(Editor's note: This story contains Comelec figures from the 2019 elections. An updated version of this story can be found here.)
Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos stopped traffic along major thoroughfares in Quezon City as he held a motorcade in Metro Manila's most populous city on Wednesday, hoping to gain the favor of its over one million registered voters.
Quezon City registers the most number of voters in the capital region, and if the results of the last two presidential elections would be the basis, the candidate who wins in this city has a high chance of winning the elections overall.
Both President Rodrigo Duterte and the late President Benigno Aquino III led the Quezon City vote in the 2016 and the 2010 elections, respectively.
While the late movie king Fernando Poe Jr. won in Metro Manila in the 2004 presidential polls, voters from vote-rich provinces in Visayas helped to propel his closest rival, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to victory.
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Which areas in the country are vote-rich?
The Commission on Elections has yet to release the latest voter registration figures for the 2022 elections. But if the data from the 2019 elections would be used, here are the 20 provinces and cities in the country with the most number of voters:
- Cebu - 3.08 million voters
- Cavite - 2.15 million voters
- Pangasinan - 1.95 million voters
- Laguna - 1.90 million voters
- Negros Occidental - 1.89 million voters
- Bulacan - 1.86 million voters
- Batangas - 1.72 million voters
- Rizal - 1.62 million voters
- Iloilo - 1.53 million voters
- Nueva Ecija - 1.46 million voters
- Pampanga - 1.46 million voters
- Davao Del Sur - 1.41 million voters
- Quezon City - 1.33 million voters
- Leyte - 1.29 million voters
- Quezon Province - 1.28 million voters
- Camarines Sur - 1.20 million voters
- Zamboanga Del Sur - 1.11 million voters
- City of Manila - 1.07 million voters
- Isabela - 1.05 million voters
- Davao City - 984,604 voters
As the 2022 elections come closer, expect candidates to make multiple trips to these areas, wooing voters through motorcades and rallies to show their rivals that they have what it takes to win the elections.
"Candidates have to convince people or voters that they are strong candidates and they have the capacity to win,” University of the Philippines political science professor Maria Ela Atienza told reportr in an earlier interview.
“With health protocols in place, campaign strategists have to think of other ways to prove to voters that there is a sizeable support for their candidates,” she added.
While the Comelec said it would limit physical interactions between candidates and voters to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the old school way of campaigning through handshakes and sorties would really not go away, according to analysts.
"Kapag may personal touch, kapag may personal interaction, mas nai-increase yung chances na ma-convince ang isang voter na iboto yung candidate," University of the Santo Tomas political science professor Dennis Coronacion told reportr in a previous interview.
"Kapag nakita ng botante na bumababa sa barangay nila yung kanilang mga kandidato, parang additional pogi points yun sa mga kandidato," he added.
The Comelec earlier issued its guidelines for campaigning in the 2022 elections, including allowing national candidates to use the poll body's official social media channels to hold their virtual rallies.
The poll body is expected to release the official list of candidates for the 2022 elections on Dec. 15.