Post-election wish

The people of Ilocos Norte have spoken —  they still want the prominent political names. The smashing victory of Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos in the congressional race (2nd district of the province) is a clear signal that she is still a political force to be reckoned with in Ilocos Norte.

Daughter Imee Marcos, who, at the last minute, ran against her cousin Governor Michael Marcos Keon for the gubernatorial post, won a whopping 69.34 % of the votes.

For the vice-governor’s  seat, another Marcos cousin, Board Member Angelo Marcos Barba, who ran under Keon’s ticket, won against Board Member Yvonne Ranada, Imee’s running mate.

Comeback kid Atty. Rodolfo C. Fariñas got 50.42% of the votes in the congressional race (1st district of the province). His closest opponent, young Board Member Kris Ablan (son of Congressman Roque R. Ablan, Jr., who is vacating the post) got 28.15%.

Congressman Bongbong Marcos is among the 12 leading senatorial candidates.

There we have it: old names, new posts. I hope the cracks in the so-called Solid North will heal in no time for the sake of the province. A united Ilocos Norte is the fastest way to a better and brighter future. The chosen leaders should set the tone and put the negative vibes aside.

The Great Divide: Imee or Keon

If former president Ferdinand Marcos were still alive, Ilocos Norte would not be divided like it is today.  The political bickering got even worse. I wrote in my favorite April 5, 2009 post , Ilocos Norte From A to Z:

Y The yardstick against which all new leaders in the province are measured since the late President Marcos remains to be him — the Apo. He was brilliant and left the nation with many accomplishments including the thousands of laws he has written that are still in force and in effect. During his time, the province was solid with no political bickering at all.

As of now, I haven’t decided on who to vote for Governor. It would be a breeze if I live in the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte, where Imee Marcos, daughter of the late Apo, was  former representative, but I live in Laoag which is covered by the 1st district. I only read about her in the news. She is running against reelectionist governor Michael Marcos Keon, son of the late former Ilocos Norte governor Elizabeth Marcos Keon, sister of Imee’s father.

Even the other Marcos cousins, Mariano “Nonong” Marcos II and Angelo Marcos Barba, are running under opposing tickets. Nonong, a reelectionist board member, is under Imee’s ticket, while incumbent board member Angelo is running for Vice Governor under Keon’s ticket.

Mariano "Nonong" Marcos II

Angelo Marcos Barba

Ilocos Norte has a voting population of about 348,000. It’s small; in Laoag alone, halos magkakakilala ang mga pamilya. This time around, much like sa positions of President, VP and Senator, tantiyahan na lang. This is going to be the toughest one! I need to meditate on it this Holy Week break. The environmentalist in me says — wish ko lang, to ask each one if they can assure the people of Ilocos Norte na hindi makakapasok ang Romualdez-held Benguet Corporation sa province. The mining corporation is in the process of  application for a Financial Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for an Ilocos Norte project. (Read related post.) The project might compromise the remaining primary forests of  the North and the world-renowned beaches of Pagudgud. It scares me more that utang na loob, loyalty and family ties are the issues sa kampanya. (Read related article.)

Noynoy and Kris Aquino experience the warm Ilocano hospitality

“They came out. There, I cannot ask for more.’ — the  reaction of Senator Noynoy Aquino (son of late Philippine senator Benigno S. Aquino and former Philippine president Corazon C. Aquino), who is running for president in the coming Philippine elections in May this year, to the warm reception his party received in a campaign visit to Ilocos Norte, hometown of the late Apo, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It was the first time he and his sister, moviestar/television host, Kris Aquino, set foot in the Marcos bailiwick. People Power Revolution, also known as EDSA Revolution, toppled the 20-year Marcos regime. It is the same people’s power that catapulted their late mother to presidency in 1986.

“I was surprised because I was expecting that this airport would be empty, but I’m very grateful  that the people were here, but, of course, when we went out, it’s a whole different story altogether. On the way here, I said two rosaries and I said, ‘mom, please give us strength that I won’t say anything that might cause the Ilocanos to be angry towards Noy and me, and I pray that our trip here will be fine,”  Kris was quoted to have said.

Kris looked happy while she announced,  “… nanggaling kami sa Laoag, eh, grabe naman po ang pagmamahal na pinaabot sa amin (… we were in Laoag… the love that they extended to us was super).”

In a reconciliatory tone, former Ilocos Norte representative Imee Marcos,  eldest daughter of late former president Marcos, said in a television interview, “We should forget the past…  I’m quite relieved by the Marcos-Aquino situation. I’m hoping that it is the same with them.”

The Ilocanos, known for their warm and enthusiastic hospitality, proved that magnanimity is also part of their culture.