Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer Mayor Isko Domagoso’s presidential bid got a major boost on Thursday after several Moro volunteer groups and non-government organizations from the ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi) area endorsed his candidacy because they considered the hard-working Manila City mayor as a “charismatic leader.”
The groups backing Moreno included the ZamBaSulta Isko Kami headed by Engr. Michael Abubakar; United Sama Badjau Association Inc. (USBA) chaired by Panglima Adim Atti; and the Region IX and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) chapters of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), a large volunteer group that propelled President Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency in 2016.
MRRD-NECC Region 9 chair Jerson Monteverde, who also sits as the regional chief of the Maharlika Royal Tribes 1-Nation, said the group also included the MRRD-NECC Women’s Sector chaired by Liza Ibra, who also sits as chair of the Las Brillas Mujeres Association, a large women’s advocacy group in Zamboanga City. Their collective endorsement was made after Moreno led the ribbon-cutting ceremony of theZamBaSulta Isko Kami headquarters in Zamboanga City.
“We sincerely swear our full support, to you Isko, Doc Willie (Ong) and your group. We swear that we will wholeheartedly support your candidacy. We have no one else to support,” Monteverde said, to loud cheers from hundreds of officers and members of the various groups in attendance.
The 47-year-old Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate said he is overwhelmed by the show of support from such a large group, majority of which are Muslims who came from the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“I am happy and honored to be here in Zamboanga. You went all the way, you still spent. You even prepared headquarters for us. Doc Willie and I, we are sincerely grateful for the hard work, the effort, the expense, the perseverance. Thank you very much,” Moreno said.
Moreno said the composition of this present group of supporters only proves that Christians and Muslims can live together in peace and harmony if they commit themselves to a common goal.
“It’s really true that anyone can live, Christian, Muslim, can live together, can live in peace,” he added.
Moreno said that in return for their wholehearted trust and support, he vowed that given the chance, he will ensure that peace and equality will reign all over Mindanao during his term.
“Now, as a gift to you, tell your Christian friends, your Muslim friends, acquaintances, relatives. God have mercy, with your help, there was no war in Mindanao in my time. It’s a bold commitment, it’s hard to fulfill, but we must seek for peace. Peace creates prosperity. Peace creates a secure life,” he said.
“And God have mercy, with your help, you who are from Mindanao, Visayas, Luzon; rich, middle class, poor, I will make you feel human equality,” Moreno said, eliciting loud and prolonged chanting of“ Isko! Isko! Isko!”
The 47-year-old presidential bet has vowed that if elected, he 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, the first two years of an ‘Isko Moreno presidency’ will focus on building facilities that will provide the minimum basic needs of the people – quality housing, education and health care, and creating jobs and livelihood opportunities.
Under his accelerated infrastructure program, infrastructure development will be focused in areas or provinces with low human development index (HDI), particularly in Mindanao and the Visayas, to bring about a more inclusive economic growth.
To further hasten human and economic growth, Moreno also vowed to strengthen physical, economic and digital linkages among growth centers and the rural economies.