Vice-presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan barnstorms his home city of about 30 years. PHOTOS COURTESY OF TEAM KIKO PANGILINAN
QUEZON CITY — As his wife, Megastar Sharon Cuneta was in Zamboanga and his daughter Frankie Pangilinan was in Iloilo with his running-mate presidential candidate VP Leni Robredo, vice-presidential candidate Senator Kiko Pangilinan swept all six districts of the country’s most vote-rich city on Tuesday, May 3.
In this one-day campaign dubbed “Kyusi Ang Susi,” Pangilinan started with a morning “palengke run” at Muñoz Market in QC District 1 before proceeding to mini rallies at District 6’s Sitio Mendez and District 3’s Quirino 2B, then to bigger rallies at District 5’s Shop N Ride in Novaliches and Commonwealth in District 2. Last stop was another major rally on Araneta Avenue in District 4, the same district where he lived and studied and served as councilor.
Quezon City is the Philippines’ most vote-rich city with 1.4 million voters.
Friends such as singer Kuh Ledesma, and his family — sister Angeli Pangilinan Valenciano, nephew Gab Valenciano, nieces Kiana Valenciano and Gab Pangilinan, and his son, Miguel — accompanied him in these QC sorties, giving speeches and performing for the crowd.
The senator emphasized that Quezon City holds a special place in his heart. “Dito tumira ang aming pamilya for 16 years, sa Mahusay St. sa UP Village. At noong lumipat kami sa Antipolo, sa University of the Philippines ako nag-aral ng kolehiyo at abogasiya.” Combining the years he lived, studied and worked in QC, Pangilinan counted a total of more than three decades spent in the city.
He recalled to the crowd in District 4 that it was in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, QC, where he was president of the student council and a student activist, where he became politicized. “Estudyante pa lang ako pinaglalaban ko na ang mga urban poor, magsasaka, mangingisda, mga IP (indigenous people)…”
Pangilinan also shared that one of his most unforgettable memories as a boy growing up in QC was being left behind by his family. The scene was no different from the premise of the Hollywood movie “Home Alone.”
He said that back in the 1960s when he was about five years old, he and his parents and seven siblings heard mass in Sto. Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue. After mass, on the drive back home, his mother suddenly realized that he (the fifth child) was missing. “Naiwan ako sa simbahan at napansin lang n’ung malapit na sila sa QC Memorial Circle,” Pangilinan recounted.
The family hurriedly went back to Sto. Domingo, where they found the young Kiko by the door, seemingly unaware of what had happened. “Nilalaro ko yung match box ko at n’un makita ko sila, tumakbo ako papunta sa sasakyan.”
That experience shaped him, led him to wonder, “Ano kaya ang nangyari kung tuluyan akong nakalimutan? Meron kayang kumupkop sa akin?”
Pangilinan said that if he and Robredo are elected, their administration will focus efforts on the marginalized, making sure that no one will be forgotten or left behind.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang pakiramdam ay iniwan na sila, hindi na nabibigyan ng panahon at tulong lalo na nitong pandemya.” He reiterated the thrust of their Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay Lahat saying, “Ang layunin namin ay [bigyang-pansin] ang mga naiwan. Iyong mga nasa laylayan ang ilagay sa sentro.”
Pangilinan is running on an agriculture-centered platform that prioritizes support for farmers and fisherfolk, and seeks food security for all Filipinos.