BACOLOD -- Voters from the Negros provinces who opposed the dictatorship of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos can turn the tide in favor of the opposition's Senate slate, Vice President Leni Robredo said Monday.
"Kung titingnan natin historically, ang Negros at Bacolod parating sa tama naninindigan," Robredo said at a campaign rally for Otso Diretso, 2 weeks before the May 13 vote.
"Nakita natin 'to noong panahon ng diktaduryang Marcos. Nakikita natin sa matitinding laban, 'yung Negros talaga ang pushback malakas,” Robredo said.
(If we look at it historically, Negros and Bacolod always sided with the good. We saw this during the Marcos dictatorship. We see that in tough fights, the Negros pushback is always strong.)
Negros Occidental has the 6th highest number of voters among provinces at 1.89 million.
During the last years of the Marcos dictatorship, malnourished children dubbed "Batang Negros" caught international attention.
The province was also the site of a massacre where paramiltiary forces gunned down civilians during the 13th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in 1985.
"Yung Negros isa sa mga lugar na kailangan nating bigyan ng pag-asa dahil yun nga sa kasayasayan ipinakita niya ang katatagan at paninindigan at hindi kakaiba ang pagkakataong ito," Robredo said.
(Negros is one of the places where we should give hope because it has a history of displaying steadfastness and perseverance. The current situation is not different.)
Robredo said she remained confident that with the votes coming from the rest of the country, Otso Diretso candidates would win.
"I will be hopeful until the very last day dahil naniniwala ako na the best yung aming mga kandidato, pinagpaguran namin ang pagpili sa kanila, matino, mahusay, may paninindigan,” Robredo said.
(Our candidates are the best. We worked hard in choosing them -- they are decent, excellent and have resolve.)
Opposition bets have been criticizing major policies of the Duterte administration, including business dealings with China and alleged extrajudicial killings under his war on drugs.
Only 2 Otso Diretso candidates -- Sen. Bam Aquino and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas -- have a statistical chance of winning, according to a Pulse Asia poll in late March.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, daughter of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, made it to the poll's winning circle along with 9 other candidates endorsed by the administration backed-regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.