One of Arroyo’s ‘Bangkang Papel’ boys dies

  • One of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ‘Bangkang Papel’ boys died following a brief battle with pneumonia
  • Erwin Dolera died at San Lazaro Hospital at age 24 on Thursday
  • He was one of the three ‘Bangkang Papel’ boys who became a symbol of the Arroyo administration

MANILA, Philippines – Erwin Dolera, one of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ‘Bangkang Papel’ [Paper Boat] boys, has reportedly died on Thursday, July 7, following a brief battle with pneumonia.

According to ABS-CBN News, the 24-year-old Dolera passed away around 11:50 am on Thursday at San Lazaro Hospital. He also suffered complications from tuberculosis, his sister Irma Dolera-Palanas said.

Dolera, together with Jomer Pabalan and Jayson Vann Banogon, became known as the ‘Bangkang Papel’ boys who became a symbol of the Arroyo administration’s campaign to combat poverty during her early years in Malacañang.

The three came from an impoverished family in Payatas, Quezon City and were among the 300 families who were left homeless after mountains of garbage collapsed and buried around a thousand residents.

Erwin, Jomer and Jayson supposedly wrote their dreams and aspirations on a ‘Bangkang Papel’ which they then let float on Pasig River hoping it reached the Malacañang Palace.

While the paper boats did not reach Malacañang, the symbolic activity, organized by an urban poor group, caught the President’s attention.

Their stories were featured in Arroyo’s state of the nation address (SONA) in 2001. The three ‘Bangkang Papel’ boys were also presented during her speech and has since become the poster boys of the Arroyo administration.

In his paper boat, Dolera wanted Arroyo to close the Payatas dumpsite and asked that his family be given their own land.

Dolera was able to finish Mass Communications at Trinity College and held an on-the-job training at TV5 before the latest tragedy struck.