THE culmination of the 32nd Press Freedom Week by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) last Saturday became a reunion of political icons that molded Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental from the dark days to the golden era.

It was also the first time after for so many long years that former Cagayan de Oro mayor Reuben Canoy, former Misamis Oriental governor Homobono Adaza and former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. sit in a presidential table during the fellowship night, shoulder to shoulder.

All smiling now with their wrinkled skins, white hairs (except for Adaza who still manages to dye his hair black), and their tales being retold also by COPC past presidents who witnessed their exploits during their prime – all but nostalgic to the smallest details – indeed, it is true that as time passes, we recall the things that have happened in our lives, we recall and laugh at them with our friends.

People in Cagayan de Oro who have been residing in the city and old enough to remember them understand their role in the contribution of a better Mindanao, or at least in an attempt of it.

But their stories can be very sad, as possibly the youths now can never know them who they are, what they did at all.

These three leaders may not be holier than any other Philippine politicians as they may have had differences in ideologies at the same time leadership indiscretions, but what they have done as far the history in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental is concerned should be a matter of serious business for the youths of today.

The problem may not lie to the (mostly western-inspired) popular culture instilled by the mass media, but it can also be accounted to the history books that schools and educational institutions are offering in their curriculum of which is so limited that the “History of the Philippines” mostly takes place in Manila and Luzon.

Take a challenge by asking 10 high school and college graduates with highest honors and ask them how well they know Adaza, Canoy and Pimentel Jr. and what they did significantly in the history of the city and the province. Chances are, they might resort to Google for answers and they would be lucky enough to find comprehensive and accurate information about them in the Internet.

That is why it is not surprising we are repeating our history – its glory and more on the mistakes – because we never learned our history as people living in Cagayan de Oro and Mindanao. The youths may find relearning history as a waste of time and a bore, after all, which is because they don’t think of it as tool in dealing with the current situation and for the future.

If only memories of our ancestors were like genetic components in our bodies that can be passed on to the next generation but we can’t, or at least for now, that is why the youths should find time to rediscover who they are.

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