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Roxas, Robredo mobbed during Hong Kong visit

16 April 2016

By Daisy CL Mandap

Pictures don’t lie.
Thousands of people thronged to five different locations in Hong Kong on Apr 3 to hear and see presidential candidate Mar Roxas and his running mate, Leni Robredo, as they went around Central, talking and listening to overseas Filipinos.
Mar Roxas (above) and Leni Robredo (below)
address the huge Chater Road crowd.
As it was a Sunday, the two were besieged by many overseas Filipino workers out on their only day off in the week.
Roxas and Robredo who requested that no security escorts shield them from the crowd, gamely shook hands, posed for pictures, and when time permitted, gave short speeches and chatted with the OFWs.
In one of her impromptu speeches, Robredo told a jubilant crowd at Edinburgh Place that she and Roxas were there not to make promises – as most candidates are wont to do during the election season – but to listen.
“Sa panahon na ito ng eleksyon, marami ang pupunta sa inyo, makikiusap, mangangako. Pero sabi namin ni Pangulong Mar, nandito kami hindi para mangako, kundi para pakinggan kayo,” she said.
She also said it was important for the government to listen more to OFWs before coming up with any programs meant to address their needs.
“Mas mahalaga sa lahat na nabibigyan kayo ng boses para yung mga programa ng ating pamahalaan (ay) naaayon sa kung ano ang kailangan ninyo, at naayon sa kung ano ang gusto ninyo,” she said.
Roxas, in his speech at a lunch forum in Pier 7 Cafe, told more than 100 Filipino community representatives, that after listening to OFWs who have spent years, even decades working abroad, he was convinced that government had to step forward to help them before, during, and even after their stint abroad.
Roxas meets community leaders at a restaurant
where he explained his plans 
“Mahalaga na ang pamahalaan ay hindi pabigat sa inyo, kundi madaling lapitan”, he said.
He said that those who are about to leave should get the best training possible so they are not left vulnerable when they are abroad. Once they reach their destination, it is important that they get a direct line to the government, and when they return, that they have an easy access to capital and cheap loans to start their own businesses.
The first stop in their itinerary was St Joseph’s Church on Garden Road, where they, along with party mate and senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros and congressional candidates Bolet Banal and Alfred Vargas, attended the 10am mass.
More than a thousand people besieged them afterwards, including not just churchgoers but supporters and representatives from both Hong Kong and community newspapers, as well as freelance photographers.
An even bigger crowd gathered as they later walked through the Sunday crowds around the HSBC headquarters and Statue Square in Central. A small group of Migrante members camped at HSBC and armed with a megaphone tried to counter the cheering of supporters but were largely unsuccessful.
Over lunch at Pier 7, more than 100 people representing various sectors in the community had the chance to confer privately with Roxas and his team, and then raise questions during a forum.
A brief break followed for media interviews, first with Roxas, and then Robredo. It was during Robredo’s interview that Roxas took the chance to go out and sit in a secluded area by the sea, where he pursued chats with the few OFWs who were around.
A photo of him listening intently to OFW Marites Palma was subsequently used by his election rivals to suggest that he was brooding about being shunned by people in Hong Kong.
The yellow crowd at Edinburgh Place.
The next stop was Edinburgh Place, where three tents were set up earlier in the day to await the 3pm meet-up which was, however, delayed by an hour. The event turned into one big carnival with zumba and ati-atihan dancers, and the impromptu program being hosted by Roxas himself.
Nearby, thousands of people were also gathered for a day-long campaign rally by supporters of another presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, who did not come despite earlier reports that he would, along with his vice presidential candidate Alan Peter Cayetano. The crowd was entertained by actor Aljur Abrenica and girly group Mocha Girls. (The SUN tried to cover the event but was denied an interview by the lead organizer).
The final stop in the administration candidates’ visit was Chater Road, where the organizers Luzon Alliance extended an invitation to the two, after hearing about their visit.
The original guest was Roxas’ celebrity wife, Korina Sanchez-Roxas, who was invited to crown the winner of a beauty pageant held that day.
An estimated 5,000 people came to watch and listen to Roxas and Robredo, as each delivered a short speech.

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