LAOAG CITY — Ilocano community here marks August 9 as a non-working holiday in the whole province giving tribute to the 110th birth anniversary of the late Gov. Roque Ablan Sr.
The occasion recognizes Ablan Sr. for his service to the country as governor and labor leader, as well as an Ilocano hero who fought against the Japanese regime in the World War II.
Laoag City Councilor Roque Benjamin Ablan, the great grandson of Ablan Sr., said Ilocanos’ paying tribute to the Ablan patriarch keeps their family inspired and well-grounded.
“I feel so proud because I never imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that I am related to a renowned Ilocano hero. However, our family is also placed in a position wherein we need to live up to people’s expectations because he has left a respectable legacy,” he said.
Elderly Ilocanos have known the great Ablan as the only governor in the Northern Luzon who did not surrender when the Japanese landed at Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Ablan refused to extend his cooperation to them as the governor of Ilocos.
Instead, he left the provincial capital of Laoag to avoid arrest and transferred the seat of government to a remote barrio near the boundary of Ilocos Norte and Apayao.
From there, he has built his army force together with Lt. Feliciano Madamba of the Philippine Army called ‘Ablan-Madamba Guerilla Group of Northern Luzon’.
This year’s highlights of the celebration are the gracing ceremonies, floral offerings at the Ablan Shrine in Laoag City, to be participated by elementary students from the Department of Education in the province, the Boy Scout of the Philippines and Girl Scout of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and group of Marines and the Philippine National Police.
Department of Education (DepEd) Region 1 Director Alma Ruby C. Torio will keynote this year’s Ablan Day 2016 celebration.
Other expected guests are Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Farinas, Ilocos Norte Senior Provincial Board Member Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc and DepEd-Laoag City in-charge Joel Lopez.
Ablan Sr. was born to a poor couple, Victor Ablan of Solsona and Raymunda Blanco of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. He was elected governor at the age of 31 and became the youngest provincial executive of his time.
After his successful attack against Japanese patrols in Pampaniki, Solsona, he left for Cagayan to confer with Governor Marcelo Adduru.
He never came back and what had become of him remains a mystery to this day.
Ablan Day is pursuant Republic Act No. 6941, which states that August 9 of every year is declared as Gov. Roque B. Ablan Sr. day, a special non-working holiday in the province of Ilocos Norte. PNA/ northboundasia.com