PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday called on the Northern Luzon lawmakers to further strengthen the “Solid North” regional bloc and maintain the strong unity of its members and its relevance for the benefit of the country.
The President made the pitch during the oathtaking ceremony of the newly elected officials of the Northern Luzon Alliance (NLA) held in Malacanang where he recalled the difficult times the group was considered politically irrelevant.
“(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 the oath of new officers of the Northern Alliance here in the Palace,” Marcos said.
“And that has kept us afloat through all the lean years kung tawagin, 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,” he added.
The President emphasized the alliance’s solidarity that 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.
And even after the Marcoses fell out of favor politically for some time with the subsequent administrations that followed, the alliance has maintained its unity and staying power, he 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,” the President said.
Marcos also echoed observations that Ilocanos are overrepresented in government and in politics.
“And there is maybe a point to that, but the reason that is – is because we help each other because we stay solid. And we – kinikilala natin these are Ilocanos that have been working with us that we know are good workers that will bring value to government service,” he said.
The NLA is a group of congressmen mostly belonging to the tobacco-producing provinces. Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos III serves as NLA’s honorary chairman.
The alliances’ officers include Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, NLA President; Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog Jr., NLA Executive Vice President; Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Arthur F. Celeste, NLA Vice President – Region 1; Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio T. Albano, NLA Vice President – Region 2; CAR and Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, NLA Vice President.
Other officials are Party List and Allied Districts and ABONO Party List Rep. Robert Raymund M. Estrella, NLA Vice President; La Union 1st District Rep. Franciso Paolo P. Ortega V, NLA Secretary; Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, NLA Treasurer; and Isabela 4th District Rep. Joseph S. Tan, NLA Auditor.