Thursday, April 12, 2007

Here's the Man






Against all Odds
by Sabas Mabulo

More than a decade ago, when I first entered government service by way of running in an elected position, it was clear in my mind that the only desire in me was to give a part of my life in the service for my people.

True enough, I was entrusted a sensitive post for 12 years (3 years as a municipal kagawad and 9 years as a local chief executive). But, least to my expectation and never in my wildest dreams have I considered the thought of wanting a higher post other than what was granted to me by my town folks for I am aware that, that would be like paddling against all odds.

In politics there is a popular clique, “there are no permanent friends and enemies only indestructible interests”. One day late last year news of unification of the 3 political kingpins in the province resonated all over our place. Congs. Villafuerte, Alfelor and Secretary Andaya forged an alliance making way to what is to be the strongest political alliance. Any decision to battle them was like banging one’s head against a brick wall – in short committing a political suicide. No one was taken aback by the sudden change in the flow of the tide, the once rivals are now comrades – they are indeed true blooded politicians who possess insatiable appetites.

Almost as soon as news of unification broke out, another dumbfounding issue appeared. The kingpins are endorsing Dato Arroyo to the congressional seat of the first district of Camarines Sur.

It was alarming news, to think that Andaya a stronghold in the first district is backing out in favor of the President’s son. The decision created a sensation; it made way to many implications.

First, considering the unification of the 3 naturally merging of the big parties including the mayors will follow, because they are now united who will have the guts to run against anyone in any position
more so with Dato – he will then run unopposed. Second, not everybody welcomed the idea with open heart and the same fervor as the seasoned politicians of the province. Questions emanated like, why is Dato here in the first district, what’s in it for the 3 if they can give Dato the congressional seat in a silver platter and is there no other local politician capable to run the business of his own territory?

To concretize the plans a meeting was set last December 10 by Secretary Andaya to make way for the forging of a covenant endorsing Dato But with the on going relief and rehabilitation operations to the victims of typhoon Reming the meeting was cancelled.

In disgust over the gesture of our political leaders, a core group composed of representatives from NGOs, People’s Organization, academe, business and church based organizations met and invited me over – I was surprised to find out that I was the only politician in the group. The occasion was the first step taken in their desire to redefine the stance, that in any election candidates with biggest machinery brings home the bacon and at the same time tackle the issue on Dato running unopposed. Yes, Dato will not run unoppossed; I was their best option.

I left the meeting in a state of awe as mixed emotions engulfed my being. I felt elated at the same time fearful , why a simple man like me whose only wish after June 30, 2007 is to go back to ordinary everyday life be the local choice for the congressional seat. There are a lot of things I would rather do – teach for instance or go back to NGO work or plant and go fishing in the farm, than go to what I a consider an unmatched fight in a bigger arena.

One result of that drum roll was the growing interest of opposition politicians who one by one began to call, inquiring and even insinuating the possibility to offer myself as alternative. At that time my only response was a laughter or a big smile, for viewing the whole idea from all perspective I would say accepting the challenge is a long shot to make.

It was difficult to make a quick and decisive stand regarding the opposition and core group’s hope for a dramatic change. Committing myself to a delicate matter must be a conjoined decision of my family, relatives, friends, political contacts and leaders whom I consulted and gave me one common sentiment – GO AHEAD AND FIGHT.

Realizing that in any decision to make the thumbs up or the big yes of people around you is never enough, our trust in God’s divine wisdom is necessary. He alone knows the best, He alone will give me the one final answer.

So on February 12 in what I consider a crucial CLC prayer meeting, the issue I had long been trying avoid to face squarely was posed to me point blank. Despite my fears and unworthiness at the same time after carefully listening to my inner thoughts during that prayer meeting with the help of the community divine inspiration flowed through me. Specially touching was when
one shared – that all prophets were afraid and unworthy but they followed the calling. Right there I felt compelled to take the path that seemed to be risky and unthinkable.

Together with the decision I made were the many fears tagged along with it, for one there is the inconvenience of a political campaign on a broader scope, which I am not used to. When before I have to cover only the barangays in my town this time I have to reach all the barangays in the towns of the first district.

Security risk is another thing to contend with, considering I am fighting a powerful political force. Most of all my fear of not being able to reach the finish line for lack of logistics is one reality to face.

Although, despite the fears and unworthiness I constantly remind myself that they may have the finest arms, the support of the strongest political party, countless resources in the land, I am confident that I will give them a good fight because I have the most powerful campaign manager and shield at hand – God is with me expressed through the countless people who encouraged and expressed support to my YES, I can make a difference even as I sail in this battle paddling against all odds.

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