LAOAG CITY — Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago (MDS) and running mate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos (BBM) officially launched their tandem in this northern gateway of Luzon as the team to beat in the May 2016 elections.

John Marvin Galat, 19, president of the Debate Society of the top performing Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, said a ‘great wall’ of support is being prepared by the Miriam-Bongbong Youth Movement (MBYM) in Ilocos to solidify their victory.

“As we continue to integrate into the knowledge economy, we need leaders who can harness young people’s potentials to help make the Philippines competitive vis-à-vis other countries,” said a statement of the MBYM, which Galat himself serves as president.

The group said Senators Santiago and Marcos are best fit to lead the country to progress.

“Brilliant and brave, both of them perfectly capture our young people’s imagination and cooperation to build a Philippines better than what we live in today,” the group added.

Created since December, MBYM started from a group of friends with over 200 members and now actively engaged in information drive using various multi-media platforms.

“Both of them have a solid reputation in public service, having enacted laws that empower students and the youth. And both of them have a clear agenda for the education sector. As they have our full support, we trust that they will not fail us,” said the group as they eagerly await for the two in their first public appearance as a team on Tuesday in Batac City.

To emphasize the “North-South” coalition, the Santiago-Marcos tandem decided to kick off the campaign at the Marcos bailiwick in Ilocos Norte. After the proclamation rally and media interview at the Batac mansion, the team is expected to grace an open forum with students at the MMSU Teatro Ilocandia.

“We are inviting as many students to participate and listen to what they can offer to us, the students and the youth. Specifically, we want more budget for education, programs that will make the youth competitive with our counterparts and a smooth transition of the K-12 program,” said Jomil Jade Agullana, 20, senior student of BS Electronics Engineering of MMSU and presently the president of the University Student Council (USC).

He likewise clarified the student-organized activity facilitated by the USC is purely meant to give students informed choices and not to endorse any candidate. PNA/