Mindanaoan president pushed

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Sunday, June 1, 2014


IT’S high time for the country to elect a president from Mindanao and he should be someone known by many in the island.

This was the consensus of three former political leaders who used to be very active in the country’s political scene namely former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., ex-Misamis Oriental Governor Homobono Adaza, and Reuben Canoy, who used to serve as the city mayor of Cagayan de Oro.

In their respective speeches during the culmination of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club’s (COPC) Press Freedom Week on Saturday, the three Mindanaoan freedom fighters were one in saying that the people of Mindanao must stick together and put a Mindanaoan in Malacañang.

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Canoy in his message said: “Never before in our history that a Mindanaoan was elected president. We could make the president but we are not united in Mindanao. We have this colonial mentality, and we take for granted a candidate from Mindanao. We are always looking up to Manila.”

“We need somebody to run for Mindanao, because Mindanao is a neglected portion of the country,” he added.

Canoy said there is a trend that the president puts priority on where he comes from while the rest of the country is relegated to the back burner.

“In our lessons, in our experiences, whoever is elected president, he always pays attention to his home ground. When Manuel Roxas was elected, the Panay province was the center of development. After Elpidio Quirino took over, Ilocos became the center of development. During the time of Ramon Magsaysay and Zambales and Central Luzon became the center of development…” he explained.

“Our attitude is to help those who are closest to us. We are very tribal. We’re very family-oriented. We’re very clannish. We were thinking that if a president comes from Mindanao, Mindanao, of course, will also become the center of development, for the first time,” Canoy said.

He said a leader from Mindanao understands the problems of the country better than anyone else.

“We in Mindanao have all the problems of the Filipinos… We have a revolution going on, we have underdevelopment, some of the provinces are the poorest, our roads are undeveloped. We have to find a person who can more or less stimulate the development of Mindanao,” Canoy added.

Duterte for president?

Canoy said Mindanao needs a person who is very active, with character, as he dropped that person’s name he has been considering to run in the 2016 elections.

“Sometime this week, we would like to pay a visit to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao. He shows certain qualities that would make him a good executive. We have a possible candidate plus a good base in Visayas and Mindanao. I think this is the candidate that can carry the Cebuano/Visayan votes, this is the candidate that can carry the Mindanao votes.”

Vote-wise, he said, Visayas and Mindanao still top Luzon. “Kitang taga Mindanao, dili maayo mag away-away ta.”

For his part, Adaza said the country needs a leader who is not just from Mindanao but who has the right attitude and mindset, as well.

“We need a leader who has a vision, who knows what to do. Ang kailangan ng bansa ay isang lider na may utak sa bayag at may bayag sa utak—brains with balls and balls with brains,” he said.

Adaza said for far too long, the country has elected leaders mostly from Luzon, 12 out of the 15 presidents, with Mindanao still not producing a president of its own.

But he added that if the people of Mindanao will just work hard enough, then that dream could be achieved.

Although he agreed with the statements of Adaza and Canoy that a Mindanaoan is needed to run the country, Pimentel said it is still too early to tell who exactly that person is, adding that Duterte has the chops to run for the highest office in the country.

“The mayor (Duterte) is a good prospect, because the elections in 2016 is still far off, and anything can come up between now and 2016,” he said.

“We should look for a Mindanao leader, definitely. I believe in him (Duterte) but it’s too early in the game to say that,” he added.

Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, former COPC president, told this paper that that vision of having a Mindanaoan as president has been dreamed of ever since the late Emmanuel Pelaez was shortlisted in the 1960s as most likely to sit in Malacañang.

“It could be Duterte or anybody who has the capability. Those who are good, not corrupt, and can rally our people, and who has the vision for the good for the country. That is the welcome development,” Abacahin said.

In previous news reports, Duterte had repeatedly declined the call for him to run as president in 2016.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 02, 2014.

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