Here’s a very interesting speech by outgoing Ifugao Governor Glenn Prudenciano sent to us by a tipster. It is a bit long but we hope you will still read it. In case you don’t have the time to read the whole speech, make sure you read the most interesting part [7th paragraph onwards or the part preceded by “arrows”], where the governor talks about Ifugao’s version of blood politics.
It’s not deadly like Abra’s version but it can be just as dangerous. We’re with the governor on this one. In this day and age, why is pure bloodedness an issue? [We’re sure though that this became an issue not only in Ifugao but in other provinces of the country as well with politicians claiming that they are the only true son of such and such a place.]
By the way, one of the good things that Governor Prudenciano did during his short term is to ensure the passage of the Ifugao reproductive health ordinance, the second such ordinance in the country. But let’s go back to the speech:
Speech of Governor Glenn Prudenciano
delivered during the Ifugao Foundation Day
In celebrating our 41 years of political existence, we the people of Ifugao ought to remember our short history. George Santayana a noted writer said: “Those who can not remember the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat it.” Our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal also said, “To foretell the destiny of nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past.” It is because in reviewing the past, we are guided to make our future better.
When the plan to divide the then Mountain Province there was a need for all the municipalities comprising all the sub-provinces to adopt a resolution to endorse the said division. In the then Sub-Province of Ifugao composed of seven municipalities only the municipality of Mayoyao adopted a resolution endorsing the said division. All the rest did not and refused to do so for the reason that they fear Ifugao cannot sustain the financial needs of a separate province.
In spite of this however, the division went through with the endorsements of the rest of the other municipalities of the entire Mountain Province. In commemorating our 41st anniversary we must thank the optimist ad visionaries who have believed in themselves that they can which made all the difference.
After the division, all the new provinces started to manage on their own. As in the beginning, there are always hardships and struggle. Since then we did not hear any financial complaints even as we try to continue managing our financial needs with whatever we have. For 41 years we struggled and survived. Our national government categorized us previously as belonging to the 20 most depressed provinces or the so-called Club Twenty of the poorest provinces of our country. To extricate ourselves from this club is the continuing challenge not only to the leaders of Ifugao but to all our people. Our people must know and be reminded that in order to be developed and progressive there is an urgent need for us to sacrifice.
In my short stint as a provincial official I saw the need for everybody to work together in harmony and sacrifice. To sacrifice is to be discipline and discipline is all what our people need. During elections, our people are so demanding to their local candidates for this and for that reason, which they do not do with national candidates maybe because they are not accessible. Why do we have to burden our local candidates with plenty of our individual demands? Why do our own voters prostitute themselves in exchange of their vote during elections? We are warned that joining the so called “rat race” will turn all of us into rats. We must all realize that our local candidates maybe our friends, our town mates and perhaps our neighbors. We must also realize that a candidate who wanted to win at all costs will have to borrow so much money in order to meet those election campaign demands.
The same determined candidates are forced to tell lies and be hypocrites in order to win. These are the negative things we are making of our local candidates who from among them will become eventually our leaders and officials.
These negative practices will find their eventual acceptance as a matter of course and become our way of life with hypocritical officials and a prostituted people. Then these negative [practices will at the end find our people the poor losers even as they say that “life is what we make it” After election we continue to be unreasonably demanding our officials. I just wonder if any officials can be able to meet all those demands. What price have we gained if by our winning in the election we shall have damaged the moral values of our people? We should be asking these questions seriously to ourselves.
►► After separation as a distinct province, our first appointed Governor was Gualberto Lumauig who is an inapo of Kiangan and not a pure blooded Ifugao. Of all our seven governors to include myself, only two are pure blooded Ifugaos they are Governors Albert Pawingi and Ildefonso Dulinayan. Of all the five who have been our congressmen, only one is a pure blooded Ifugao, no other than our present congressman Hon. Solomon R. Chungalao. Why do I mention this? It is because from time to time the subject of being a pure blooded Ifugao becomes a political issue which tends to divide us.
In the 2004 congressional election retired General Renato Paredes ran for congressman and he won in Kiangan and in Lamut yet he is not a pure blooded Ifugao as his younger brother Jess Paredes who won in the 1984 National Assembly election.
Let us be warned that the issue of Ifugaoism can be distorted to mean purification of Ifugao leaders. It is perhaps because since Ifugao became a province, the Ifugao voters continued to choose or vote non-Ifugaos as their governors or congressmen. So that in our sincere and honest desire to purify Ifugao leaders we might discriminate or muddle the issue. Some Ifugao candidates who may not have valid issues to talk about go to talk about who is the pure blooded Ifugao and who is thereby discriminating. We must not allow this foolish issue to divide us. We cannot say that Governor Benjamin Cappleman and Governor Theodoro Baguilat Jr. are not Ifugaos although we all know that they are not pure blooded Ifugaos.
We cannot politically disqualify the others and what have you, who were born and raised up in Ifugao. We cannot politically disqualify some Ifugaos of mix blood with Spanish and Americans much less we cannot now politically disqualify Ifugaos whose parents are either Kankana-ey, Ibaloi, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Gaddangs, Visayas or Muslims. It is because Ifugao diaspora caused it.
The test of true Ifugaoism is not in the blood but in the action. Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal laid down his very life to prove and show to the world his love for his country and people and yet he was not a pure blooded Filipino because Chinese blood runs in his veins. President Manuel Quezon was a well known nationalist and fought for our independence yet he was not a pure blooded Filipino because Spanish blood runs in his veins. Were they lesser Filipinos than the Aetas because they are not pure blooded Filipinos but nobody is questioning their patriotism and nationalism.
It is not really a matter of purifying our blood that matters but more importantly it is purifying our hearts and reforming our tongues so we should not be falsely accusing one another during election campaign of who is the true Ifugao and who is not. This is discriminatory and divisive, and it borders on hypocrisy and mental dishonesty. Ifugaoism should not be a political purification and purging but improving the stock and quality of Ifugaos.
We should learn from history. Hitler tried to create an Aryan race by purging 6 million Jews into the gas chambers in order to purify Germany and what happened to him and his government? Vanished and gone into the oblivion of history. Conversely, the United States of America constructed the Statue of Liberty on her shore to welcome all races to her shores and become the melting pot of the world. What had become of America?
We should also learn from natural and biological history. We learned that marriages among close relatives only reduce the quality of life but inter-marriages among peoples can improve the family stock. That is why nature made it that as we were taught, opposite poles attracts and same poles repels.
Ifugaoism should not be defined in terms of blood but by true love for Ifugao as would be shown in all his beliefs and actions. When an Ifugao comes and rob the capitol, is this love of Ifugao? When an Ifugao kills his own brother Ifugao is that love for Ifugao? Ifugao culture is not disliking or hating one another but helping, cooperating and sharing with one another. As the Filipino is hospitable, the Ifugaos are likewise more hospitable.
Lessons of history must teach us that there were those who struggled and fought for the attainment of freedom, liberty and independence, who after achieving their goals, turned to themselves and “eat their own children” so to speak. May God forbid that this will not happen to us Ifugaos.
After our struggles for political freedom from outside political predators through Ifugaoism as in nationalism against colonialism has been achieved, Ifugaoism must take now a new role. After achieving our political goal, the idea of Ifugaoism was deemed to have accomplished its mission. It may no longer gains most especially from some home grown hegemonic people, clans or families who distort the common goals and interests to insure their political supremacy and take the place of foreign rulers, so to speak again, which we determinedly fought to oust and prevent.
Ifugaoism can again become a weapon to combat new impediments to Ifugao progress and freedom. It is no longer the ideological tool directed against the presence of political outsiders; it should now be a principle that will liberate us from our narrow selfish interests in favor of the general welfare.
Ifugaoism should remain to be the uniting force in our continuing struggles against all external domination in all fields of endeavor. We all know that “in unity there is strength” and Ifugao need all that strength. Ifugaoism should not be selfish to economic investors but only against political predators. It should always be a means to discover or rediscover ourselves of our socio-economic and political identity as one people. Too much politicking is dividing our country and weakening our economy. The least that Ifugao needs is too much politics.
The task of Ifugaoism now is to elevate massive consciousness and awareness our past struggles against external political predators who took advantage of our passiveness and political naivety. To educate our people in responsible citizenship in dealing with all social, economic and political endeavors. We should as we can only learn from the past.
The concentration now Ifugaoism should be on cooperation, understanding and political unity in our efforts to confront our socio-economic problems. We must now allow political differences to divide us. We must turn political differences as tools and instruments of the learning process for better understanding. We must not allow political power as a means of entering the so called “rat race” or a “dog eats dog” society. Ifugaoism should be the ideological base for true Ifugao liberation which will do away with all forms of internal and external oppressions and exploitations. It should be the uniting force that will impel our political leaders to extricate us from a life of poverty, ignorance and under-development, ultimately to be out of the twenty poorest provinces.
Reforms are always possible through visions and commitments of our leaders. Lone Ranger type governance of only one doing everything cannot do but only through citizen’s participation. Running a local government is more than just having internal revenue allotments (IRAs) to prop up a local budget. An Asian Development Bank study shows that local governments are “changing the social fabric and culture of nations, that it is unstoppable and changing people’s lives, it has elements of unpredictability and chaos.”
It is for this reasons that citizen’s empowerment should teach ordinary citizens to exercise one of the very few means given to them in actually participating in their governance which is the honest election of their officials. Because it is here where unscrupulous politician exploit the naïve, trustful if not uncaring ordinary people. Citizens’ empowerment means giving teeth and meaning to the constitutional provision of “power emanates from the people.”
Pulling out our province from its present unpleasant situation should not be an end but rather only a beginning. Achieving all the known freedoms should always be our aim. This should be the continuing motivations for our leaders as it should be the continuing challenge for all of us too. It will be the lasting legacy they will leave to our people and the next generation yet to come. Let it not be said one day to our leaders that: “they came and went but left no trace of their coming and going.” And as Tacitus said of the Romans, “They created a desert and called it peace and progress.” These are the tragedies of leaders who are not true leaders in the first place.
I mentioned all these in passing as reminders and as lessons for us Ifugaos to learn if we are truly committed to development and progress for our beloved province. As father of Ifugao even for a few months, I wanted to leave these few sentiments and advices to you as a good father of a family should do. I am not ashamed to say that while we belong to the club of poorest provinces, I can say with pride that if there is one province in the whole country that do not have beggars, that is Ifugao province. Let us be reminded that our forefathers believe that it is more honorable to kill than to steal. That was their culture, uncivilized but free. They were the proud monarchs and kings of their own abode.
We can see that Ifugao is one of the most evangelized provinces in the Cordilleras yet we do not seem to relate our Christianity and put true Christian meanings into our characters especially in the matter of choosing our officials during elections. We have very little conviction of our own essential dignity or even of our essential decency. We seem to be following our country in proudly proclaiming that we are the only Christian nation in Asia and yet we are also proclaimed to be the second most corrupt and most dangerous country. There is something wrong in between. Perhaps our Christianity is misplaced. Our morality does not much our Christianity. Our Christian learning and values should be the means to honest, orderly and peaceful elections yet they seem not. The good book says that we should all “be doers of the Word and not hearers only.” Our apathy does not deter catastrophe. Yes, we need to cry out to be saved-saved from ourselves, for it is the soul of Ifugao and a culture that is dying.
My friends, what I have all said are not sermons nor am I sour graping, but are only putting some road signs directing us to take the high road of life which is the only way our beloved province can stand shoulder to shoulder with all the provinces in this country. They are also danger warnings in order for us to avoid falling into the precipice down the swirling cesspool of meaninglessness and oblivion.
As we celebrate and commemorate our 41st anniversary, it is well for us to remember our leaders who have all gone before us who build upon one another to make Ifugao what we are today. It is also well for us to remember our successes and our achievements as well as our mistakes and failures; our strengths and weaknesses because they become our compasses to guide us into a brighter and more progressive province. Although I have said these, I do not claim to know everything but I just wanted to share everything I know.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my friends by way of saying farewell to all of you, I would like to give my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to one and all for helping and cooperating with me even for a few months as your humble Governor. May you all continue to carry the torch of true Ifugaoism to the heights of true patriotism and dedicated public service, for it is only then that we can have a government of the people, by the people and for the people and so our beloved province of Ifugao shall not perish upon this earth.
Thank you very much.