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Legacy Unrequited

When will Pandan ever have a town mayor residents of the northern town can be proud of? The place dearest to my heart has nothing good going during my short visits but the moment the urge for a respite from gruelling urban life arises, memories of a glorious childhood make all roads lead to my roots. It’s Baldoc, a community in the upland district of Pandan which rhymes with Badoc in Ilocos Norte where Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. was born but I hate dictators.

Memories of midnight abduction by then integrated constabulary and police during my early days in broadcast in Legazpi City are etched in my cerebral functions. The rural community is situated in a property still in the name of my late grandfather Atanacio who according to surviving folks donated the area to settlers which handed down residential occupancy to present generations.

There were no documents pertaining to donations which should have transformed the whole land property into individual ownership of barangay residents. In fact, my family had to pay big amount including arrearages for real property taxes the last time I was there. There was no way I would challenge the moral virtue behind the generosity of my grandfather but good intentions should be reciprocated by simple gesture of gratitude among residents which frustratingly does not show even in humble ways.

The picture of a peaceful community where residents were driven by common desire for building a better place to live my keen perception as a young boy carried vivid memories of togetherness and belongingness which my father educator and community leader had built for everyone to emulate is no more. Physical evidence to leadership that developed in me at young age as president of Junior Student Council Movement of Baldoc Elementary School was carved and in prominent display at the gate on solid foundation in contrast to an open stage built for graduation ceremonies and other academic activities with missing roof but certified accomplished by the man on top of school affairs.

What a shame! What does it make an educator who grabs all opportunities for material possessions in open defiance of the law and moral dictates? During my young days, my father as head teacher of Baldoc Elementary School exhibited exemplary leadership that I could not wish for more.

Pay Jose to old folks he was sponsor from baptism to matrimonial rites was the first to earn academic distinction for garnering the highest rating in Teacher’s Promotions examination in the whole Bicol area in 1962. He was Pacquiao of his generation who made use of financial gains from bruises and physical pains as tuition fees in secondary education but beyond being equally left- handed, my father who was also Pantranco conductor devoted his whole life to education.

I heard from him that a former governor and member of the Fuentebella clan in the Partido area was his classmate in the Agricultural School in Pili, Camarines Sur. He would be squirming six feet below the ground if he knew many among head teachers and principals and even supervisors in the province had risen from the ranks by earning or in more fitting terms, buying credentials from mainland schools known for diploma mills.

There were also reports that a woman on top position in a learning institution where I earned my secondary education was caught in the act of thievery and, oh my goodness, made sure nobody was keeping an eye when she picked up a mobile phone from the ground without any hint her shameless act was recorded and seen by fellow teachers, students, parents and the public on CCTV.

She is the same head of school noted for treachery, deceit and abuse of authority by assuming multiple positions in a given time to facilitate financial transactions and ensure proceeds flowed to her pocket with negligible share enjoyed by subordinates wittingly involved in illegal deals.

But we Pandananons have reasons to show proud countenance with known past and present townmates who distinctly made difference in their field of endeavors which count on late Ambassador Leandro Verceles, Sr.+ who rose from barrio boy to international recognition for a post in the United Nations. Cardinal Jose Sanchez+ handled the financial management of the vast resources of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City and these prominent Pandananons are just a fraction of town mates revered for exemplary feats in their chosen fields.

There are a lot from our place of enviable records in various endeavors fellow Pandananons cherish for proud association with but prevailing conditions in our locality in terms of civic and bureaucratic leadership don’t augur to the greatness we are destined as chartered by the greater mortals among us. What upright and well- meaning Pandananons want to build a beloved town for is destroyed and the stature of their accomplishments are poured to the drains by present generation of pretentiously decent evil men in our small society and government.

Would Pandananons be in good hands now that Tacoy Tabirara who was more known as contractor won another bid for town mayor? Would others have made a difference if, for whatever reason, they won the top post after several attempts? From DZRH reporter to errand boy of former First Gentleman Arroyo, what has former mayor Resty de Quiroz done for the good of Pandan? When was the time Pandan ever had a leader we can be proud of?


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