MABALACAT CITY, Pampanga: Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday visited resettlement areas for Aetas and the victims 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption here and the nearby towns.
In return, four Aeta tribe associations and the town mayors vowed solid support for the vice presidential bid of Marcos.
Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales introduced Marcos to members of Samahan Angkan ng Katutubo (SAKA), Mabalacat Aeta Tribal Association (MATA), Bamban Aeta Tribal Association (BATA), and Tribal Elders, from the Aeta resettlement called Marcos Village composed of five villages.
Edgar Palo, SAKA member of the board of trustees, said they will vote for Marcos to ensure that the projects initiated by his father will be continued. He said their settlement started in 1965 after the Americans forced them out of Clark Field.
Marcos was accompanied by his sons – Simon and Vincent, his sister Irene Marcos-Araneta and her two sons.
Marcelo Sumilang, president of Tribal Leaders, said he had been an Aeta community leader since the Marcos administration.
Also yesterday, Marcos visited the resettlement villages for Mt. Pinatubo victims in the villages of San Isidro and Santa Lucia in Magalang town.
Marcos said he is deeply honored by the endorsement of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, saying he epitomizes his advocacy for unity as he had united the Filipinos when he overwhelmingly won the presidency in 1998.
Estrada endorsed Marcos during the mayor’s proclamation rally in Liwasang Bonifacio Monday night.
It was the second endorsement of Estrada for Marcos. The first was when Estrada attended Marcos’ proclamation rally last October in Intramuros, Manila.
Also on Monday, Marcos brought his Unity Caravan to several towns in Tarlac, the home province of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, and got the support of the mayors he visited, including relatives of the President.
The mayors who vowed to campaign for Marcos are Benjamin Tesoro of San Manuel, Estelita Montano Aquino of Moncada, Miguel Rivella of Paniqui, and Neil Agustin of Camiling.
Rivella, a first cousin of Aquino on the Cojuangco side, said “I am personally supporting him.”
Incidentally, all these towns are inhabited by Ilocano-speaking residents. Marcos is from Ilocos Norte. All of the mayors, except Rivella, are members of the Nationalist People’s Coaliton (NPC).
“We are 100 percent Marcos,” said Tesoro, a retired Scout Ranger and a graduate of Philippine Military Academy ’75 Makabayan class.
The Agustins of Camiling are also endorsing Marcos and village officials are supporting their choice.
Marcos also went to Tarlac State University where he met schools officials and hundreds of students who flocked at the university gymnasium for his campaign statement.