Filipinos mobilize support for Duterte

RIYADH: A gathering of Filipinos and their families, estimated at 1,000, rallied here Friday as overseas absentee voters (OAVs) expressed and renewed their support to Rodrigo (Rody) Duterte, Davao City mayor and presidential candidate.
According to Manila Bulletin’s Facebook survey, as of 11:49 a.m., March 15, 2016, Duterte dominated the poll with 58 percent of 35,989 respondents rooting for him. Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas followed, taking 25 percent of the votes; while Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago received a nod from 9 percent of those who have cast their votes. The survey question was: Who are you voting for the 2016 elections?
Nadzker Hatnett, PR and media head of the Duterte Middle East Movement under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas Ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said that the gathering bannered under theme, Make it happen: OFWs worldwide support, Duterte solid votes.
He added that the electoral objective of the group is to convert Duterte’s support into votes in this election.
“At least 40 OFW organizations’ representatives have attended aside from Filcom leaders and personalities,” Hatnett averred.
“Our group will start to quantify the expected votes we can deliver for Duterte from the pledge votes of overseas absentee voters and their families in Philippines,” the group’s PR man added. “Our target is to get the votes of at least 70 percent to 90 percent maximum of the total overseas absentee voters,” he said.
“We are constantly receiving invitations from various Filipino organizations here Kingdom-wide and in other Gulf countries where there are large concentrations of OFWs. These organizations wanted us to be with them to confirm their pledge of support for Mayor Duterte,” he added.
Hatnett revealed that last week the team was invited by a group of Filipino organizations during the opening of a basketball tournament in Alkhobar, in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, as its guest speaker discussing Duterte’s program and plans for OFWs. There are around 1.3 million OAVs who are expected to cast votes from the start of the one-month duration overseas absentee voting on.
The event was attended by Nedhal Abu Abdulrahman, a Saudi, who drew attention of the crowd because of his address to the gathering in fluent English and Tagalog throwing his support to Duterte.
“I participated in the event because I am passionate about the Philippines and the Filipino people. My several visits to the country included the city of Davao, which I found is one of safest, cleanest, and busiest cities there as a result of the relentless efforts sound effective leadership of its Mayor Duterte,” he told Arab News.
“Because Filipinos are decent, articulated, and well educated people, I think they deserve Duterte, who symbolizes peace, harmony and productivity, and they can compete with their neighbors in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea,” he added. A recorded video of his speech posted on Facebook got more than 1.1 million views since Friday.

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