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Election fever sweeps Hong Kong

31 March 2016

Chater Road is ablaze with different political colors on March 27, 2016.

By Daisy CL Mandap

Pre-election frenzy is sweeping the Filipino community in Hong Kong, days before the start of the month-long overseas voting on Apr 9.
Several groups are gearing up for the final Sunday of campaigning on Apr 3, with the biggest event likely to be staged by supporters of presidential bets Mar Roxas and Rody Duterte.
It is the first time Hong Kong is seeing fierce campaigning by supporters of several candidates since the first overseas voting was held in 2004, which could largely be due to the slim margins separating the four candidates for the top post.
Roxas’ running mate, Leni Robredo, is set to give their supporters a boost when she visits key Filipino haunts in Central and holds a dialogue with community leaders in Edinburgh Place. She will get support from Roxas’ wife and TV personality Korina Sanchez-Roxas, who will also be in town to attend a community event on Chater Road where she is expected to rally supporters.
A big public rally is also set to be held at the General Post Office nearby by Duterte supporters. Organizers are reportedly exerting efforts to get the Davao City mayor himself to grace the occasion, but as of this writing, only his trusted aide Manny Pinol and folk singer Freddie Aguilar are confirmed to attend. There is however, a plan to hook up with Duterte via telephone so he can address his Hong Kong supporters on site.
Supporters of vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos had earlier sent out invites via Facebook for a “Unity Rally” on the same day, but for unknown reasons, had scrapped the invitation.
A week earlier, the OFW and Marcos Loyalist International group staged a massive campaign rally on Chater Road, but their favored candidate failed to show up, despite announcements on radio the night before that he would attend. A few expressed disappointment at the no-show, but most of those who gathered for the whole-day event visibly perked up when they heard his voice via phone patch and amplified from the stage,
Senator Marcos told his hundreds of supporters who gathered at the event that he would continue fighting for their rights and welfare, in recognition of their great contribution to the country’s economy.
Marcos also promised to pursue efforts to provide scholarships to children of overseas Filipino workers, and asked why Overseas Workers Welfare Administration was not using its funds set aside for this purpose.
Also part of his advocacy is job generation in the Philippines, saying this will help OFWs to eventually be reunited with their family members back home.
Standing in for him was Cong. Anton Lagdameo, husband of popular actress Dawn Zulueta, who rallied the groups to continue their support for Marcos.
On the other side of Chater Road, hundreds of Roxas-Robredo supporters held their first General Assembly, their first show of force since official campaigning for the Philippine presidential elections got underway.
The two leading administration candidates had expressed an intention to join the gathering initially, but cancelled at the last minute due to scheduling problems.
Liberal Party leaders were, however, quick to assure the supporters that at least one of the two top bets would be in town the following Sunday.
Months earlier, Duterte had visited Hong Kong for fundraising events and meet supporters.– with a report from Marites Palma

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