BONTOC, Mountain Province — Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito was given the name “Bulanglang” as an adopted son of Mountain Province at the 14th Lang-ay Festival and 51st founding anniversary of the upland province, where he was invited as the guest speaker on Tuesday.
Ejercito is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health. Among his works as a national legislator that benefited the farmers of the Cordillera is the creation of the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.
The anti-agricultural smuggling act is a crackdown on the large-scale smuggling of agricultural products, which is qualified as economic sabotage, affecting the livelihood of the small farmers in the Cordillera region, including those in Mountain Province.
As an adopted Igorot son, Ejercito was given the name “Bulanglang”, which means the symbol of hope and prosperity among the people of the province. To the people of Mountain Province, Bulanglang is also interpreted as the coming of the rain, the season of blossoming, and growth after a long dry spell due to the summer heat.
Mountain Province Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) the people of Mountain Province is proud to call him a son and just like any father, the province is always open for his visit.
“We are honored to welcome him here as a son of the province. However, we also expect him to uphold his given name and bring hope, happiness, and prosperity to the people of Mountain Province,” Lacwasan said.
During the festivities, Ejercito was given the “pinagpakan,” a woven blanket; “wanes,” the traditional attire of an Igorot man; “bedbed,” a woven headgear worn only by respected people in the province; “tufay,” the traditional Igorot spear; “kalasag,” a wooden shield; and the “sangi,” a handwoven rattan backpack.
In his speech, Ejercito said he is honored to be called a son of Mountain Province.
He said such adoption would form an important part of his life. “Isa pong karangalan sa akin na maituring na anak ninyo at ako po ay nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat (It is an honor to be regarded as your son and I thank you all for this),” he said.
As chairman of the Senate committee on health, Ejercito promised to help the province in improving the Bontoc General Hospital to improve its services. “I will consider Bontoc General Hospital as one of my priority projects,” he said.
The senator also committed to help in the province’s tourism through infrastructure projects. “I will talk to the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprises Zone Authority [TIEZA] for them to help in your tourism infrastructure projects, especially in your historical sites like Mount Data, Banaue Terraces Hotel, and others,” Ejercito said.
During the Lang-ay Festival, the 10 municipalities of Mountain Province joined various activities lined up for the festivities, including the street dancing and the chanting competition.
The municipalities of Paracelis, Natonin, Barlig, Bontoc, Sagada, Bauko, Sabangan, Tadian, Besao, and Sagada also gathered together to celebrate the 51st founding anniversary of their province. Dionisio Dennis, Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com