Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

I arrived in Legazpi City on February 28, Sunday. After an eat-all-you-can breakfast at Quick n Hearty resto, we checked-in at Sampaguita Tourist Inn (free wifi at the lobby). Then we proceeded to the headquarters of Makabayan Coalition to prepare for our Sunday caravan.

From Legazpi, we motored to Guinobatan where we conducted a handshaking campaign in the market. Next stop is Ligao where we attended a meeting of all SK officials in the town hall. We had our lunch at Masaraga restaurant.

In the afternoon we campaigned in the public markets of Polangui, Libon, Matacon, Oas, and Camalig. We visited the office-residence of a young councilor who is running for mayor in Polangui. I bought an abaca slipper in Polangui, the hometown of Albay Governor Joey Salceda.

Our team went to Sorsogon City in the evening. I spoke in a concert in front of the provincial capitol. The governor’s platform is HEARTS – health, education, environment, energy, agriculture, rural, and shelter. I learned that many activities were cancelled in the province because of the tsunami scare following the strong earthquake in Chile. We stayed at Fernandos Hotel.

We paid a courtesy call to school officials and student leaders of Sorsogon State College the following day. We distributed leaflets and recruited new members outside the campus.

I was ready to be interviewed by DZMS radio but it was disrupted by a rotating brownout. Luckily, power was restored when DZGN Spirit FM 102.3 interviewed me on their teleradyo. Yes, I was on radio TV in Sorsogon.

We went back to Albay after 3pm. We campaigned in Tabaco City. There are many colleges in the city which continues to be a busy port center in the region. I bought a mini walis near the city hall for my daughter. On the road, I saw primary schoolchildren wearing uniforms but have no shoes. Most of them, if not all, only wore slippers. This is the face of poverty; a perfect example to prove the nexus between schooling, poverty, and human development. We, the candidates, should think about the sad plight of these young people throughout the campaign period and especially after the elections.

I returned to Bicol on March 19 in the island province of Catanduanes. I was welcomed at the airport by Vice Governor Al Aquino who is a supporter of Makabayan Coalition. I met student leaders and SK officials of the province in Kemji Resort which is just less than a kilometer away from the airport.

After being interviewed at Padaba DZAA radio station, we held a caravan in Virac. We campaigned inside the public market and Catanduanes College.

I learned that President Erap is still popular in the province because of his rice distribution program in 1998. I saw streamers which accuse Senator Mar Roxas of ignoring a senate bill which would have converted the state college of the province into a university. Senator Kit Tatad will win in Catanduanes because he is a resident of the province.

After dinner at Sea Breeze resto, I spoke in a concert at Catanduanes State College gym. Themed “Last Day High” the concert is a tribute to students who just hurdled the last day of final examinations of the semester.

I left Catanduanes via San Andres port where a ferry boat transported us to Tabaco City.

I am both thankful and happy that we have young, energetic, and creative members and supporters in Bicol region. Yes, there are Bicol-based partylists and one of them is really spending a lot of campaign money, but I’m confident that we can surpass the votes we got in 2007. Kabataan Partylist was Top 5 in Albay province in 2007. Despite having limited resources and no electoral campaign experience, our new members are able to organize several successful campaign activities in the Bicol provinces. Our members remain loyal not because of financial incentives but because they genuinely want to advance the legislative and political platform of Kabataan Partylist.

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