Although in celebration of Bonifacio's day, Philippine government declared November 29, 2010 as the non-working holiday, today being the true date of such celebration brings in me an enormous thoughts to talk about. (Never mind the constant disturbance of my toddler Briggs taking my attention once in a while to him.)
First, it is a celebration of one great hero this country have. History tells us that he was a revolutionary leader of the Katipunan whose success could have earned him the honor of being the true First President instead of Emilio Aguinaldo. He came from the middle class whose rise to power in making a successful revolution made him an object of envy of the upper class. He could have been likewise declared a National Hero yet the honor given to him for having made a day special for him in our calendar made his name and work of great influence to many Filipinos.
I will not tell you about his life. It is easy find it at google and read through all of them and probably you will be transported to a time 147 years ago of revolution calling for every Filipinos make a stand for freedom. And as I read through it, somehow I have seen a glimpse of this man's love for his country, no matter how lowly or how poor his background was. He rose to greatness because he transcend above his own needs and wants. He was born a peasant but a true leader. And I cannot help but think that alongside our National Hero Jose P. Rizal, he was a man who employ a means of revolution necessary to be undertaken during his time and responded to it.His life is worth for our remembrance.
Second, today is the last day in office of my husband, Roderico Y. Dumaug, Jr (Jun Dumaug) as Punong Barangay in Kiwalan, Iligan City where he served as SK Chairman at 17 years old, Barangay Councilor, then as twice-elected Barangay Chairman until his defeat last October 25, 2010 Barangay Election. I have never written a piece of thought about it till now and I would like to share it today.
HIS FRIENDSHIP AND LEADERSHIP
Roderico Y. Dumaug, Jr. known by many as Jun Dumaug first caught my attention when we were seated together in our class in the College of Law. ( I met him before when I was still in college while I served as the first leader of the Educational Committee at the Catholic Center Campus Ministry (CCCM), a Campus Ministry nearby our state university to serve young students away from home.) Though his boyish looks and dazzling smile were of course the first things that I noticed about him then, being seated next to him in an intellectual conversation brings an altogether higher degree of respect and esteemed to this man who loves his country very much and one with true leadership skills grounded on honesty and efficiency. Later on, I came to read his poems which reveals a man of good will and simplicity and a heart fired with burning love for his God and country.
All through out the time during my college of law years, the friendship and esteemed I kept with him served as a solid ground for a hope for this nation as far as politics is concerned. I was already resigned to the thought and idea that politics is only for evil people who can manipulate the system and belongs to the people who are likewise willing to be manipulated and bought. It is the foremost reason why I shun away from all political discussions and political groups. I sheltered myself among men and women in the service of the church like what I did taking a responsibility as a young leader under the training of a dedicated and loving French missionary priest,Fr. Michel de Gigord, FMM. But seeing his life as elected local leader of Barangay Kiwalan, Iligan City where the people bestowed on him the power to govern without having sold their electoral votes to him, a glimmer of hope continues in me.
DESTINY MADE ME MARRY THE MAN
But destiny has its cunning way of keeping people together if they are meant to be. (The story deserves another article to write about.) On April 29, 2010, I was married to him in our Roman Catholic faith, a decision which carries a big meaning for me as I seriously took the solemn vow of Holy Matrimony. I was keenly aware of the responsibility that lies ahead. He is already a leader who created a name in Iligan City in his stay as Punong Barangay who brought about many changes in governance in his place.(He ran twice for a City Councilor post, he lost twice. He almost made it on his first run despite the fact that we lack all resources in running an Iligan City-wide campaign.) He loved his place very much and it is the driving force that made him do all the things he did. On my part, being catapulted into the role of being wife to a leader of a Barangay so new to me and whose people are strangers for me brings an enormous challenge. I did my best to cope up.( In my typical way, I tried to distant myself from his governance to avoid side-stepping his role. In many cases, to use the influence of a man or woman in power, they go the spouse to gain favor. This I tried to avoid and although it pleased to few it irate others too.) Along the way, traces of politics that I abhor came along the way; yet I had to live with it. It was a moment to take on the real world, to be part of it, all in the name of service. During our marriage, he was elected again as Barangay Chairman which opportunity to shape the political landscape, he did amidst the glaring reality of Philippine politics.
POLITICAL LIFE SHATTERED, HOPE REMAINED
During the October 25, 2010 elections, I did not expect him to lost. I was aware though of the move to replace him in his post; they were very visible but I was expectant of the Kiwalanons; that majority of them will look at his accomplishments and the honor he gave and fought for them and cannot be swayed by the traditional way of gaining of votes ( I think you know what I mean.) But the inevitable happened and from among the people in the polling place I was the first one to know of his defeat. Although caught off-guard with the result and coping with the reactions of his stalwart supporters and loyalists, I managed to receive the result with a dignified stance knowing how my husband made a historical job of being in the political world yet continually trying not to be eaten and rotten by the system that he sought to establish reform.( There are very slight margins of votes from among the three contenders for Barangay Chairman in Kiwalan.) His courageous words of accepting defeat made me all the more admire the man whom I married. For I married him not because he was in power, I married him knowing he is a very simple and honest man, who loves me deeply in his peculiar way and whom I can stand along side with in great respect and awe. He gave dignity to his defeat although he was very sad yet he rose from it full of valiance and hope for this country resigned to peace and rule of majority, yet fully aware that there has to be a way to end it.
BONIFACIO DAY AND HIS LAST DAY AS PUNONG BARANGAY
As he woke up today at our breakfast, he repeatedly said, " I am no longer the Barangay Captain." I cannot help but feel for him and I may have avoided the same nostalgic feeling but I felt the same way for today on Bonifacio's Day, it is also the first time that I am no longer the First Lady of Kiwalan, the mother of Kiwalanons, which I took at heart and deeds since the day I married their Barangay Captain Jun Dumaug, almost five(5) years ago.(Although many Kiwalanon are aware of the difficulty I carried being on adjustment to a new marital status carrying at the same time the role.) Today in fact is the first time that I will no longer be enjoying the symbolic role and it gives in a certain degree of liberation.
Although my husband received a training of the leadership of our National Hero Jose P. Rizal and he may have been influenced by his writings and prompted by yearnings of Jose Rizal for the youth; looking closely at his political life, I cannot help but see its resemblance to that of Andres Bonifacio as far as having come from peasant background and their passion turned into reality. My husband's political reforms stayed steadily and simply for the past 18 years and his exit to his political career already left a beautiful legacy worthy of emulation for any young Kiwalanon.
To all Filipinos whether you live here in the Philippines or now outside the country let us continue to nurture the love of country and I too remain hopeful for the destiny of our nation. We can do so much, we just have to do something and make them concrete and align to our personal lives.
(I have to go now for my little Briggs who did everything he could to get my attention while I write this, is now running around our little sala, chanting , "Mama", "Mama", "Mama" while clapping his hands; how can I resist and ignore him. My prime duty being a source of love for my little one, knowing fully well someday he will tell a story of love for this nation too!)
(Article first published at my facebook account, November 30, 2010)