Erwin Dolera, one of Gloria Arroyo’s ‘bangkang papel’ boys, passes away

gloria arroyo bangkang papel boys
The three so-called "bangkang papel" boys was presented to the public during Arroyo's 2001 State of the Nation Address

Erwin Dolera, one of the three boys that then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented to the public during her first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2001, passed away this morning. He was 24.

According to a report by DZMM’s Dennis Datu, Dolera died of complications from pneumonia. He has been confined to a hospital in Manila for the last two weeks.

erwin dolera and gloria arroyo
Dolera with then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (photo taken from his Facebook page)

Dolera, together with Jason Vann Banogan and Jomar Pabalan, used to live at the Payatas dump site in Quezon City but was forced to leave the place after the 2000 tragedy. The local media gave them the moniker “Bangkang Papel” boys because they attempted to send letters to Arroyo via Pasig River, hoping that those will reach Malacanang.

It was later clarified by the President herself that she reached out to the boys’ families after she read about the letters through news reports. One article at that time described Dolera, Banogan, and Pabalan as the “new faces of poverty in the country.”

gloria arroyo bangkang papel boys
The three so-called “bangkang papel” boys was presented to the public during Arroyo’s 2001 State of the Nation Address

The media occasionally checked on the boys’ plight as Arroyo’s term of office came to a close. Newsbreak Magazine, for example, reported in 2009 that the government’s livelihood and educational assistance for their families continued years after they receded from the spotlight.

Dolera took up Mass Communication at the Trinity University of Asia, where he graduated in 2012. He went on to work for the television network TV5.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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