By: Jene-Anne Pangue


Former first lady Imelda Marcos says her son, vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, will be the voice of the ‘long abandoned’ region in the national government

Imelda in E.Visayas: Bring back a Marcos to national government 1WARAYNONS. The Marcoses and the Romualdezes join forces in a campaign rally on April 25, 2016 in Balyuan, Tacloban City. Photo by Jene Anne Pangue/

LEYTE, Philippines – Former first lady Imelda Marcos on Monday, April 25, slammed “government neglect” for Eastern Visayas as she sought to convince voters in the region to support the vice presidential bid of her son, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The Ilocos Norte Second District Representative, who hails from Tacloban, made the pitch at a campaign rally in Balyuan along Magsaysay Boulevard.

“Aadi ako para mangampanya ha iyo ky an Region VIII maiha na nga gnabandona han gobyerno. Kinahanglan magkamay-ada kita hin magrerepresenta ha aton rehiyon,” Marcos said amid cheers.

(I am here to campaign for you because Region VIII has long been abandoned by the government. Thus, we need to have a representative from the region.)

She expressed hoped that her son would get a “solid vote” in Leyte and Samar, just as he is expected to get the same support in the Ilocos region, as she promised that his vice presidency would make the Philippines “great again.”

“Bongbong is an Ilocano by birth but also a Waray-Waray because he gave his heart to the Taclobanons,” she said, and recalled the achievements of her late husband, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in Leyte and Samar.

Marcos claimed that the government has long abandoned the Eastern Visayas region. Her son, she said, would give the region a voice in the national government.

In November 2013, Eastern Visayas bore the brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall, which tested the Aquino administration‘s disaster-response capability. More than 7 million individuals were affected by the typhoon, majority hailing from Eastern and Western Visayas.

Administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who was interior secretary at the time, was slammed by critics for his supposed missteps in responding to the massive devastations post-Yolanda. But last week, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez acknowleged that Roxas had “risked his life” to save people during Yolanda. (READ: As Roxas campaigns in Leyte, Martin Romualdez makes amends)

Romualdez, a senatorial candidate, is the nephew of Marcos, and a cousin of Leyte Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who had a run-in with Roxas after the local official claimed that the latter had politicized government relief efforts in his province.

Vote for Marcoses, Romualdezes

At the campaign rally of her son, Marcos also pushed for the candidacies of her other relatives vying for local and national positions.

She assured the crowd that if they vote for the Marcoses and the Romualdezes, the latter will have a nanay (mother) who will support them along the way, a fellow Waray like them.

She also encouraged them to vote for leaders who love, care, and serve the people, especially those who will never leave them in times of need.

Marcos said she was campaigning in behalf of her fellow Warays, describing them as “the most beautiful people in the world.”

She then cited herself as an example of Waray beauty who, at age 86, still looked like a teenager, and always strived to make herself look beautiful.

Joining her on stage were her son, Representative Romualdez, Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez who is running for Tacloban mayor, Yedda Romualdez who is running for Leyte first district representative, Mayor Romualdez and former Tacloban Mayor Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez.

Tacloban City is a political bailiwick of the Marcoses and the Romualdezes. There are 2.6 million voters in Eastern Visayas. – with reports from Chris Billes/