The political legacy of Sen. Jose C. Locsin-A A +A
As I See It
Thursday, October 3, 2013
SECRETARY Ramon Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office emphatically said over Radyo ng Bayan (DZRB) that the PNoy administration remains steadfast in its effort to rid corruption and graft in government.
Can we not run a government without involving our politicians in graft and corruption? There is no perfect government. The system can always go wrong but the people running the system can always opt for something good for the Filipinos. With this thought, I am reminded of a Silaynon who became senator of the Republic of the Philippines. He is Dr. Jose Corteza Locsin. He established a Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Silay and later, that became the Silay General Hospital. (It is now the Silay City Health Office.)
Locsin organized the women of Silay to run the puericulture centers and he was responsible for the construction of Rest and Resettlement Center for Tuberculosis in Patag. (It is now a rest and recreation area for tourism.) The Negros Occidental Provincial Hospital and later its School of Nursing was Locsin’s legacy to the Negrosanons. Dr. Locsin clearly manifested his noble intention for the community before jumping to the political arena.
He started as municipal councilor and later elected as provincial board member. He became governor in 1925. He was good as manager of the province and he initiated the construction of the Provincial Capitol Building. He ran for Congress and he was elected representative of the 1st district of Negros Occ. He worked for the modernization of the sugar mills, raised the wages of farm laborers, and increased the share of the ‘hacendados’. As chair of Com. on Public Instruction, he worked for the construction of barrio schools to strengthen the education program in rural areas, and saw to it that town have plazas for cultural events.
He was a delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Conventions and his outstanding contribution was the inclusion of social justice in the Constitution’s declaration of principle. He was invited by the Nacionalista Party to run for senator. He consulted his friends in Negros and in Manila and they had only one answer. “Jose Locsin deserves to be a senator. His province and country need him.” The 1951 election was still dirty. There was already ballot switching plan in Negros but Locsin informed Sec. Ramon Magsaysay who was running for president. Our ‘Guy Ramon’ was responsible for aborting the plan.
In his nation-wide campaign, Locsin was already tackling the Huk problem and the rehabilitation of the entire country. He won as senator because the Filipinos have faith in him. He did not overspend because he did not have enough to spend. As senator, he pushed for the passage of RA 809 known as the Sugar Act of 1952. In Locsin’s book ‘Substance and Purpose’ prepared by the editorial team from his family, Locsin showed his respect for fellow senators who were really acting as legislators of the people.
Locsin made mention of the brilliance of Sen. Osias, Sen. Briones, Sen. Abada, Sen. Paredes, Sen. Rodriguez, Sen. Zulueta, Sen. Magalona, Sen. Puyat, among others. He also acknowledged the ability of Rep. Carlos Hilado for pushing what could be good for Negros. All of them were moving in favor or against the issue at hand without asking for a pork barrel.
Eulogio Rodriguez, the president of the Nacionalista Party had a high respect for what Locsin can do for the party. Locsin was assigned to head the committee that would run the party convention at the Manila Hotel in 1953. Sen. Jose Corteza Locsin was a party man. He grew up with the Nacionalista and he stayed with the Nacionalista at all risk. He authored the ‘Filipino First Policy’ which was adopted by his friend Carlos P. Garcia when this Boholano became president after Magsaysay’s death.
When Ferdinand Marcos (a Liberal Party man) switched allegiance and ran for president in 1965 under the Nacionalista Party, Locsin supported him for the sake of the party. When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, Locsin broke a political heart. He wore a black ribbon even on his deathbed. He passed away on May 1, 1977 at the age of 88.
He left to us the Senator Jose C. Locsin Cultural and Civic Center (1957). He left to us good projects and priceless memories. We are proud to have our Silay Tourism Office in this cultural and civic center. This is where we always remember Sen. Jose C. Locsin. His life and legacy should be followed by other politicians. (Thank you Councilor Neil Solomon Locsin for providing me the documents I need.)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 03, 2013.