Press Release
March 18, 2016


BACOLOD CITY--Top presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe returned to her mother's home province with a rousing welcome from more than 24,000 people, proving that Negros Occidental was nobody's bailiwick.

Poe, running mate Sen. Francis Escudero, and the senatorial bets of their coalition Partido Galing at Puso, were met with loud cheers as they took the stage in one of the biggest campaign rallies for the lone independent tandem in the May elections.

"Kayo ay aking mga kasimanwa (kababayan). Ang aking pagkatao at katangian ay dahil sa itinuro sa akin ng aking nanay. Malambing tayo pero may tapang," the senator told the thousands of supporters gathered at the Bacolod Plaza.

Poe, the first foundling to run for president, was accompanied by her mother Susan Roces, who was born and raised in Bacolod City. It was the second time Roces joined her daughter's provincial sortie, visiting the public markets.

When they arrived in Negros Friday morning, Poe and Roces went straight to Silay cemetery and paid their respects to Teresa Ledesma Valencia, who gave Grace to Roces and Fernando Poe Jr.

"Kahit komportable ang aming buhay, hindi rin ganun kadali. Noong ako'y lumalaki, minsan ako'y tinutukso na 'nadampot ka lang,' kaya nararamdaman ko ang pakiramdam niyo 'pag kayo ay minamaliit at hindi kinikilala," Poe said.

This is why, she said, her "Gobyernong may Puso" will focus on improving the lives of the poor and marginalized, especially the farmers and fisherfolk, by giving their children access to free education from kinder to college.

She also said she will provide free lunch to elementary students in public schools, so that malnutrition will not get in the way of their education, which is their ticket out of poverty.

"Tumakbo ako dahil nakikita ko na kahit mayaman ang bansa ay marami pa ring mahihirap," she said. "Pag ako nanalo, lahat ay tututok sa Visayas dahil dito ako manunumpa."

Earlier in San Carlos City, Poe and Esacudero were welcomed by local officials led by the mayors of San Carlos, Calatrava and Escalante, as well as local candidates of the Nationalist People's Coalition.

In Bacolod, Poe and Escudero were hosted by Negros Occidental third district representative and former Liberal Party provincial chair Alfredo "Albee" Benitez, who has declared support for the tandem.

More than 35 members of the House of Representatives' Partylist Coalition also expressed support for Poe.

"Sabi nga ni Senator Chiz, wala kaming makinarya pero mayaman kami sa pagmamahal mula sa inyo," Poe said.

In 2013, Poe garnered 451,366 in Negros Occidental, making her the province's top choice for senator.

"Nanay ko mismo ang nagsabi, 'huwag mong kalimutan ang Bacolod.' Babalik kami dito at sana sa pagbalik namin dito, lahat tayo ay matagumpay," Poe said.

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