It felt good to be home.
Last week, I went to the University of the Philippines-Los Banos to attend the Razzmataz concert at the Fairgrounds. Before I was called up on stage to give a short message on choosing the right candidates for the May elections, I walked around the campus and was surprised to see a lot of familiar faces. Nakakatuwa.
Although I am occasionally around the Southern Tagalog region, last Friday’s trip was sort of a homecoming for me. Growing up in Quezon and studying in Los Banos, Laguna, I will always have a soft spot for its people, sights and sounds. It became all the more important and humbling for me when the people of Southern Tagalog proclaimed me as their own son, for being one with their struggles in both the parliament of Congress and the streets.
Laguna is known especially for its buko pies. Colette’s, one of its leading established brands, supported my Buy Pinoy, Build Pinoy campaign to promote Filipino products and build Filipino industries. But I had to take a picture of this Pinangat na Tulingan, Laguna’s version of pot-steamed mackerel wrapped in banana leaves (for added flavor). This is a specialty that anyone who visits Laguna should try. Sarap!
We also visited a fisherfolk community in Bacoor, Cavite. In this part of Manila Bay, the mussels, oysters and crabs are as fresh as they come. Despite the smiles on their faces, there is a sad story behind our kababayans from Bacoor. They told me they experienced a dramatic decline in fish catch and aquaculture production after the 5,000 hectares of foreshore areas were reclaimed for the R-1 Extension Expressway Project.
Thousands of fishing and urban poor communities now face the same fate as 26,000 hectares of the entire Manila Bay is about to be reclaimed to make way for sprawling business centers and other projects which will hardly benefit the fisherfolk and poor residents.
I stand with the people of Bacoor in their fight against the reclamation. Being one of only two senatorial candidates who have a clear and active campaign against the implementation of the onerous and fast-tracked National Reclamation Plan, I am determined to bring their voice to the Senate.#