Anna Mae Lamentillo
Public service runs in his blood, but Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos attributes his passion for it to his parents — especially his father, presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM)—who have been his role models.
Sandro, who was born and raised in Laoag City, is running for a congressional seat as representative of the 1st District of Ilocos Norte. This is his first time he is seeking a political post, but he is not new to the world of politics and public service. In fact, he had been exposed to it at an early age when his father was governor of Ilocos Norte.
Prior to his foray in politics, Sandro served as member of the legislative staff of House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, who was his mentor on the House of Representatives’ daily grind, including strategies to expedite the passage of President Rodrigo Duterte and House leadership’s priority measures.
Ferdinand Alexander ‘Sandro’ Marcos
Sandro also served as an economic consultant of the Province of Ilocos Norte under Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc. Among his tasks was ensuring the swift and smooth distribution of food and other assistance to the people of Ilocos Norte, including Covid recovery assistance program for sari sari store owners, food packs and fishing gears to fisherfolks, tablets to aid students in distance learning, and many others.
He has been instrumental in providing livelihood opportunities to thousands of Ilokano who were most affected by the sudden loss of income and livelihood amidst the continuing pandemic.
More robust Ilocos Norte
Also among Sandro’s initiatives is the SANDbox, which was launched in Pagudpud last February. This aims to support learners who need access to the Internet and e-learning technologies, enhance creativity among the youth, and provide a working space for local entrepreneurs.
SANDRO MARCOS with his father presidential aspirant Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.
SANDbox is made out of a repurposed container van and has features such as indoor study and working desks, an outdoor and roof deck seating area, and kitchen and bathroom amenities. It offers free WiFi connectivity using fiber optic technology to reach the fastest Internet speed available at present.
“The pandemic has ultimately pushed us to create an alternative work setup that prioritizes the safety of all but does not compromise productivity. With the increasing demand for co-working spaces, not only here in Ilocos Norte but also around the world, we’ve come up with this project to assist students and start-ups by providing them with a steady and safe learning and work space,” said the eldest son of BBM and lawyer Liza Araneta-Marcos.
Sandro said that SANDbox is just the first of many projects he has planned for the province as he envisions a better, more robust Ilocos Norte brimming with potential and economic development.
If elected in congress, among Sandro’s priorities is to continue unfinished projects, especially in his district, and to push for the regularization of barangay officials who are only receiving honorarium despite their crucial work in their communities, especially during the pandemic.
He also hopes to help the province expand from primary agriculture to secondary and tertiary agriculture, so that instead of just planting and harvesting crops, they can produce value-added products.
He explained that this would also entail modernizing agricultural systems, bringing in the needed equipment to help produce more crops in less time or less labor necessary at present. With a more efficient farming system, they will have the workforce for secondary and tertiary agriculture, and farmers and farming communities can also venture into producing value-added products.
Building inclusive communities
Sandro, who earned his master’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, said that he will make sure to consult his kakailians (fellow residents) to have a deep understanding of their needs.
Acknowledging that no one has the monopoly of intelligence and good ideas, he also said that he is willing to work with the opposition as long as they are competent and are also willing to work with him.
Sandro stressed that he is running for congress to serve the Ilocano people, vowing that he will listen to them and make sure that amid this ongoing pandemic, the issues are addressed and the problems are solved.