ONE WITH THE PEOPLE
Manila 2nd District Congressman Rolando Valeriano is no stranger to tough times, which is why he believes good old-fashioned hard work and persistence is the key to success.
BY MARIDOL RANOA BISMARK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMEO PERALTA, JR.
Manila 2nd District Congressman Rolando “Rolan” Valeriano looks, speaks, and acts like a Tondo boy. His green t-shirt even proclaims his roots the way a flag at full mast announces the country it represents.
“I don’t want to venture far from here,” he says while seated behind his massive work desk at the second floor of the building he built from the earnings of his brokerage firm before he entered politics. “I hold almost all my meetings here. I have to see the people.”
Among those people—his people—are friends he made way back when he was a teenager who would walk from the shanty in flood-prone Barangay 157 where his family lived to Rizal Elementary School and Lakandula High School where he had his early education. These are the same people who lived next door in the squatter area which Valeriano’s family called home before bulldozers leveled everything to the ground.
Fellow Tondo boy and long-time friend, presidential bet and current Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno would joke, “Pag-aari ni Congressman Valeriano ang pinakamalaking swimming pool dito [referring to the big floods in the area]. Ako ang may-ari ng pinakamalaking lupain sa Maynila, bulubundukin at umuusok pa (Congressman Valeriano owns the biggest swimming pool here. I own the biggest tract of land in Manila—mountainous and smoky).” .....