“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; …
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.”
–From Ecclesiastes 3.1.,
King James version
Politics is war. Elections are instruments of war; but elections are over. Now is the time for peace. The time to rend is over –the bombast of the campaign. Now is the time to sew –to build a country ruined by years of strife through the manipulative moves of the upper classes. The time to hate is over. Hate is self-destructive. Now is the time for love—love of country and the love to build a just, free and equal political, social and economic order.
First things first
I am not an admirer of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte—this is shown in my writings printed in this column in the course of the campaign. I do not apologize for every single line I wrote about the man. My assessment of him came from his mouth and his behavior on stage, in his interviews and on the campaign trail. I still believe that my assessment is correct. He has to prove me wrong. He does not owe it to me; he owes to the people of this country.
Unless he reverses gear, he is doomed to be cast to the dustbin of history. As I said in my previous column, the dust of the campaign has already settled. Political partisanship should give way to national unity with justice. Since he has offered his hand to his opponents to unite to build a better country, everyone should link arms with him to build a country worthy of our race.
In the telling and prophetic words of President John F. Kennedy, a friend on the level of the heart and of the mind: “In politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. There is only permanent interest.” That interest is God and country. In my case, it has always been God and country in my work as a private and public person. I recognize no masters except God and country. But in my home, I recognize my wife as my master in building of the best home for my children and grandchildren.
By way of reflection, I am reminded of that scene in the film “Desiree” in an encounter between Napoleon Bonaparte played by Marlon Brando and Field Marshal Michel Ney, Napoleon’s favorite general, played by Michael Rennie. Field Marshal Ney, in reply to an order of Napoleon, said: “I am sorry, Sire. There are those who are born to command and those born to obey. I was not born to obey.” I am afraid that there has always been a strain of Field Marshal Ney in my system in my fight against Presidents of the Philippines and current political, social and economic system. Other than Ney, this lesson I have learned from my father, Mayor Pedro Adaza, Jr., a legendary mayor of our own for several terms in far-away Catarman, Camiguin, in northern Mindanao.
Still traveling along memory lane, I am reminded of that scene in “A Man for All Seasons,” where Thomas More, then-Lord Chancellor of England, played by Paul Scofield, refused to endorse the divorce of King Henry VIII from Queen Catherine so that the king could marry Anne Boleyn, saying: “I am the King’s servant but God’s first.” To echo this line as my article of faith, I am the country’s servant but God’s first.
Why the slogan ‘Mindanao yesterday, today the Philippines’
As I mentioned in my books and in my columns, when I was Opposition Provincial Gov. of Misamis Oriental, one of two among 73 provincial governors, one of my well-remembered slogans was “Today Mindanao, tomorrow the Philippines.” It was to symbolize the dream that the experiments in Mindanao of provincial and city governance could be transposed to Manila in the future by having a Mindanaoan leader ascending to the presidency of the country. It finally came to pass with Duterte being elected President of the Philippines
It is not that Mindanao is past, it is just that the experiments of governance in the City of Davao has captured the imagination of our people—now the experience in Mindanao, specifically Davao City, has to be translated into the national level. The message is loud and clear. Mindanao through a Mindanaoan—Rodrigo Duterte—is now at the forefront in the struggle for change.
Mindanao has been neglected by the national government for ages—in all levels. Now is the time for Duterte to right the wrongs of the past. First, he has to immediately conscript the best and the brightest from Mindanao who have been ignored by previous administrations simply because they are from Mindanao—among them are Reuben Canoy, former mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, member of the interim Parliament, the leader of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) and the first known public figure who endorsed Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for President; Rita Gaddi Balthazar, poet, author, literary award winner, editor and writer, TV and radio host and commentator; Abul Khayr Alonto, the vice-chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and founder of the Muslim Federal Party; former delegate to the Constitutional Convention Michael Mastura; former governor of Tawi-Tawi Al Tillah; RTC of Quezon City Judge Angeline Mary Quimpo-Sale; lawyer Adel Tamano, son of the late Sen. Mamintal Tamano; Jun Lucman, the son of the charismatic congressman Raschid Lucman; Tony and Pompey Laviña, sons of Gabby and Inday Laviña, of Cagayan de Oro City; Pedro Hernandez, the husband of Bae Merlyn Koguit Tagliong, who is the leader of the Manobo tribes of northern Mindanao; former president of the Mindanao State University, Jun Alonto, son of the late Sen. Damocao Alonto; Assistant Majority Floor Leader Congressman Balindong, of Lanao; Ramon Tulfo, fearless columnist; and Bob Aquino, the son of that fabled congressman of Agusan Jose Aquino, known as JCA. This is not an all-inclusive list but the search committee can start from here.
Second. Promote the most qualified Mindanaoan colonels in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and in the Philippine National Police (PNP). They have always been ignored in the promotion process simply because they are from Mindanao. It is about time they got justice from the new President.
Third, immediately convert the Laguindingan Airport into an international airport. This is the billing of this airport at the time of its construction. It is about time this promise be delivered since this would be the only international airport in northern Mindanao, which has a lot of tourism sites and development potential. Along with this project is the restoration of the Baloi Airport, in Lanao, and the Malaybalay airport, in Bukidnon, which have long been abandoned. These airports facilitated easier travel of residents, tourists and prospective investors.
Fourth, create agricultural communities all over Mindanao with complete facilities like roads, schools, hospitals or clinics, irrigation system, communal water systems—which should have complete government support.
Fifth, establish fish canneries in many areas in Mindanao where fish abound in excessive numbers as this will facilitate greater development and great employment.
Sixth, immediately construct the long planned Mindanao Railway to accelerate development all over Mindanao.
Seventh, construct silos in rice and corn producing areas to provide price stabilization of these commodities as well as cut the participation of the middlemen who are instrumental in the increase of prices of these commodities at the expense of consumers.
Eighth, establish an automotive industry that could supply the transportation requirements of the country instead of importing vehicles from foreign countries as well as improve the ship building facilities in Mindanao.
Ninth, modernize hospital facilities by supplying them with modern equipment to attend to all kinds of health needs with doctors and nurses that should receive competitive salaries and benefits, as well as establish new hospitals in many areas where no hospitals exist.
Tenth, improve the standards of state universities and colleges as well as all public schools.
Eleventh, provide free education from elementary level to college level as well as free medical services, hospitalization and medicines in the public health system.
Twelfth, create a library system in all municipalities and cities with books written by Mindanaoan and Filipino authors as well as those who received awards from the Nobel Prize, Booker Prize, Prix Goncourt and Pulitzer Prize, among others.
Thirteenth, create annual competitions and give awards to poets, essayists, dramatists, novelists and historians.
Fourteenth, subsidize farmers, fishermen, inventors, athletes, writers and artists.
Fifteenth, organize and promote Mindanao-based daily newspapers, with the quality of The New York Times, London Times, Manchester Guardian, Washington Post and The Manila Times in mind.
Sixteenth, organize and support Mindanao television stations with programming like that of BBC, Al Jazeera and Fox News to develop Mindanao talents to world quality level.
Seventeenth, create Mindanao-based agencies to preserve the environment, promote tourism and explore and develop alternative sources of energy.
Eighteenth, develop a steel industry considering there is already a sinter plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, while the other component, iron, is found in mountains of the Surigao provinces.
Nineteenth, explore and develop deuterium as a power source that will not only benefit Mindanao but the whole country.
Twentieth, establish and develop an arms industry in Mindanao using the experts in Davao and Lanao to provide sufficient arms for national defense and security to avoid importing arms from other countries.
Twenty-first, put up a gold refinery and a gold bullion bank in Mindanao, where the supply of gold minerals are almost everywhere on the island.
These should be done as justice for Mindanao and to make into reality Mindanao as the land of promise.
High stakes for Mindanaoans
Mindanaoans have high stakes in a Mayor Duterte presidency. If he succeeds, we validate the proposition that Mindanao leaders are just as good, if not better than those who come from other parts of the country. In my generation, we validated this proposition in the campus of the University of the Philippines at Diliman. Elias Lopez, a Bagobo from Davao province, became president of the UP Student Council; Mamintal Tamano, a Maranao from Lanao, became president of the UP Student Senior Council; and this writer, a Higaonon from Misamis Oriental, became twice editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines and vice-president of the UP Student Council.
Mayor Duterte can validate this proposition with our help and we urge the rest of the country to do the same. Partisan differences are over. Let’s support him when he is right; tell him when he is wrong; and oppose him when he insists on being wrong. In established democracies, a new administration has a hundred days honeymoon period with the people of all persuasions. He has six months from assumption of office to prove to the people he can perform. Let’s give him the honeymoon and his self-defined time line.
If after that period he fails to deliver on his promises—then the deluge.