60th Courier Anniversary Issue
     
60th Anniversary Issue
 
Supplement Articles
:: Mayoralty Candidates & their vision for Baguio
:: What have we done to our city?
:: Leadership a
la Sudcordillera
:: If I could vote,
I would vote for...
:: A look at the northern youth vote
:: Shanty Town: rethinking
our mountains' development
:: Ma Fok's Secret
:: Ibaloi in international media
:: Preventing cervical cancer
:: Prostate cancer:
a brief perspective
:: Baguio Midland Courier goes online
:: Courier in the '60s
:: Baguio media notes and anecdotes
:: When headline writers become headline makers
:: The History of Baguio City National High School
:: 60 things to do and places to see in Cordi
:: How to make Baguio a child-friendly city
:: Election Cartoons
 
trisha Leadership a la Sudcordillera
Dr. Morr Pungayan
 

Our topic shall revolve around three main questions, namely: 1) how does one – in present-day Southern Cordillera – attain “leadership” or become a leader (usually in the meaning of “an official”)? 2) how does he compare with his predecessors – near, recent or remote? 3) what factors or circumstances obtain as attributive or contributive to today’s perception of Sudcordilleran “leadership”?

To find out, let’s start with the next door neighbor family, the barangay, or – if not – the municipality, which has a “leader” (or “an official”) member. Follows now the first typology: an actual case.

There’s little need to “re-search” on his biography since everyone knows everyone in the locality. So let’s take him as the first model (always rendered by my friend CBC as mah-dYl); shall we call him Apo Gobenarol, initials AG?

He comes from a family of traditional native apos – the so-called “chiefs” of Hispanic ethnography. His father was a government man – of high position – and his mother was a teacher – one of the earliest “educateds” of these mountain areas – we refer to here in this writing as Sudcordillera or literally, “Cordillera: the southern parts.” AG was born in Baguio City.

In college he started leading: he was the favorite peer of his agemates, he bested some of his co-Political Science majors, and most of all he got the ROTC commandership! After his B.A., he took up Law, and later, he became a lawyer – distinguishing himself in the persuasion of a Human Rights defender.

At a young age, he ventured into politics. Although he lost his first and second bids for a certain high position, he made it – in another high position – in his third, fourth, and fifth – becoming yet one of the youngest to finish a three-straight-term governorship in the Cordilleras!

What was his secret? Each time he is asked this question, he just smiles in answer – enjoying meanwhile the official address the people linger with to greet him: Apo Gobenarol! (Your honor, the Governor)!

Our second model has the initials KA – which stands for Kagawad Apo (in fact, it should be lexically ordered: Apo Kagawad; but he himself, introduces himself when asked as Kagawad Apo; so, KA).

KA is not “ethnic” (meaning he was born in another part of the Cordilleras or elsewhere) to the municipality he is presently “serving.” But he braved all odds – weather and strain – while campaigning. He told them he was their gaet (fellow), kailian (townmate), and kadua (friend). For these reasons and other things, “Maki-pakpakasi akinayon dak, uray idiay pang-walo laeng!” (I beg you ... include me, even if it be just the eighth!)

Listening to the sincerity (and “humility!”) in his voice and in his speeches, they voted for him. Now, he is enjoying still the trust of the electorate and each time they kid him to be the next mayor or vice-mayor, he promptly corrects them and says, Kagawad, Apo; and formally informs them: “I am kagawad so and so!”

KA has many “look-alikes,” not only in his present municipality but in many others. Their similar or parallel versions tell and re-tell of how voters love to be told what words and what social vestments they want to be addressed with!

Our third model shall be assigned the initials MAN – which stands for Meyor ah Niman! i.e. “Mayor EMPH now!”

He started as a barangay captain – a kapitán – in a mining-dominated territory during the time of “Solid North” strongman Apo F.E. Marcos. With two other capitánes, he had the makings of an oppositionist. So when the Marcoses left, MAN and the two other capitánes were viewed as the “logical” councilor-OICs. Contrary to the people’s view and belief, however, not one of the three became such – not even MAN!

But Lady Luck’s favor continued to shower on MAN. He did not become an OIC-councilor; but later he got elected as a “full-fledged” councilor. After his councilorship, some thought he was over with his political career and was going to embark on a private enterprise.

But to the surprise of many, he got a job in the municipal government – a “not-so-high” position you might call it, but nonetheless a kind of “boss-ranking” position.

The election following, he was elected municipal mayor over other forecasted “strong” candidates! How did he do it? Well, you can ask him yourself. This is supposed to be a true story, a true case.

Meanwhile, his two former colleague-capitánes observe him with interest. Far as one of them is concerned, there is one quality that sets them apart from MAN: they “can only” do the native dances like the Tinaktakyad, the Ginalding, the Bendian Sedsed, other dances. And MAN?
“Oh, MAN? Aside from those native dances, he can also do the tango, the cha-cha, even the paso doble!” says the other; and continues: “he has more friends and encounters, so look: he is now a mayor, meyor a niman!”

Our fourth model bears the acronym NO, which stands for “Never Opposed” (of course, some could readily correct you to use a “softer” term, which is Unopposed, a supposed contraction of “running this time (or again, or for the first time, etc.) as unopposed.” In time, the expression got permanently shortened to unopposed).

NO finished his studies in a prestigious university. Was he not a Bachiller en Artes, majoring in Political Science and History? Most probably so, the group he went mostly with, when I met him many years ago, was from those majors.

Anyway, after graduation, he embarked on his mission to be a “leader of his people.” He ran and got elected – the first time! I had the opportunity to talk with him during his second term and when I asked him what did he think as his best advantage(s) over his opponents, he answered shyly, “Maybe just my luck!”

But when I followed up my question by ask-guiding him: “Maybe it is your dual command of both the languages spoken here, which are Kankana-ey and Nabaloi?” He answered “Maybe so, although truly, when we were campaigning in the remoter areas, I used both or either. My rivals sometimes used Iluko!”

But why was he “never opposed” after his first election? Plain luck? The people have “no other choice?” The people love him? He is a “strong” opponent? And so forth?

But if the story that he became a strong one after his term is real, what made him become that strong – as to cause a record of “Never Opposed?” Are there some circumstances that surround his earning of the reference NO or Never Opposed?

Our fifth and last mahdYl (CBC’s again) is TENG, which stands for Tatang era ni Golottoi in Nabaloi; but in the other Cordillera languages, they don’t need the era, so they just abbreviate it as TNG, i.e. Tatang nan Golottoi, literally “Father of the Igorot Siblings”

He is in the village, in the farm, among his old folks in the Cañao; he is the good father of his children, an “ordinary” member of the academe, a laborer or employee of a big or not-so-big company, or just “a plain and hardworking man.”
Unlike the previous four models, TENG or TNG has no penchant for political games, parties, exercises, and the like. He deciphers that his co-village people are the “playmates” of the men and women of politics – lords, semi-lords, and all – but after elections, these same women and men go back to their lord-ships and/or self-essence con existence.

TENG or TNG hopes that one day, the “sugarcoating” of today’s leadership shall be shred off, in favor of the real gem: the unwavering, unconditional love of one’s own root and origin.

TENG or TNG has also been reading the following observations about his Sudcordi (or Cordi) ancestors and he wants us to read them too, to wit:

“Chiefs were differentiated only by more bones of animals killed in their feasts, more clothes, and greater age. There is one in every ten or twelve homes who is head of the kinsfolk. They inherit from father to children or by blood, and do not recognize one as greater than the other.” (Felix M. Keesing, The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon, 1962, p. 64).

And this one:     
“It is not very easy to ascertain the number of these people, who are scattered, for they are so intractable, and do not let themselves to be seen ... If they reach one thousand men that is a great number. They can scarcely gather in one body or live in friendly terms with another.” (Ibid., p.65).

Quoting one of the early Spanish Chroniclers, Keesing re-narrates: “They are, he says, ‘unconquerable’, and vacillate between friendliness and enmity; when they ‘rebel’ their villages disappear! We had “controlled a few only …” (Ibid., p. 67).

And finally, from Bryan of the earliest American regime in the Sudcordillera; and referring to Recollect Juan de Conception’s earlier version of the Ibalois thereat:

“Igorrote-Chinese … supposed to be descendants of the pirate Le-Ma-Hong, who, when abandoned by their leader in 1574, fled to the mountains and allied themselves with the Igorrotes. Their intermarriage with the tribe has generated a species of people quite unique in character. Their customs are much the same as the pure Igorrotes, but their fierceness is blended with the cunning and astuteness of the Mongol …” (William S. Bryan, ed. Our Islands and their people, New York: N.D Thompson publishing Co., 1899 p. 613).

 
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