The Long March of Alex C-A A +A
By Max Sangil
Saturday, August 11, 2012
WILL the real Alex Cauguiran stand up please? I was with Alex during a cool month of 2006 in Beijing, China and fromour hotel in the central business district of the city we strolled our way to the Tiananmen Square. When we reached the square and Alex saw the huge portrait of Mao Tse Tung, I saw him make a discreet bow and later, with his head up, he punched his clenched fist to the sky. That gave me a smile.
Sometime in 1983, the young Alex was a regular speaker in many protest actions. He was the last speaker in a youth rally denouncing the excess military abuses at the Capitol ground of Pampanga when he was picked by constabulary agents. He was taken to a dimly lit room, was undressed and was interrogated. He couldn’t see his tormentors as he was blinded by a strong light. There was a scar on him, left by being beaten and repeatedly slapped by a .45 caliber pistol.
Alex’s parents were from Bamban, Tarlac. His father, Jesus, got a job at the then Clark Air Force, and so he moved his family to Barangay Sapangbato in Angeles City. His mother, Lydia Sangalang, was one of the original money changers in Angeles. There were no green bucks during those years but the American GIs and their families used money scripps. His father was working at the civil engineering office of the American base. Of the eight siblings, Alex is fifth among them, and the only one who refused financial support in his studies from their parents.
He was a campus figure at the Holy Angel University in his college days. He played power forward in the varsity basketball team. He was not a star player, but his prominence was his being a student activist who fought for the restoration of the disbanded student council. And that was his initiation to activism, and the left took notice of his deep intellect and eloquence. He was recruited by the National Democratic Front in 1983.
There was no action against the Marcos dictatorship where he was not involved. He spoke in rallies as far as Dumaguete and Davao. But not long there was a disagreement with certain policies of the NDF, and his dream of a continuing struggle for peoples’ emancipation was shelved.
Alex and I worked together for some time at the Clark International Airport Corporation, I as one of the members of the board and he as director and executive vice president. Unknown to many, Alex was the CIAC officer sent to many air services agreements in several countries for entitlements of passengers and added international flights for both budget and flag carriers of foreign airlines. He was a co-convenor of mine together with lawyers Ed Pamintuan and Manolo Feliciano of Move Clark Now, a movement formed in the mid-90s seeking to fully accelerate the development of then MAC terminal into a commercial international airport.
The movement sought for the declaration of the Clark airport as the country’s premier gateway. The movement succeeded by soliciting an executive order from then President Fidel Ramos. And it took the team of CIAC president Victor Luciano and Alex to fully operationalize the airport. Alex left after his job was almost done, with 36 international flights weekly, as against the flights of only mosquitoes and flies in 2001, the year he donned the suit of a corporate man.
It was Ed Pamintuan together with Oscar Rodriguez who negotiated for the release of Alex from his constabulary captors. From that day on, Alex and Ed nursed an enduring friendship. And when Ed Pamintuan made a run for the Angeles mayorship in 1995, he was the quarterback in the campaign. Again in the 2010 attempt of Pamintuan to reclaim city hall, Alex was master planner, and expect that in this coming midterm elections, wherein Pamintuan and the Cauguiran partnership will be put to a test, the latter preparing the road map.
The Sapangbato kid trekked a long march. From being a barracks boy shining shoes of American GIs, waiting tables at the Airmen’s Club, a student activist , officer of the NDF, CIAC’s representative to air services agreements to many countries, city councilor, a corporate man, and strategist and consigliere to Pamintuan, his journey is still far away from the finish line.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 12, 2012.