expectations on us’

A total of 33 radio stations from Mindanao will reportedly hook up for the coverage of Duterte’s proclamation rally in Tondo.

“Our campaign will be very modest but creative, consistent with our limited resources. Our main goal is to reach out to the greatest number of our voters in the country and abroad utilizing all forms of mass media, social media and traditional communications,” he said.

Laviña added that they have strict instructions for their volunteer groups to adhere to the Commission on Elections Rules and Regulations (Comelec).

“The Comelec, the media, and all our people can expect from our camp a high level of campaigning in contrast to traditional politics (trapo) like mudslinging, character assassination, vote buying, threats and intimidation and electoral violence. In this way, we can help effect reforms in our people’s political culture, discarding old practices, and adopting new styles and forms of electoral campaigning,” added Laviña.

PH’s most reluctant presidential candidate?

Duterte’s beginning of presidential campaign on Tuesday reverses the previous events where the mayor has repeatedly said he has no ambitions in seeking for the country’s highest executive post.

Last year, he categorically stated to the media that he will not run for president after talking to his family and to all people interested in his career as politician.

Despite that, supporters from as far as Manila and other parts of Luzon started organizing movements in a bid to persuade him to run.

In October 2015, his daughter, former mayor Sara Z. Duterte posted on her Instagram a photo of her being shaved with captions that hinted the mayor could be running in the naional elections. It caught wind on social media, prompting other local politicians and supporters to do so.

Finally the following month, he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) as substitute to former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) presidential bet Martin Diño, who withdrew his candidacy on October 29, 2015.

On December 18, 2015, Comelec ruled to accept the certificate of candidacy of president of Duterte who earlier faced disqualification complaints on the grounds of substituting Diño.

Binay, Poe to launch campaign in Manila too

Meanwhile, presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe will also start their campaigns in Metro Manila.

Binay will hold his proclamation rally at the Welfareville Compound in Mandaluyong City, while Poe in Plaza Miranda.

Presidential candidates Senator Miriam Santiago is set to start her campaign in Batac, Ilocos Norte, the hometown of the family of her running mate, Senator Ferdinand”Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

Liberal party bets standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas will inaugurate his presidential campaign, along with his running mate vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo in Roxas City, Capiz. (davaotoday.com)

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