BAUANG, La Union — From Montalban, Rizal, to Aparri up North, Cebu province, towns, and cities. And then add to it, Novaliches in Quezon City and Batangas province.
This is how the indefatigable transport group Philippine Transport Monitor (PhilTram), which is pushing the pair of leading presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and vice-presidential aspirant Senate President Tito Sotto, blitzed the north, a.k.a Solid North; in a no-nonsense effort to bring down to the ground and campaign hard what they call as “perfect combination” for a 1-2 punch in the coming national and local elections.
PhilTram national chairman Io Bautista tersely summed it up:
“Naging positibo po ang pagtanggap ng mga mamamayan sa tambalang MarSo sa lahat po ng aming puntahan sa Norte, at iba pang bahagi ng Luzon bagama’t may kaunti lang silang panghihinayang. ‘Yan ay ‘ika nga nila, bakit ngayon lang kayo sabay sabing hindi pa huli ang lahat. Iboboto namin ang MarSo!”
Unknown to the PhilTram group, while they were at it distributing leaflets with the lively MarSo jingle blaring in the background; tuckering up posters and tarps, talking to the public, explaining to the community why they should choose MarSo, similar efforts were being done by MarSo supporters in Cebu City, Bogo City, and Medellin Cebu.
In total, PhilTram barnstormed the north in five, fruitful days.
On their final day on Sunday (01 May 2022), PhilTram’s MarSo team invaded La Union, the bagsakan market in Villasis, Pangasinan after blitzing historic Vigan, Sarrat, Batac, Laoag City, Candon, Ilocos Sur, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, and Aparri.
But earlier, Team Marso also did sorties in Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Cagayan, and Tuguegarao City, and many other places in between where there are scenes of heavy foot traffic.
For sure, according to Bautista, MarSo is now the talk of the town in the aforecited places up north not to mention the towns and cities of Agoo, La Union; and Villasis, Pangasinan where people almost instantly flocked to their service jingle vehicle to ask for MarSo t-shirts, stickers, flyers, tarpaulin, and banderitas or flaglets.
Others also asked for “selfie” photo ops with members of the team who were also too willing to accommodate them.
And they may not be 100% “Solid” but one thing the MarSo team learned is the fact that people almost instantly go gaga whenever they get a chance to get a look at their “Apo Lakay” Bongbong Marcos on tarps and t-shirts of the MarSo tandem.
A stamp of their approval to PhilTram’s Marcos-Sotto tandem also flashed before them in the form of thumbs-up signs that people almost instantly show as PhilTram’s service vehicle passes by.
From Villasis, the group also stormed Dagupan with flyers and other campaign paraphernalia before heading back to “barracks” in Quezon City, Metro Manila on Sunday, May 1.
Bautista explained that his group picked and pitched for the MarSo tandem because according to him, the duo shares with them a “soft” kind of heart and their tacit tendency to protect and fight for the welfare of transport workers.
PhilTram also hopes that if ever they will get elected on May 9, the MarSo tandem would cause the introduction and passage of a comprehensive bill giving them ample protection in workplaces related to transport and welfare of the people in general.
They are of different political lineage but Bautista believes Marcos and Sotto can deliver on other policies on health, jumpstarting the Covid-rocked economy, and stamp out poverty and drug addiction.
“Di namin malilimutan ang karanasang ito, ibang klase talaga kapag taumbayan na ang nagpupursigi at kusang lumalapit para humingi ng mabuting balita at napapatanaw sa swabeng tunog ng “MarSo jingle” Bautista said.
MarSo sashayed into public when a Maharlika TV News team spotted a man installing a MarSo tarp somewhere in San Mateo and in Montalban, Rizal, middle of April.
A week after, MarSo returned to Montalban and held a short motorcade supported by a large group of tricycle drivers and local riders who joyously followed MarSo’s lead car into the heart of the town and back last Wednesday, 27 April 2022.
Afterwhich, Team MarSo headed up north.
Aside from the Montalban motorcade, MarSo held similar activities in the cities of Sto Tomas and Tanauan in Batangas Province.
MTVNews also spotted MarSo group in Novaliches, Quezon City distributing flyers, sticking up tarpaulins on houses and tricycles before they finally faced the working media last Thursday, 21 April via a press conference in Quezon City.
“Talagang itong tandem ng Marcos-Sotto ang iboboto ko, at maligaya kami ditong mga drayber at kung sila ang mananalo alam namin hindi nila pababayaan ang aming hanay na maituturing rin kaming frontliners ng bayan,” a tricycle driver, who participated in one of the motorcades, said.
Efforts by Team MarSo also never went unnoticed on social media. Their side came awash with positive comments, words of approval, and encouragement.
The good news also reached “Tito Sen” and the latter instantly offered words of gratitude: “Kung anong makakatulong sa ating ikakapanalo ay wini-welcome ko po. Salamat.”
In short, the short period of time notwithstanding, efforts by PhilTram to push MarSo up front in terms of public awareness using all available media — mainstream and socmed — arrived at its desired effect, and now it’s only a few days for the moment of truth. (ai/mtvn)