Uncle Pandong-A A +A
Just Passing By
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I GRIN with amusement that Uncle Pandong is running again. Not that I don’t believe in his stuff but just like his listeners, I just could not avoid smiling when I learned that he did file his candidacy as one of the Liberal Party’s bets for the provincial board of Benguet. This is actually his second stab at politics.
Yes, he also aimed for a Sangguniang Panlalawigan seat in the 1998 elections. He placed seventh in District 2 which then had five seats up for grabs. I can vividly recall that since I wrote about his bid in the Phil. Daily Inquirer. Of course, I have a soft spot for him. We all started as radio patrol reporters of DZWT under the tutelage of John Casilen. Uncle Pandong was then known as Patrol Numero Otso while I was Patrol Five Hundred.
Today, Uncle Pandong has become a class by himself. His radio program is tops, successfully rewriting some old rules that deal with the use of an FM band as an AM station. Listen to taxi drivers, households, sari-sari store owners, farmers, small scale miners and students, they all swear switching on to 98.7 or Z Radio every morning. Even Mondax, or Sir Ramon Dacawi, is awed over Uncle Pandong’s rise on local airwaves.
His program is not super fantastic. He does not even follow the bible of what makes a radio program click. He does not engage his listeners into intellectual discussions over issues of the day like the reproductive health bill or the standoff at the Scarborough Shoal. Unlike other more serious radio programs that follow a script to allow listeners to follow through, Uncle Pandong’s program is not firmly organized. He is not thematic either and he actually needs to improve on his pacing.
But he has a lot of listeners who are happy and contended with his giggles and laughter uncontrolled. Most of the time, Uncle Pandong recites his list of sponsors. Then he sweetens the morning by playing old songs and country blues. His punch lines are sometimes off but his one-liners are enough to court the wrath of the targets of his tirades. Mind you, former BSU Pres. Dr. Rogelio Colting and the late former Gov. Borromeo Melchor were not spared from his acerbics. He also has the nerve to sing and my goodness, his vocals are a nightmare.
But who are we to question his decision to become a politician, or better, a public servant? Who knows, his experience as a mediaman might knock in some sense of good governance at the Provincial Capitol after all.
I asked him pointblank why he is interested to become a board member. His answer:
“I was touched by the plight of the people of Kibungan who were sued for damages by this mining company in a Makati court. They have to travel that far to attend to their hearings and yet the case originated from local concerns in our own province of Benguet. The case should have been filed before our local courts to spare the natives from time and expenses in going down. There ought to be a law or a remedy to address this unfair and lopsided situation.” There, ladies and gentlemen, is Uncle Pandong’s measure.
Aw iman, tet ewan kanan Pandong.
Anyway, if this was his motivation, then bless is he who comes to the rescue of his province mates.
I don’t have the statistics but Uncle Pandong’s airtime is littered with ads. And we are speaking here of ads that are not taped or recorded. They are the ads Uncle Pandong blurts out with easiness in three lines or so. In fact, a lot of candidates for national positions in the May, 2013 elections are knocking at his door for an airtime during the campaign period. His program’s massive reach has really spelled magic for his pockets.
Uncle Pandong is 49. He hails from Kayapa, Bakun. He is married to the former Cely Kidit of Sabangan, Mt. Province. They have three kids.
Will his fan base catapult him to the provincial board? Let’s pray it will.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 10, 2012.