The way we were 60 years ago-A A +A
By Mina Paras
Sunday, March 10, 2013
LET’S hear it from the one who lived through those times in the past when politics was not a dirty word: my father, Dr. Bienvenido Paras.
The following account is an excerpt from a book on Mabalacat that he has been writing for a long time. We, his three children, had to research for him historical data from the archives of the National Library in Manila: “This chapter relates to my observation of the people of Mabalacat in various activities where I had an interaction with all, or most of them for a period of over a half century beginning in the decades of the forties. During those years, I was a medical practitioner, a religious church worker, youth leader, social worker, sports leader, a politician, member of the Municipal Council (now Sanguniang Bayan) for forty years and Sanguniang Panlalawigan (Board Member) for four years. With all these activities, I personally knew most of the people of Mabalacat. During the ‘70s, when all houses had stairs, I can say I had gone up to most of the houses in the town and barrios, to visit families as friends. Then, the people of Mabalacat were God-fearing, religious, loved their fellowmen, unselfish, honest, trustworthy, industrious and peaceful.”
To comment on the above, I’d have to say that my father, the first doctor in Dau, was all that, and more. He had a generous heart, and as a doctor, he never earned so much because he treated everyone who had no money (as most everyone in those days, I suppose), and they even came away with free medicines. There are still many who could attest to that. My father was a philanthropist to the max — to the great consternation of my late mother who herself was a good businesswoman and just as helpful. My children know it, and they had a quote for it: “Y Lolo maganaka ya kareng egana-ganang tao. Y Lola maganaka ya kareng kayang kamaganak.” (Lolo was good to everybody, Lola was good to her relatives.”) Dwight Morales, Lolo’s boy, Katen Morales Sabile, Lola’s girl, and Marjorie Morales Sambo, Apong Aning’s favorite, all inherited these traits. (Apong Aning was Mayor Boking’s grandmother and the Supremo of the Pineda clan when she was alive.)
To continue: “During the decade of the Philippine Republic, only the candidates for mayor voluntarily announced their candidacy. Candidates for the Municipal Council did not voluntarily announce their candidacy. Actually, the candidates for the council including the vice mayoral candidate had to be persuaded… It was only the candidate for mayor and vice-mayor who spoke during political rallies. The candidates for councilors did not campaign.
“Up to the decade of the ‘60s, members of the council which included the vice-mayor did not receive salaries. They only received a per diem of P2.00 per session per month. (Columnist’s note: This was probably in the mid-forties to the ‘50s, when P2.00 could buy a week’s worth of food.) The service rendered by the council was not less than what is rendered by the present Sangguniang Bayan. The barrio lieutenant, later designated as barrio captain, was the workhorse, messenger and postman, and did not receive compensation for his service. No one called themselves ‘honorable’ but they, the mayor, vice mayor and councilors, I believe were more honorable than some people who aspire to be national leaders now.
“When I was elected a municipal councilor for the first time, the elected councilors included 5 doctors, 1 dentist, 1 lawyer, 1 past mayor.”
In the interest of brevity, I’ll summarize what my father wrote regarding those times. There was never any cheating. Winning candidates almost always belonged to the same team. And once elected, there was never any infighting between the two camps. In those days, there were only two parties: the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party. My father belonged to the Nacionalista Party, as did the late Mayor Dr. Miguel Morales, who was the one who egged on my father to run. The late Mayor Carlito Pineda belonged to the Liberal Party. Dr. Morales was Mayor Boking’s grandfather, and Mayor Pineda was his uncle. No one among Pineda’s children made it in politics though they’re highly successful in business. It’s Mayor Boking who inherited the legacy from both sides of his parents.
You could say I was immersed in the good kind of politics. I should add that in those days too, candidates never spent much. There were hardly any poster cluttering the posts and fences of houses. My father only had small leaflets to hand out. I remember that in one election year, he spent the ‘princely’ sum of P200 for his leaflets.
Ah, them were the days, the good old days.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 11, 2013.