Sangil: Early Politics in Pampanga

(The internet is bringing new opportunities for us who writes about past and present events. We reach more readers, and with reactions and comments coming from the four corners of the globe, so to speak, it is clear that the digital age lifted the barriers for information to cascade everywhere and thus this column is not imprisoned where Sun.Star Pampanga is being circulated).

LET me take you at the time when our country is trying to rebuild, which was heavily damaged after the war. It was the time of President Manuel Roxas, grandfather of now presidential candidate Mar Roxas, who was in Malacañang and carried the burden of rebuilding the country.

While many provinces were enjoying remarkable peace, it cannot be said so in Pampanga.

The socialist movement was quite influential because of reformer Pedro Abad Santos of San Fernando.

It started in 1929, after disagreement on policy and ideology among members of the Philippine Labor Congress, the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng Pilipinas was established by Crisanto Evangelista. And the following year he founded the Partido Communista which was declared as an illegal organization by the Supreme Court.

Thus outlawed, the Partido worked underground on the laboring class in Central Luzon.

Key figure in the underground movement was Luis Taruc who headed the Hukbong Magpagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB). Taruc was a tailor in his hometown of San Luis but was influenced by the teachings of Abad Santos an educated and wealthy scion ofa landed gentry who founded the Socialist Party.

Taruc was one of the elected members of Philippine Congress representing the second district while Amado Yuzon, a poet laureate and English professor in Far Eastern University was the elected congressman in the first district.

In those years there were only two congressional districts in Pampanga and the political subdivision had the railway that cuts across the province as the demarcation line.

Both were harassed by the Roxas administration and were unseated following their strong objections regarding the issue on Bell Trade Act and Parity rights which were being discussed then in congress, which during those years, commentators were claiming that Roxas was being dictated by Washington D.C.

And Taruc went underground and Yuzon continued his politics and teaching profession. Taruc was the feared HMB supremo who surrendered during the time of President Ramon Magsaysay with then Benigno S. Aquino of Concepcion, Tarlac as an intermediary. But that's another story which I will write in my succeeding in columns.

It was said that when Yuzon one time delivered a privilege speech in Congress, his resonant voice filled the sacred hall of congress which left the other representatives and the people in the gallery in awe.

He delivered it in English, Shakespearean style. When he concluded his speech, his colleagues can't help but applaud. And Yuzon in the next congressional elections in his reelection bid faced a zarsuelista in the person of Diosdado P. Macapagal of Lubao.

The two faced each other in one of the most interesting fights in the political history of the province. Those were the years when even people coming from the other towns in Pampanga had to travel long kilometers just to be in the political meetings. (More next week)

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