LAOAG CITY — Independent presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Thursday received warm welcome here with excited local supporters wearing white T-shirt embedded with “Ang anak ng Panday” and her photo on it cheering for her upon arrival at the Laoag International Airport.

Some voters in Ilocos provinces, known as Marcoses’ turf, said the “solid north” vote goes to vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos but they prefer Senator Grace Poe for president.

“We have our all out support for Sen. Bongbong but we want Grace for president. We want a new leader untainted with corruption. Someone who is not indebted to anybody like old politicians and our old government system so that she can institute reform and clean our government,” said Ricardo Tolentino, a well known mango magnate in northern Luzon.

Thousands of supporters from Ilocos Norte and from the nearby provinces of Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan used their own private vehicles just to meet Poe at the Laoag airport.

From the airport, Poe immediately proceeded to the Batac public market where she gamely granted requests for selfie and groupie with market goers.

Some market goers described Poe as “small yet tough”, taking the rare opportunity to shake hands with the lady senator.

“We shook hands. I won’t washed my hand for awhile,” said one in jest.

Poe stopped for awhile at one stall to buy some empanada, ate her share and continued shaking hands with the people.

From the public market, Poe proceeded to the Mariano Marcos State University to meet the excited students.

She, however, arrived almost an hour late as Governor Imee Marcos met with her in Batac City and led her to the Paoay sand dunes where a statue in honor of “Ang Panday” was erected.

If elected president, Poe assured students that she will push the provision of free lunch in public schools, including free and fast internet and Wifi.

The senator talked about the enactment of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) reform law which has provision prohibiting political dynasty.

The law provides that SK officers must not be related with second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official, incumbent elected regional, provincial,city, municipal official in the locality where an SK member is running for election.

Poe arrived here without her running mate Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero who traveled down south to woo voters in Sultan Kudarat, Kidapawan and Kabacan.

Escudero will join Poe in a Pangasinan sortie on Friday. PNA/northboundasia.com