Politics though diplomacy-A A +A
Saturday, June 30, 2012
IF DAVAO City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is known as the most dangerous man in the eyes of the criminals, meet Vice Mayor Renato Sulatan, the most passionate man in the small town of Talakag in Bukidnon.
Talakag was once known as one of the places for “rido” (clan feud), upon assuming his post as vice mayor in 2007 up to present, Sulatan can say that his jurisdiction is considered peaceful as he is very active in promoting peace and order through diplomatic ways.
Sulatan, a lumad, was born on November 6, 1969 in Barangay San Miguel to parents Quirino Sulatan and Pacita Roa, whose means of living to feed their seven children is farming a small land inherited by their parents. He is the fifth among his siblings Zenaida, Andrea, Lolita, Pepito, Nardo and Eva.
“Because of my large family, my parents planted carrots and coffee just enough to sustain our day to day-to-day living. As we are growing up, my parents made it a point that all my siblings can go to school so they work hard for us to study in Cagayan de Oro,” he shares.
He says life during his high school days was very hard since they have no means of transportation. He had to walk two hours every day from Barangay San Miguel to Talakag proper where he would ride a jeepney that would bring him to Cagayan de Oro College (COC).
He considered himself a poor man but with determination. He focused more on finishing his secondary school. He first dreamed of becoming a professional and a soldier but this did not happen as he got married early, at the age of 17, to his first girlfriend, Maria Theresa, who is also a native of Talakag town.
Sulatan says his early marriage was the turning point of his life. He was able to prove to his parents that he can provide for his new family.
He says he considers his marriage as a blessing in disguise as this led the way to what and where he is now.
Sulatan says he started with nothing but his supportive parents provided him a portion of their land to have a living. He tilled crops to feed his wife and three boys -- Roldan, Rey Anthony and Renato Jr.
He says he only wanted a simple life and feed his family three times a day and provide them with shelter. He worked hard every day. He sells his crops in Cagayan de Oro and gave his income to his wife.
And yes, the fruit of his labor paid off. He was able to acquire a small sari-sari store during their first harvest. And the rest is history. Before he knew it, their life has completely changed.
Sulatan is considered to be a good businessman. His farm has expanded. He bought a 40-hectare land near his parents’ in Barangay Mirayan. Now, he is one of the big-time farmers in Talakag.
But he says despite his stature in life, he never let success get into his head. He is still the same person when he was still not well off.
Sulatan’s career as a public servant was so unexpected. He said never in his wildest dream that he will become a politician.
“But the people urged me to run, saying I am the right person to lead and improve the town of Talakag,” he says.
His first public work was when he was appointed as barangay treasurer.
Words then later spread to other barangays about Sulatan’s good deeds, citing him as the perfect man who can make a difference in Talakag. So he was encouraged by the people to run.
He won in 2007 through a landslide victory. He even had the highest vote compared to the mayor.
“I did not expect to win since my opponents are tough,” he says.
During his incumbency up to the present, Sulatan says there isn’t a single day that he missed serving his people.
Sulatan adds he made sure that the welfare of his servants are met.
“I treat my men with respect since I was once like them, a hard working farmer,” he says.
He even financed the seeds and fertilizers of some farmers in his nearby farm and buys their crops during harvest so they would no longer travel far to sell their products.
With a promise that he intends to fulfill, Sulatan is clear and adamant about one thing -- the current political system must go.
With nary a preamble, he declares “I am in favor of reconstructing the system in their town.”
Scrapping the well-worn status quo should be disregarded, he says, because he wanted to serve the people with honesty and provide them with a safer place to live.
He started to negotiate with the people to attain peace. Whenever there is “rido,” he would intervene and bargain with the family to attain peace.
He also shares that he always wanted to be with the people even if it is not election time.
Sulatan says he considered himself a blessed man since he is able to help his people in his own little way.
Now, he is on his second term as vice mayor.
He says he is happy of the outcome of his life and hopes that he will leave a legacy behind that once in his life, he has done many things for his town in Talakag that the people will never forget.
“I may not have finished college but the principles of dealing with people the right way is not learned in school, it was solely from my practical learning outside the realms of the books. But it was a good learning that has brought me to this position now. I earned their respect through the passionate way,” Sulatan proudly says.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 01, 2012.