Duterte poses for a selfie with one of his campaign volunteers during his visit in Maasin city last March 22. Photo courtesy of Camera Freaks
Duterte poses for a selfie with one of his campaign volunteers during his visit in Maasin city last March 22. Photo courtesy of Camera Freaks

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte-– Like in his other sorties across the country, presidential bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was met by a mammoth crowd at the Maasin public terminal on Wednesday.

Duterte proudly claims in all his interviews and political rallies that he was born in Laboon village in this city.

He said he even attended school at the Laboon Elementary School before his family transferred to Davao City when he was 11.

He paid a courtesy call to Southern Leyte Governor Roger G. Mercado, who accepted him warmly.

Mercado, a member of the administration’s Liberal Party, congratulated Duterte for gaining the top spot in the March 8-13, 2016 Pulse Asia survey, in a tie with Presidential candidate Grace Poe.

“How can we say no to a presidential candidate who claims to be from Southern Leyte? While other people who become popular forget where they come from, Duterte is proud of his roots,” Mercado said.

Mercado, however, did not elaborate his statement, saying he is true to his political party, but he cannot stop the people of Maasin City and the province if they support and vote their very own.

“We cannot disassociate ourselves from blood, culture and relationship,” Mercado said.

It was remembered that former Davao City Mayor Duterte visited Maasin after super typhoon Yolanda devastated the central Philippines. He handed to Mercado PHP3 million as assistance to the province.

Last year, Duterte attended the 4th Roa Clan Reunion in Laboon village where he also had a reunion with his classmates.

His mother Soledad is from the Roa clan of Maasin. He was feted with a dinner by Mercado and lunch by Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco in separate venues after the reunion.

People from all walks of life attended his rally at the bus terminal, where he vowed to fight corruption, drugs and restore peace in the country.

Volunteers also came all the way from Tacloban City, mostly yuppies who printed his campaign materials and provided vehicles.

Mercado, who is running for the lone district of Southern Leyte said that only God knows if he will campaign for Duterte. His brother Congressman Damian will run for Governor while his son Nacional Mercado will run for mayor of the city.

Duterte also visited Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin.

Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas was also warmly welcomed in Maasin City last month during the turnover of the Guadalupe port. He also visited the Panan-awan airport.

Both were his projects when he was still Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications. PNA/VICKY C. ARNAIZ


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