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Aksyon Demokratiko Downplays IM Pilipinas-Cebu Move; Says Sectoral, Volunteer Groups In Visayas Remain Solid Behind Mayor Isko

TEAM ISKO chief campaign strategist Lito Banayo on Tuesday said various sectoral and volunteer groups remain solid in their support for Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso despite claims made by the lead convenor of the Ikaw Muna (IM) Pilipinas Visayas chapter supposedly shifting the group’s support to another candidate.

“Unang-una, isang tao lamang ang alam naming nagsalita, si Mr. (Nick) Malazarte, at meron namang statement yung karamihan nung mga Visayas for Isko, VISA, at mga grupo sa Cebu na dine-deny yung claim ni Mr. Malazarte, na siya ay nag-iisa lamang,” Banayo said during a press briefing at the Isko Moreno Domagoso for President headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

“Sa katunayan, sa darating na (April) 8 and 9, ay pupunta si Mayor Isko at ang kaniyang team sa Cebu, at ang magho-host sa kanila ay volunteer groups na based sa Cebu at Visayas. So, hindi namin alam kung ilan ang sinasabi ni Ginoong Malazarte na diumano ay lumipat kay Vice President Leni (Robredo),” he added.

Banayo’s statements were bolstered by the leaders of various groups in the Visayas who pointed out that Malazarte’s presence is hardly felt in the ground despite claiming to be the leader of the IM Pilipinas chapter.

Dr. Winley Dela Fuente, head of the Visayas for Isko-Sara Alliance (VISA), said that Malazarte has not been actively participating in the activities of the sectoral groups in the Visayas that are pushing Moreno’s candidacy.

Edward Ligas, head of President Isko Movement-Isulong ang Kapakanan ng Pilipina, noted that Moreno is actually getting tremendous support on the ground, with at least 30 sectoral groups in the Visayas backing Moreno.

On the other hand, Ely Abella, head of Inisyatibo ng Makabayang Pilipino, said that it was actually Malazarte who does not have solid followers that can help boost Moreno’s bid, and his decision to leave will be hardly felt.

In the meantime, Banayo warned that it is not right for people to base decisions on surveys at this point in time, since the present toxic environment and the lack of real time survey results makes pre-election polls unreliable.

“In a toxic environment such as what we have, where pink trolls proliferate, kaya maraming hindi sumasagot ng tama sa surveys e dahil sa bashing na ginagawa ng ibat-ibang sides. So this has engendered a sense of parang fear on the part of a lot of people,” Banayo explained.

“Again, these are snapshots. Lahat ng surveys na nakikita natin ay mga either mid-February or first week of March. Pero hindi pa naka-capture yung mga mabilis na nangyayari na mga events, like itong P203 billion estate tax claim against Ferdinand Marcos Jr.. How it impacts on his number, we still do not know in this point in time,” Banayo said.

Having said that, the seasoned political strategist said the “unity” being dangled by the camp of Robredo is just a strategy borne out of her own ambition to become president, riding on an anti-Marcos sentiment and supposedly moral principles.

“Sa madaling salita, ang pinag-uusapan natin dito, kung itutuloy natin ito, ay magkaisa tayo para sa isang tao. Hindi naman yan tama. Kasi sa aming pananaw, ang pinaglalaban nga namin yung mamamayan, hindi isang tao o isang faction,” Banayo said.

“It’s about people, it’s not about warring factions. It’s not about exclusive factions who think they are morally upright compared to the rest of humanity. So, I don’t think that will prosper,” Banayo said.

Banayo said this is precisely the reason why Mayor Isko is making himself available as a viable alternative presidential candidate – to uplift the quality of lives of the masses, and not on the basis of political factionalism or personal ambition.

“Pinaglalaban namin precisely ay yung di kami lumalaban dahil sa kontra kami dito o kontra kami sa faction na ito. Lumalaban kami because pinaglalaban namin yung karapatan ng ordinaryong tao, ng ordinaryong mamamayan, na magkaroon ng mas mabuting buhay, mas mabuting kinabukasan,” Banayo said.

Moreno vowed that if elected president, his administration will pursue a “Life and Livelihood” economic policy that aims to address poverty, hunger, unemployment, inequality and social injustice through an inclusive and equitable infrastructure development program as spelled out under his 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda.

To achieve this, his administration will continue the Build, Build Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte, with a focus on building more public housing, more public schools, and more public hospitals across the country to create more jobs and opportunities for our people.

To further alleviate the plight of the masses and protect industries, he will work closely with Congress to reduce the taxes on two of the most basic of commodities – petroleum and electricity. #