2023 May 17
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday urged lawmakers in his bailiwick, the so-called “Solid North,” to strengthen the regional bloc’s alliance and maintain its relevance for the benefit of the country.
Marcos made the call, as he led the the oath-taking of the newly-elected officials of the Northern Luzon Alliance (NLA) at Malacañan Palace.
Marcos, in his speech, acknowledged the Northern Luzon lawmakers’ solidarity which was evident even during the time of his father, the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., considered the patriarch of Ilocanos and the region’s politicians.
He, however, acknowledged that the NLA had to endure “difficult times” when the group had been considered “politically irrelevant.”
Despite this, the President expressed appreciation for the alliance’s strong commitment to remain united and stay in power, even after the Marcoses fell out of favor politically for some time with the subsequent administrations that followed.
“(T)hose times that we went through that, the Ilocano bloc remained solid. And the result is that we are now here celebrating the taking of the oath of new officers of the Northern Alliance here in the Palace,” Marcos said.
“Kaya’t let us take that as our lesson that really what has kept us going, what has kept us strong, and what has kept us relevant in national politics,” he added.
Marcos also echoed observations that Ilocanos are “overrepresented” in government and in politics because Filipinos appreciate them for being “good workers [who] will bring value to government service.”
He encouraged the solons from the “Solid North” to keep going, assuring them that they will get the support they need from his administration.
“And there is maybe a point to that, but the reason that is – is because we help each other because we stay solid,” Marcos said.
“And that has kept us afloat through all the lean years kung tawagin (that we call), through all the lean years. And as I said, now the solidarity and the strength of the Ilocano bloc has remained and it has served us well. So let us keep it going. And now instead only fighting up, may katulong na kayo dito sa taas (you now have our support),” he added.
The NLA is a group of congressmen mostly belonging to the tobacco-producing provinces.
Marcos’ son, Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos III, serves as NLA’s honorary chairperson.
The NLA’s new officers include Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Angelo Marcos Barba (president), Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog Jr. (executive vice president), Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Arthur Celeste, (vice president for Region 1), Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano (vice president for Region 2), CAR and Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang (vice president), and ABONO Party-list Rep. Robert Raymund Estrella (vice president).
Other NLA officials are La Union 1st District Rep. Franciso Paolo Ortega V (secretary), Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan (treasurer), and Isabela 4th District Rep. Joseph Tan (auditor).
To recall, Marcos dominated the May 9, 2022 presidential race in the “Solid North,” a long-running stronghold of his family.
Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)