Filipino Canadians rally for Philippine presidential candidate with Calgary connection

Supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Leni Robredo turned out to a Calgary park on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. Global News

Hundreds of Filipino Canadians converged in Bowness Park on Sunday to show their support for a Philippine presidential candidate with a Calgary connection.

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Holding signs and waving Canadian and Philippine flags, people called for change in the small island nation and advocated for Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo to become the next president.

Robredo is running against Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — the son of a former dictator — and retired boxer Manny Pacquiao, among others.

Read more: Duterte’s daughter Sara to run for Philippine vice president in elections next year

Antonio Gerona, Robredo’s brother who lives in Calgary, was moved to see so many Filipinos supporting his sister.

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“The Filipinos here in Calgary expressed their support for Leni Robredo,” Gerona said.

“There are a lot of Filipinos here in Calgary, so right now, I am a bit surprised that almost more than 200 cars joined this caravan.”

Philippine Vice-President and opposition leader Leni Robredo smiles during a press conference in Quezon City on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Robredo is running for president in next year’s election in a move that would bring the pro-democracy advocate to a faceoff with the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

Rally attendees were critical of current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who they claim has been negligent in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and accused him of human rights abuses.

“What we perceive in the present government is not doing much good for the Filipinos,” Gerona said.

Read more: Park honouring Filipino hero breaks ground in Calgary

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Organizers said Sunday’s event was a part of a simultaneous Canada-wide caravan in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto.

The election in the Phillippines is scheduled for May 9, 2022.

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