Band of Brothers – Manila Bulletin
“They also found in combat the closest brotherhood they have ever known. They found altruism. They found they could love the other guy in their foxhole more than themselves. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.
So famed author Stephen Ambrose wrote in his 1992 WWII book “Band of Brothers,” which later became a hit TV series in the early 2000s with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg as executive producers. .
This quote could very well describe the connection between Quezon City Councilor (District 5) Patrick Michael “PM” Vargas and his brother, actor-politician and Congressman Alfred Vargas. In a war zone, they certainly are not. But the two brothers have gone through – and won – many battles in life together.
With only a two-year age gap and roommates for over two decades, the brothers grew up and shared many memories together. Thank you to their parents who gave him, as well as his brothers and sisters, “a lot of independence”.
“This gave rise to my adventures with Kuya. As we were also roommates for 26 years, we experienced almost everything together. We would have gone out with his friends, my friends, exploring the world, making our hearts beat together and sometimes, being rejected together, ”recalls PM.
“It was very nice to have a classmate during the important stages of life. That first time that I was in love, the first car accident, the routine in school, that night I came home to join the fraternity, and all those kinds of things, Kuya and I were together while our Ate Bunny and Ditse Caron were the counterparts. So far, we know how strong our fraternal bonds are, maybe even stronger than ever, especially when our parents have passed away, ”he adds.
Their two older sisters chose to live more private lives, and PM and Alfred followed similar paths, first in entertainment and then in politics. Not many people really know: PM loved plays at a very young age when he used to join kindergarten plays at the Maryknoll Child Study Center and had a stint as a model for the Plaza Fair department store. Alfred, meanwhile, joined Tanghalang Ateneo in college and at the same time started modeling ramps. His big breakthrough in television came when he played Aquil in GMA’s legendary fantaserye, Encantadia, in 2005. He entered showbiz after graduating in AB management economics at Ateneo de Manila and went on to become one of the most followed idols in matinee of the 2000s.
While Alfred pursued his passion for theater, PM, an AB political science graduate from the same university, focused on business. But his love for music and entertainment never died out, something he still shares with his lawmaker brother, who is already in his last term as a congressman, graduating in June 2022.
“I got my musical interest from Kuya! He first joined the boy choir, the first to pick up a guitar and the first to attempt to join a band. Being that “accompanied” brother that I was, I ended up pursuing my passion for music in high school, university and to this day. I can enjoy music from the 40s, 50s, up to a few songs now, ”PM shares.
Without a doubt, music has played a big role in their life. The bond between the two brothers is evident every time they go to live together on their respective Facebook pages. Aside from the usual kamustahan, sharing ideas and responding to the needs of their constituents, the #GoodPM Facebook Live broadcast won’t be complete without their jam session, with PM playing guitar while singing along with Cong Alfred.
For PM, his Kuya Alfred was (and still is) an anchor, a source of strength and inspiration, especially now that they are both in the same world. He filed his Certificate of Nomination (COC) to run for Congress in the hope of continuing his older brother’s programs and projects. Elder Vargas, meanwhile, despite his initial plan to take a break from politics, has decided to run for the post of adviser currently held by the prime minister.
In a previous interview, Alfred shared that he wanted to spend more time with the family and be there for the kids as they grow up.
“People were asking me to run for national office, but I refused because I’ve been in Congress for nine years in a row. I wanted to take a step back… focus on the family and help the Prime Minister in his candidacy for Congress, ”he stressed.
Alfred continued, “However, my supporters and political allies have convinced me not to leave Quezon City and the community I serve, so I have agreed to run for councilor in our district. I guess that way I can achieve more of my goals… Be close to family and continue to serve my constituents.
The Quebec legislator believes that his younger brother, after having been his chief of staff in Congress for nine years and later as an elected councilor, is now ripe to advance the “Alagang Vargas” brand which defends the values taught by their deceased mother Atty. Ching Vargas, who served in Malacanang during the tenure of Presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo. “I’m sure that with luck he will surpass any accomplishments I’ve had for Quezon City Fifth District. He is a visionary. He is a man of action. This, coming from the ‘kuya’ itself, ”he added.
“From an early age, we knew what public service was by example. Our mother taught us the value of “Alagang Vargas”, our slogan and our family promise, where we place great importance on being selfless and expecting nothing in return. It’s about serving people, providing them with opportunities and giving them the time and dedication they deserve and deserve, ”he adds.
“When my mother was on her deathbed, her last words for me and PM were: INTEGRITY, COMPASSION, COMPETENCE,” Alfred shared with emotion.
Now that the brothers intend to switch positions, Alfred is confident that younger brother PM will be able to defend the “Alagang Vargas” advocacy and continue what he started as the first representative of the Fifth District. .
“I guess the Prime Minister was able to embrace this family plea and he is now ready to serve a higher appeal,” said the actor-lawmaker, who previously received the Ten Outstanding Young Men award (TOYM ) for the public service.
For the Prime Minister, if he is elected a member of Congress, he will have very big shoes to fill as the successor of his multiple-award-winning civil servant Kuya Alfred, who has just obtained his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Philippines-Diliman.
“But even if there is pressure, I am up to the challenge,” says PM. “Hard work makes us better people and if I am to be successful in following in Kuya’s footsteps, working hard and having the heart to truly serve and help are the two best weapons in my arsenal.”
As a counselor, one of the PM’s accomplishments that he is so proud to have initiated was the creation of the Solo Parents Affairs Office in Quezon City. The ordinance that created the office, he said, was a tribute to their mother, who ensured that he and his siblings were very well taken care of after their father died.
“When it passed third reading, I was very ecstatic. Single parents came to my office left and right to thank me because finally they had a clear place to go to get help from our city. It made me feel so happy and sentimental and I always looked up to say softly, “This is for you, Mom,” “PM shares.
The Prime Minister said his platform in Congress will be a continuation of the Vargas public service brand which will focus on Trabaho (job creation), Palupa (land ownership), Edukasyon (Education) and Kalusugan (Health) – basic needs that have not been met by many Filipinos, including its own District 5 in Quebec.
In the field of health, the Prime Minister made special mention to the law of the Republic 11215 or to the law on the fight against cancer of 2019, the adoption of which was supported and advocated by the representative Vargas at the Lower house.
Having lost their parents to the “Big C”, young Vargas said he hopes to push the government “to take care of cancer patients and families affected” by supporting the many initiatives contained in the law.
“We also pray that through these steps we can aim for the stars and ensure that the Republic of the Philippines becomes a force for healing cancer,” said PM.
Now that he’s taken public service a step further, he can only thank his Kuya Alfred for the person he is today.
“My kuya is my mentor. If I had the chance, I would like to further promote our service brand. Yung ‘Alagang Vargas’ has inumpisahan nya and pinangako namin kay mom. Itutuloy ko yan. I will stick to a higher level of service that Alfred can be proud of, ”he concludes.
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