Monday, May 10, 2010

Letter of Didi (1971 activist)

March 6, 1971

Hon. Romulo Lumauig:

First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me last night.  It was quite an experience for me to be with “big” people like you.  It was just as memorable for me to be able to enter the Pines Hotel.  As you might have read in the papers, we were arrested for trying to pace through the driveway (I repeat the driveway) of Pines Hotel on our way to UP after the picket at SLU.  Thanks to you, now I’ve seen the Pines Hotel.

Secondly, I do appreciate your desire to be able to read our books.  Just by reading them, you shall have helped us a lot.  And your further wish to discuss them with me is something I’ll never be able to thank you for.

Thirdly, allow me to clarify some things.  Please don’t misunderstand my asking financial help from you.  We’re definitely not using the few rich to attain our goals.  If only we had the money, I wouldn’t even sell the books to you.  In fact, what we consider more important than your financial help, is your wish to really know our issues through reading and discussions.  Also, please don’t misunderstand me when I make a “hasty” generalization in classifying you.  To be brief, let me just refer you to “Ang Estado at mga uri sa ating lipunan”, one of the hand-outs enclosed.  And obviously, you belong to the upper 4% if not the upper 1% (See also class analysis, in PSR by Amado Guerrero).
I did mean what I said – that reforms shouldn’t come from you.  We believe that people who are suffering under our system are more effective as reformists.  And in as much as it’s the working class lead the call for reforms.  And besides, we can’t leave out the possibility that reforms coming from your ranks be such that they will promote and maintain your interests.  Not that we doubt your sincerity – in fact, I do believe in your sincerity (as I have said) – but how many among you is as sincere as you; and how many among us believe in your sincerity like I do?

And besides, don’t you agree that many Congressmen have ceased to become representatives of the people? Most have become to be more of a representative of the few rich.  Since such is now the case, who would believe that the few reforms you’re fighting for are for the benefit of the many oppressed.  Again you might accuse me of hasty generalization but I suppose it’s safe to generalize at this point since there have been too many precedencies.  Kung kaya sa inductive logic, many particular cases lead to a logical conclusion.

Fourthly, thanks for giving me a new experience – that of walking down Baguio streets with a body guard following behind.  It was such an unusual  feeling, I even went to the extent of  making believe  he was my own bodyguard.  But the thought of having a bodyguard because I have so many  enemies  gave me the creeps.    I’m  not saying here that that you have a bodyguard because you have enemies – it’s just that I have always associated bodyguards with enemies.

By the way, here’s the list of books and readings and their corresponding donations:

Victor C.Book         -    P2.00 minimum
Kalatas            -    P0.25 minimum
Bandilang P. (1st issue)-    free
(2nd issue)        -    P0.20 minimum
all other hand – outs    -    free
Phil. Soc. in Revolution-    P10.00 minimum

(this is my personal book so I hope you don’t mind the markings.  I wanted so much to give you a copy now and I wasn’t able to get a new one.)

This gives a total of P12.25 minimum donation.  We always talk in terms of minimum donation because we greatly appreaciate whatever additional donation you can give.
Lastly, allow me extend my final thanks.  At nalaman ko na ang buong MAKIBAKA ay nagpapahayag din ng taos- pusong pasasalamat sa inyong tulong.

Hanggang sa muling pagkikita –

Ang inyong lingcod sa pakikibaka,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Who is Romulo Lumauig -- Working for the CNI

After the national elections in 1961, Atty. Gabriel Dunuan of Kiangan, Ifugao formerly a Congressman of the province, was appointed as Chairman of the Commission on National Integration (CNI), by President Diosdado Macapagal.   Atty. Dunuan and President Macapagal belong to the Liberal Party.   The circle of Ifugao residents in Manila gave a small reception party for the Ifugao Commissioner.   I joined the reception, and when Commissioner Dunuan saw me, he pulled me aside and said, “Romy, I need help.  I want to put up a strong Legal Division of the CNI.   The problems facing the CNI are so numerous and complex and are mostly legal.  Our people are being dispossessed of or grabbed of their lands.  They are being exploited by powerful interests, who want the cultural minority landholdings.”   At first, I hesitated, as my Uncle Johnny Guiab, a US Army veteran and a resident in Chicago, Illinois, insisted that I go to the US and pursue my advance studies there.   After some reflection, I eventually accepted the offer of Commissioner Dunuan to join the Commission on National Integration (CNI) as head of the Legal Division, and in the interim also as Acting Head of the Field Services Division.

Republic Act No. 1888 was passed by Congress in 1964 creating the Commission on National Integration (CNI) to effectuate in a more rapid and complete manner the economic, social, moral and political advancement of the Non-Christian Filipino, or National Cultural minorities and to render real, complete and permanent the integration of all cultural minorities into the body politic.   Studying intently the provisions of RA1888 which is the Charter of the CNI, the term “Non-Christian” as used in the law refers more to the degree of culture and civilization of the public affected rather than to their religion (Ruby vs. Provincial Board of Mindanao, 39 Phil 660).   It refers not to religious belief but, in a way to the geographical area and more directly to the natives of the Philippine Islands usually living in Tribal relationship apart from settled communities.   (People vs. Cayat 88 Phil. 12; Parkan, et al vs. Navarro, 73 Phil. O.G. p. 32, 33).

Aware of the situation of the national cultural minority, who comparatively speaking, are those left behind in Philippine society, the Government has embarked on a real complete and permanent program of INTEGRATING all cultural minorities into the body politic.   The State in adopting this altruistic program of integration, respects and recognizes the morals, values, cultures and traditions of these cultural minorities.  Rather than emphasizing or focusing on the distinctive and ethnic differentialities of the cultural minorities, the program of integration stresses more on the commonalities, the similarities, the togetherness that will be galvanized in the integration process resulting in a much more solidified, stronger and progressive Philippine society.  To further the said development of the National Cultural Minorities, a broadly spread Scholarship Program, allotted equitably among the cultural minorities of the country, was provided under RA 1888.  Several thousand cultural minorities benefited from the program.  A considerable number of these former CNI Scholars are now found occupying top positions in government - the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary - as well as in the private and business sectors.  A further incentive available to cultural minorities was in the form of waiver of examination in the Civil Service (RA 2260, Civil Service Law) for employment.   The waiver ended on 10 June 1969.

RA 3985 and RA 3872

Reports of the field representatives of the Commission on National Integration, confirmed by the findings of the survey conducted in 1962 by the Senate Committee on National Minorities of Mindanao, Palawan, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, Isabela  and Mountain Province, disclosed cases of land grabbing where invariably the victims were the poor and illiterate members of the National Cultural Minorities.   In many of these cases thousands were being ejected from their ancestral dwellings and from their farm lots which they and their predecessors-in-interest have been occupying openly, peacefully, actually, continuously and exclusively in the concept of an owner since time immemorial.
RA 1888 authorized Trial Lawyers of the CNI to assist indigent members of the cultural communities accused in criminal cases including their landholdings.  As Chief of the CNI, Legal Division and the Field Services Division, I was deputized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) then headed by Solicitor General Arturo Alafriz to assist indigenous members of the cultural minorities in cases involving their landholdings.   Numerous cases of land grabbing of the landholding of the cultural minorities were brought to the attention of the CNI.   Among them were the case in Kalinga Province in the Cordilleras; the intrusion and destruction of Higoonon villages in Agusan Province by  big time lumber concessionaires; the destruction of the corn fields and villages of the Bilaans in Matanao, Davao, by a pasture land owner who was a top local official; the incursion into the Negrito settlements in Zambales and Bataan, and the harsh treatment by the U.S. Naval Base Authorities in Olongapo, Zambales, of the Negritos (Aetas) despite there having been availed and utilized by the American soldiers inside the Base, on the indigenous ways of surviving in the jungles. (Jungle survival course)

In the Senate, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Cultural Minorities was Senator Manuel Manahan.   Together with the Cultural Minority Representatives in the House, they immediately tackled a response to the reported problems of the National Cultural Minorities.   The CNI was called to help in crafting the appropriate legislation to help solve the land problems.  For almost two months, I was detailed at the office of Senator Manahan in the Senate.  Together with his staff led by Atty. Arceo, we were able to come up with the appropriate legislative proposal filed in Congress resulting in the passage of RA 3985 and RA 3872.

The problems of the cultural minorities affecting their landholding is due to the harshness and inequity of our present Public Land Act known as Commonwealth No. 141 and Commonwealth Act No. 452 known as the Pasture Land Act laws.  RA 782, passed on 21 June 1962, grants to the occupants of agricultural public lands the right to own the same if they have been there since July 4, 1945 or prior thereto. A great number of cultural minorities occupying lands of the public domain would fail to come under the provisions of the laws, because since 1945, up to the present, most of them have been driven from their ancestral abodes.  RA 452 rescued these cultural minorities from their position of disadvantage, not of their own doing, to one of a fair chance and equal opportunity as their Christian brothers in the acquisition of public lands, and their claim to possession or ownership covers both disposable and non-disposable portions of the public land domain, as long as they are found suitable for agricultural.  

Section 3 of Commonwealth Act No. 452, rendered possible the deprivation of these National Cultural Minorities of their ancestral homes and landholdings thru the grant of pasture permits or leases to big and influential persons both in and out of the government.  In the grant of the pasture lease or permit, the Pasture Land Act does not contain any provision for safeguarding the prior right by occupation or settlement of any person over the area subject of the pasture lease or permit.  To cure this flaw, RA 3985 was passed by Congress on June 1964 which provided that no Pasture Permit shall be granted in provinces that are inhabited by cultural minorities and that a joint inspection by both representative of the Bureau of Forestry and the CNI certify that there are no cultural minorities actually occupying any portion of the area applied for under pasture permit or lease.
The Kalinga problem was among the serious cases initially handled by the CNI, as it involved the barrio of Liwan (now a municipality) and the surrounding sitios there at occupied by the native Kalingas.   Their lands were claimed by the Susana Estate, owned by the Madrigals, by virtue of an alleged Spanish grant ceding said lands to them.   Understandably, the natives objected to the claim pointing that they owned the land since time immemorial, as evidenced by their agricultural improvements like ricelands, coffee plantation, banana and mango trees and cemeteries where there ancestors were buried.   Several court hearings took place in the Court of First Instance in Tuao, Cagayan Province. The native Kalingas, represented by the CNI disputed the claims of the Susana Estate.   The Court did not heed the native’s claim of ancestral ownership.   The natives could not produce any documentary proof of ownership over the land.   This matter eventually reached the then Land Tenure Administration where the local political leaders raised the issue up to Malacañang.

Agusan Province Incident
The case of the Higoonons – the natives of Agusan Province who were beleaguered by the powerful timber concessionaires that ran roughshod over their villages and destroyed their farm lands planted with various crops.   I went to Agusan Province and sought the assistance of then Provincial Governor Democratico Plaza, who later became my colleague in the 7th Congress.  Gov. Plaza assigned two of his men to accompany me with two constabulary escorts and proceeded to the forests in Bayugan area covered by timber concessions.   Reaching the place, we were confronted by an armed group with high powered firearms.    They warned us not to enter the place and menacingly pointed their guns at us.  The men of Governor Plaza and the two PC soldier’s escorts explained to the armed group that we were there to verify the report that armed men were harassing the natives, destroying their agricultural crops and even shooting two of the villagers.  The armed men were told, that their acts were illegal.  They were told to desist from further harassment the people else they will have to face the full force of the law.   The headman then of the Higoonons, was a certain Datu Mampatilan, whom I noticed was sort of meztizo looking, tall and handsome, and fully garbed in their native attire.  He narrated the way his people were treated by the timber concessionaires especially by their armed guards.   I advised him to approach and seek the help of Governor Plaza and that we in the CNI are always ready to extend legal assistance.

Davao Incident
I was in Davao City sometime in the later part of 1965, at the time conferring with our field people, when Kinoc, a young CNI scholar from the Bilaan Tribe studying in one of the colleges in Davao City, rushed to see me.   He reported that the armed men of a pasture land owner – a top government official, let loose their cattle from their corrals and the cows had a heyday - trampling, eating and destroying the corn crops of the Bilaan villagers in Matanao, Davao.   The villagers tried to drive away the cattles but the armed guards stopped them, claiming that the natives were illegally occupying the pasture area of the government official.   Among the armed groups were two Constabulary personnel who in the scuffle with the Bilaans got killed.  The matter was immediately reported to the Provincial Constabulary Command.  The PC Provincial Commander announced that he was organizing a punitive expedition to go after the Bilaans in Matanao, Davao to avenge the death of his men.   The PC Commander’s announcement appeared in the local papers.   I went to see the Provincial Commander Col. Ferdie Lagman and appealed to him to desist from launching the punitive expedition.   I told him, the CNI Office will help in finding out what really happened in that incident and will assist the PC to ascertain whoever was responsible in the death of the two PC men. But the Provincial Commander, a very stern looking person, refused and said in a very harsh tone, “I will show those people, the consequences of their killing my men!”   I reported the matter to my boss in Manila, CNI Commissioner Chairman Gabriel Dunuan and asked for instruction on what to do with the situation.   He told me, to appeal to the local authorities.   I answered him that, it may not be of any effect as a top local  government official was the alleged owner of the pasture land at issue.  So I asked, if he would permit me to contact the next higher PC Official that could stop the local PC Commander to go through with the punitive expedition.   My boss allowed me to contact Brig. General Mamarinta Lao, a Maranao and also a member of the cultural minority from Lanao del Sur.   He was then the Deputy Chief of Staff, SOUTHCOM, with station at Cagayan de Oro City.  

I requested Col. Ferdie Lagman, if I could use their communication facilities to contact General Mamarinta Lao. Surprisingly, he agreed and he even said, “Ok you may contact him and hopefully you succeed.”   I thanked Col. Ferdie Lagman, and when I called on the phone, surprises of all surprises, it was Brig. Gen. Mamarinta Lao himself at the other end.   I explained to him the situation.    He instructed me to hand the phone to Col. Lagman and he will talk to him.   When I handed the phone to Col. Lagman, all that he said responding perhaps to Gen. Lao’s instruction was – yes sir!, yes sir!   After that, he said Gen. Lao will be coming to Davao City.   Thereafter, I left the PC Headquarters, glad to have prevented what could have been a bloody incident in Matanao, Davao.    A few months later, Col. Ferdie Lagman was transferred to Luzon to be the Provincial Commander of Isabela Province, in the North.   Sometime thereafter, he perished with other passengers, in the Philippine Airlines plane crash in Nueva Ecija.

Olongapo Naval Base Incident
As Chief of the CNI Legal Division and Administrative Services Division, while on an inspection trip with our CNI representative in Zambales, Mr. Euniciano Rodriguez, we visited the Negrito settlement at Mt. Pinatubo, San Marcelino, Zambales.   After conference with the Negritos or (the Balugas as they are polpularly called ) by the local populace, we received an urgent call from the Negrito headman of the Negrito Kabalan settlement at Olongapo City.   Two (2) of their people were shot to death by the U.S. Marines guarding the Subic Naval Base, particularly that portion of the base alongside the boundary of the towns of Dinalupihan and Olongapo City, where the tall radar tower can be seen from afar as you approach Olongapo from Dinalupihan.   The Balugas were engaged by the Naval Authorities to train the Navy Personnel in the art of jungle survival in the thick forests that surrounded the naval reservation.   For their tutorial services, the Balugas were allowed to scavenge for any materials of utilitarian in the Naval dumping or garbage grounds inside the reservation.   However, they were restricted from entering those designated as restricted zones.   The spot where the two (2) Aetas were shot was allegedly within the so called restricted zone of the reservation. 

In the company of the local police and PC Officer, we proceeded to the spot of the killing incident.   The U.S. Marine Guards prevented us from entering the gate even when we explained, that we were there to retrieve the remains of the two (2) Negritos, who were reported to have been shot and killed in that area.   The guards prevented us from entering the gate as they said that it was a restricted area.   I argued that I would go inside anyway, as those killed were our countrymen.   They pointed their guns at us and said that they will not hesitate to shoot, if we insist in going inside.   At that juncture, the PC escort who was with me, had a mobile phone and said, ”Sir, hwag na tayong magpumilit pumasok at pinapatawag na tayo ni Sec. Salvador Mariño.  Nasa Office daw ni Admiral Baer, (the Naval Commander of the Subic Base) at pinapapunta daw tayo roon ngayon.”   With that message, I proceeded to the office of the Naval Base Commander.   Upon entering the room, Admiral Baer stood up and in a stern voice berated me for entering a security area of the Base.   I answered back, “I was just there to retrieve the body of our country men killed by your people.”   Sec. Mariño took me aside and told me, “Bata, hwag na kayong makipagtalo, umuwi nalang kayo at ako na ang bahala rito.”

Tongkil Island Incident (Sulu)   
As Chief of the CNI Legal Division my main task was to assist in the legal problems of the minorities.  One time, the CNI got an urgent call from the natives of Tongkil Island in Sulu.   They claimed that a certain German National named Schultz was easing them out of their landholdings.  Tongkil Island is mostly planted with coconut trees and copra was their main product.
I went to Zamboanga on a Saturday; I called our CNI Regional Director of the area, a certain Datu Ayu Mandi, a former Olympian swimmer, who participated in the London Olympics shortly after the war.  I told him, that we should go to Tongkil Island somewhere on the Northeast side of Jolo Province, along the Sulu Sea.  At first, Datu Ayu Mandi was reluctant to go there.  He said, “Sir, Tongkil Island is quite far and will take about 5 to 6 hours to reach there.  Besides, the water in that area is quite rough.” I told him, “Our instruction was to proceed there and verify the allegations of the Islanders.” So, very reluctantly he was able to find a motorized sailboat – the type that has an outrigger on both sides.  Together with the boatman, we boarded the sailboat at about 7:00 am from Zamboanga sailing southeast ward to our destination.  It was a Sunday and it was a hot day and the sun shone in full blast.  After about three (3) hours at sea, the motor of the pump boat conked out.    The boatman said, he could not start it anymore.  So our boat just floated listlessly on the sea and the waters were getting rough.  We just sailed along with the ebb and flow of the big waves.  I was frightened that the boat will just capsize with the huge waves pounding on it.  Also, I saw schools of shark’s popping in and out of the water beside our boat.   I thought that we will soon die with the boat capsizing because of the strong waves, then we would readily be eaten by the sharks.  I was trembling with fright imagining the sharks luring at us with their razor sharpen teeth enjoying their meals.   I prayed to all the saints and to God for our safety.  It was past noontime and exposed to the heat of the sun, I felt so exhausted and gripping with the pain of thirst and hunger.   I must have passed out for a while, when I sense that Datu  Ayu  Mandi  was besides me assuring that all was well
as we were drifting towards south west of the Sulu Sea.   It was already late afternoon and I shuddered at the thought, that we would be overtaken by darkness.   The waters were relatively calm by now, until Datu Ayu Mandi saw a boat in the distance.   He waved and waved at the boat and shouted to come close and assist us.  The boat was a bigger boat, a batel plying between Zamboanga and Jolo.   The batel towed our sailboat to the nearest island – Sta Cruz Island, just opposite Zamboanga City.   I breathed a deep sigh of relief and thanked God for this miracle.

Atty. Mamintal Tamano was appointed Chairman of the Commission on National Integration (CNI) in 1965 by President Ferdinand Marcos.   Chairman Tamano is a Maranao from Marawi City and was a government scholar when he graduated from the College of Law of the University of the Philippines.  He took up and finished his post graduate studies at the Cornell University in Rochester, New York, USA.

At Cornell University, he met another Filipino scholar, UP Professor Mario Zamora finishing his graduate studies in Anthropology.  On his return to the Philippines, Dr. Zamora was appointed Dean of the UP Department of Anthropology.  When Commissioner Tamano was already at the helm of the CNI, he embarked on a program of in depth research and study of the cultural minorities of the country.  In tandem with Dean Mario Zamora of the UP Department of Anthropology and with the active assistance of Dr. Artemio Rodriguez, also another UP Alumnus and the Cultural Officer of the Southeast Asean Treaty Organization (SEATO) with head office in Bangkok, Thailand, a Tribal Research Center was organized and established in the CNI.  The CNI Public Relations Office headed by Ms. Alice Reyes launched a nationwide information drive about the CNI and the existence of the Tribal Research Center.  Sometime thereafter, a stream of local and even foreign researchers availed of the services of the Center.

The workings of the CNI and the Tribal Research Center must have caught the attention of the Vietnamese Government, as there was a request, if they could send a delegation of one of their Hill Tribes – Montagnards, to observe and learn how the Philippine Government handles and administers the affairs of cultural minorities.  A month later, a delegation of Vietnamese Hill Tribes, the Montagnards, arrived in Manila.  A series of briefings by the CNI was held for the group.  A few days after, with the assistance of the Philippine Air Force, the Montagnards were ferried to Malaybalay, Bukidnon Province where personnel of the Summer Institute for Linguistic (SIL), were involved  in  studies  of  ethnic  groups  languages.   The  SIL  then  produced  a bible in the dialect or language of the natives.  From Bukidnon, the group visited various Regional and Field Offices of the CNI, where they observed the organizational operation and implementation of action programs for cultural minorities.

The visit of the Vietnamese Hill Tribes (Montagnards), triggered a project proposal from SEATO Head Office in Bangkok, Thailand.  It was proposed, that selected CNI Officials be sent to Thailand to observe and study the various Hill Tribes in that country.   Their findings and reports shall be submitted to SEATO and most likely, passed on to the Thai Government, perhaps to use as a model in putting up the appropriate Agency in administering the affairs of Thailand’s Hill Tribes.  Atty. Johnny Marombsar and myself, were chosen to go to Thailand.  Our work base was in North Thailand, in Chiangmai, where most of the Hill tribes were found, although there were also tribes in Southern Thailand towards Malaysia.  In coordination with Air America which was also based in Chiangmai, we were regularly ferried to the various mountain tribes settlements scattered all over the area near the boundaries of Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.  I worked for six months in Chiangmai, Thailand.   My findings and formal report on my research and field study was submitted to the Cultural Office of SEATO.  I returned to the Philippines and resumed my work in the CNI.

Other Activities in the CNI

I also attended to the other cultural minority groups like the “Romentados”, the indigenous mountain tribes of Rizal Province who are spread down even towards Quezon Province although the main concentration of those groups is in the Rizal Province area.  There was what was known then as a CNI Reservation, located in the town of Tanay.  The Reservation was being encroached by non-Romentados easing out the indigenous people who were already settled there.   As CNI Legal Division Head, I recommended, that an immediate survey be conducted to determine the metes and bounds of the reservation.  A survey party was contracted by the CNI to undertake the perimeter survey, The Field Services Division took over from there, and a program of development of the reservation was made.  Other corollary measures were taken to protect the indigenous people (Romentados) from being eased out of their occupancy of the reservation.
The island of Mindoro has also its share of indigenous tribes known as the Mangyans and Tagbanuas.  One of the bigger reservation/settlement for the natives is in Bataraza, Occidental Mindoro.  The CNI has a Field Representative stationed in the island of Mindanao, whose task was to attend to the problems of the indigenous people.  Every now and then, the CNI Central Office would receive reports that the settlement/reservations for Oriental and Occidental Mindoro indigenous people were slowly being encroached by aggressive parties.   Our CNI Field Office in Mindoro, was conveniently located near the native communities for easy access by them.

Supplementing and complementing the efforts of government in attending to the cultural minorities are civic spirited private individuals like Benjamin Abadiano, a man with an uncommon passion in devoting his life to the service of the Filipino indigenous people.  He lived with the Mangyans for nine years, and put up a school for them.   He also established the Pamulaan Center for

Indigenous People’s Education in Mindanao.  There are other countrymen of ours, who were earnestly, without much fanfare, committed and actively involved themselves in improving the lot of our indigenous peoples.   

Contemporary events and the Cultural Minorities – (in retrospect)
In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, the thrust of government’s efforts in attending to the concerns of the various ethno-linguistic tribes found in the three main islands of the archipelago, namely Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao – was that of INTEGRATION.  Even as the state recognized the distinctive culture, customs, traditions and practices of the different tribal groups, it focused more on the commonalities, the similarities, the identical phases of their customs and beliefs.   Notable among their aspirations, was their yearning for stable, peaceful and progressive communities, like those of their Christian countrymen.  To join the mainstream of Philippines society – would be a process of integration.   Hence, the passage by Congress of Republic Act No. 1888 created the Commission on National Integration which was mandated to effectuate in a more regional and complete manner the economic, social, moral and political advancement of the Non-Christian Filipino or National Cultural Minorities, and to render real, complete and permanent the integration of all said national cultural minorities into the body politic.

To implement this integration program of the government, the Commission on National Integration (CNI) launched a broad scholarship program which was equitably availed to all various cultural minorities.  There was a noticeable surge of cultural minority students enrolled in the various schools of learning in the country both in the public and private schools, from primary, elementary, secondary up to the tertiary levels.   Most of these scholars have graduated in their respective chosen fields of study, and are now occupying prominent positions in the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the government.   A great number are in the private sector engaged in business or have joined the corporate world.

As an additional incentive for cultural minorities applying for jobs in the government service, a waiver of examination requirements for employment in the Civil Service (RA 2260 – Civil Service Law)
was extended to them.  A considerable number of cultural minorities took advantage of the waiver until its expiration on 19 June 1969.

The CNI thru its field offices, assisted cultural minorities in their agricultural, and other livelihood endeavors, availing for them trained technicians, who taught them the latest technologies needed in their farm lands or other business ventures.  The various established government reservations for cultural minorities found all over the country were activated, and cultural minorities moved into these reservations.   Some of these reservations were found in Zambales and Bataan for the Negritos, in Tanay, Rizal province for the Romentados, in Mindoro for the Mangyans and Tagbanuas, in Cotabato for the Bilaans and in Davao for the Bilaans and the Bagobos etc.

All these government programs for our cultural minorities were in full swing and very productive as it contributed to the stability of the country.  All the feedbacks from it were positive.  There were no adverse reports as to tribal jealousies or rivalries.  They were expected to unite and obtain positive results from their active participation in the program.   What surfaced was a collective acceptance of the wisdom and value of the integration process.   Each tribal group with its own distinctive customs, traditions and cultures was respected by the rest.   No pronounced distinction was made of the traits or idiosyncrasies of any group.   On the other hand, what was emphasized was the similarities, the points where their practices coincided, the areas where they realized mutual values and beneficial advantages.    A kind of social connectivity which in the words of Social Scientist Robert Putnam calls, “Social capital greases the wheels that allow communities to advance smoothly.  Where people are trusting and trustworthy, and where they are subject to repeated interactions with fellow citizens, everyday business and social transactions are less costly.”   At that time, we dared to make some raw prognostications, that in two or three decade’s time, we could fully realize the effective formation of a wholly solidified Philippine body politic.

Unfortunately, the vagaries of time had untimely aborted whatever nebulous wish, we were harboring.  The new dispensation that replaced the Marcos regime, abolished the cultural minorities integration program.  It chose to revert to giving recognition to the distinctions, the differences, the practices that marked the different tribal groups of the country.   The essence of national integration was simply made to evaporate with the change of political wind.   The sincere and enormous efforts to galvanize our people into one strong nation, were simply cast aside.  Instead, we are now spectators of the indecent and deceitful attempts to dismember our country by pandering to the demands for a separate state.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Who is Romulo Lumauig -- Going to Congress (part2)

The series of massive street demonstrations of the students, joined in by farmer groups, business and other sectors of the citizenry, have made me doubly conscious of what was happening in Philippine Society.  The thrust of all these rallies/demonstrations, obviously was the demand for meaningful reforms in our body politic.   I recalled the prayer of Father Pacifico Ortiz, (SJ) – his invocation prayer at the opening of the Session of the 7th Congress, where President Marcos was present, to deliver the traditional State of the Nation Address (SONA).   Father Ortiz’s invocation prayer warned of the conditions of the country at the time, which he called a “Social Volcano” that may erupt anytime, if the ills of the country were not attended to.  The series of street demonstrations occurring in various places of the country, was manifestation of the discontent and grievances of almost all sectors of the citizenry.  Obviously, these lamentations that echoed all over of the land, was effectively articulated by the student sector, who were directly or subconsciously briefed in their classrooms studies.  The media described the series of street marches from January to March 1970 by students, farmers, and reportedly joined in by the leftist organization, when they stormed the gates of Malacañan, as well as their demonstrations in front of Congress – as the first quarter storm (IQS).
The events that were unfolding almost everyday, not only in Manila but even in the provinces and the country-side, stirred further my innate feelings which had been lingering for some time., to look into the roots of national discord.  Commencing perhaps in my childhood days when I was reading the newspapers reports that, our countrymen with imperialistic appetites were the source of the pressures which today threatens the unity of the Filipino people.   As I grew into adulthood, I myself had witnessed the division of the Filipino nation, driven by passionate discontent and legitimate dissent.  Consequently, discerning all these events that were happening in the country at the time, I decided as the theme of my maiden speech in Congress, “The New Colonialists”.  I delivered my maiden speech on 7 March 1970, following the bloody street demonstration of 30 and 31 of January, where several of the young demonstrators were mortally wounded.  I said in my speech, that “I agree in principle with those who identified colonialism as the source of our discontent.  But I believe that accusing foreign-inspired colonialism is like beating a dead horse.  We have been an independent nation for 25 years now, and if we still allow ourselves to be dominated by outsiders, then we have nothing to blame but our shameless stupidity or our woeful timidity.

I continued and I said – “I see therefore, not the vintages of the past, but its reincarnation.  Yesterday, colonial exploitation wore a white face and was imported.  Today, it wears a brown face, and is home-grown.  When I speak of the untrustworthiness of the Filipinos with power, do I include the Legislators in the roll of the new colonialist?  I do not intend to take refuge in the alibi of being a freshman in Congress.  I am now a member of Congress, and even as I stand here, I am aware of the fact that voices raised in protest against the institution must necessarily involve me.  If we are to believe in the legitimacy of the nationwide outcry for congressional reforms, among others, and if we are to believe in the logic of there being no reason for reform unless guilt were present, then let us be honest in  admitting that,  collectively or individually, we are not,  to say the least, completely innocent . . . .”

Quoted from the “Newsette” dated March-April 1970, Official Organ of the PACD, describing the maiden speech – had this to say “. . . so substantial and meaningful was his speech that it reprinted in the Philippine Free Press, a magazine that rarely if over prints privilege speeches from a notorious Congress or elsewhere.

Indeed, Rep. Lumauig has reasons for attacking the new colonialists in our midst, many of whom have been referred to as Stonehills.  He was right in assailing certain Filipinos who “deliberately combine political power and economic wealth to assume an ever expaning and ever ascending position of dominance over the rest of the affairs of our countrymen.”

The clean-cut and handsome solon points out -  “All of us are guilty either of commission – the commission of injustice and the omission of not having responded appropriately.  The privilege who sought the dominance of their will, the underprivileged who opted for convenience and temporary palliative rather than hold on to their dignity and sacrifice for more enduring benefits – all are equally guilty . . . “

Incident in the meeting of the National Economic Council (now NEDA)

As acting Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Economic Affairs, I was an ex-officio member of the National Economic Council (NEC) and my counterpart from the Senate, was Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, the Executive Director of the NEC, was a former Dean of the UP College of Business Administration.
A week before the NEC meeting, I sought an audience, with the Commissioner of Public Highways, Baltazar Aquino.    I requested for funding support in the amount of P270, 000.00 to finish the approaches of the newly built steel bridge over the Ibulao River, the first of its kind in Ifugao.   The old rickety wooden hanging bridge connected the main national highway from Nueva Vizcaya to Ifugao, particularly to the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, which we were assiduously promoting as a tourist destination area. 
Highway’s Commissioner Baltazar Aquino told me, that the Office did not have anymore funds for that purpose.   He even called the Budget / Accounting people of his office to bring their records, and to see if there was any possible amount to accommodate my request.   The Budget people came in, and showed me a long list of accounting and financial statements pointing to a zero balance in their budget accounts.   I left the Highways Office very much disappointed and wondering how I can get money to finish a bridge – a life line conduit, which could bring progress to the province.
The following morning was a regular meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) and former precursor of NEDA.    As Chairman of the Committee on the Economic Affairs of the House of Representatives, I was an ex-officio member of the National Economic Council.   For the Senate, it was the late Senator Emmanuel Pelaez.   Former Dean of the UP College of Business Administration.   Gerry Sicat Chaired the National Economic Council.   

The Council went over the agenda items for the meeting and acted accordingly.   But when it considered the item of the San Juanico Bridge Project, I noticed it carried a budget of several million pesos.    When I saw this, I pointed this out to Senator Pelaez, who was seated beside me.   I told him, “Mr. Senator, noon kalian lang, a few days ago, I went to see Highways Commissioner Baltazar Aquino, and requested for a little amount about over two hundred thousand pesos (P200, 000.00) to finish my bridge and he said there was no more money in the Public Highways Office for that purpose.”   Commissioner Baltazar Aquino was present in that meeting, and he was sponsoring the action on that particular item of the Agenda.   Senator Pelaez commented, “Pangit naman yan, maliit lang pala ang hinihingi mo bakit hindi ka binigyan?   Pa suspend mo na lang muna, ang consideration ng item na ito” – (referring to the San Juanico Bridge) which I did.   Chairman Sicat, who was presiding over the meeting suspended the proceedings together with Commissioner Aquino. They approached me to withdraw my motion to suspend, as the project was that of the First Lady.   I told Commissioner Aquino,  “When I went to you, you said you have no money at all – here you give several million pesos”.    I did not withdraw my motion to suspend and the meeting adjourned.
That afternoon, at about 5:00 pm, I was already in the Session Hall of the Congress.   The session was going on, when the Session Hall Aide approached me, saying, “Your brother Governor, Gualberto Lumauig is on the phone and he says it is important that you talk with him.”   The telephone was at one corner of the floor, and when I picked it up, my brother blurted out, - “The President (FM) called and told me what you did in your meeting at the National Economic Council this morning”.   I explained to my brother what happened, and he must have related the same to FM.    Anyway, in the latter part of the session proceedings, the Legislative Aide approached me and said, “Speaker Villareal would like to talk to you”.    I approached the Speaker at the restroom and he said, “Mulong”   , (that is how he called me) punta ka raw sa Malakanyang ngayon”.    I immediately understood and I said, “Yes, Mr. Speaker” and I hurriedly left for Malacañan.
At Malacañan, I was ushered by Sec. Clave to the President’s Office, who was still attending to
two (2) visitors.   When the visitors left, the President saw me and beckoned me to get near, and he said, “Ah Congressman Lumauig”, (with a smile) and in Ilocano said in a soft conversational tone – “Apay met nga pinasuspend mo tay project ni First Lady, ket iyap apura tayu tay pannakalipas na”.    For a moment I was speechless, for I was taken aback.    For all the while, I expected a tense scolding from the President.   But instead, he was there smiling.    I was sort of overwhelmed.    Then again, he added, “What’s your problem anyway?”.    Slowly, I related that incident with Highways Commissioner Aquino.  Still smiling, he asked Sec. Clave to call Budget Commissioner Sychangco.    Sec. Clave called Commissioner Sychangco but the latter was out of his office.   So the President quickly scribbled a note on his Memo-Pad, and told Sec. Clave that it be brought to Com. Sychangco.    The note directed Com. Sychangco to release the amount of Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos, (P350, 000.00) for the completion of the Ibulao steel bridge in Ifugao.    Then FM added, “You can have that note and see Com. Sychangco tomorrow”.    I took the note and thanked the President for it.   As I was about to leave, again in a fatherly tone, he asked me, “What really made you oppose / suspend the particular item in your NEC meeting?”    For a moment, I hesitated to answer – but then I also thought, I could not hide the truth of what really happened.    So lamely, I disclosed that it was really Senator Pelaez who told me to move to suspend consideration of the San Juanico Bridge item in the Agenda.    Then he sort of flared up and said, “What? Why did he do that when I just recently approved his request for the electrification program of his hometown Medina, in Misamis Occidental?”   As quickly as he raised his voice, he toned down and he gave me a parting advice, to attend to my legislative duties.

2nd Incident where FM called attention re my Congressional work

Aside from my Chairing the Economic Affairs Committee of the House, I was also made Chairman of the Sub-Committee of the House Appropriation Committee on the Armed Forces.   During one of the deliberations of the Committee on the proposed appropriations of the Armed Forces, the Armed Forces Panel, that appeared before us, earnestly argued, that the AFP budget proposal should be favorably acted upon.    Many of the members of the Committee were former AFP Officers like General Lucas Cauton, Col. Carmelo Barbero and others.    Anyway, when the budget meeting was about to end, I noticed an item in the AFP’s Budget Proposal, an outlay for advance schooling for the AFP Officers in the US, like Fort Leavenworth, Fort Bragg etc.   As the amount was quite substantial, I commented that instead of spending that amount for theoretical studies abroad – why don’t we send instead said officers to Vietnam and study thoroughly how the Vietnamese Army effectively devised a transport system of their personnel and resources, nt by any mechanized devise but by the use of man power and animals like carabaos and mules, how they have mastered the construction of caves, tunnels and underground passages in the war zone, that shielded them from detection by the powerful US Army Forces.    Because of my comment, which incidentally was supported by Congressman Carmelo Barbero and General Lucas Cauton, the consideration of the AFP Budget proposal was suspended.

This incident was quickly relayed to Malacañan, for in the afternoon of the following day, my brother Governor Gualberto, again called me up saying the President (FM) sent word to him re the AFP subject incident.    I told my brother to tell FM, that I will withdraw my comments on the AFP Budget, which I did.   Most likely, he must have relayed this to the President, as I was not called anymore by the President.

Another Incident

Congressional works is not that serious all the time, especially during Committee Hearings.   Some members, who were not able to participate in the plenary deliberation, would rather opt to be more active in the Committee Hearings.   If said hearings are covered by TV and the Media, invariably one can expect much more active participation by the members in the proceedings.   One such event was during the presentation of the AFP Budget Proposal which was held at the AFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.   Almost all the members of the Appropriation Committee Chaired by Congressman Nicanor Ynigez, were in attendance.   The hearing was covered by TV and Radio as well as the Newspapers.   Briefing the Committee was no less than the Chief of Staff of the AFP, Gen. Romeo Espino.   He was pointing out the progress of the AFP shown in the numerous charts before us.   But what easily caught the attention of the Committee members was the program of the AFP on the manufacture of rockets.   He disclosed that, there was an on going AFP program based in Corregidor.   This was the manufacture of rockets, which would add to the weaponry of the AFP.   The nomenclature given to the rocket was “Bong-bong” rocket.   The rockets were of two (2) categories, the small one which had a radius or range of about one and a half mile or more, while the big one, would have a larger range of about two (2) to three (3) miles or thereabouts.   But Gen. Espino quickly added that, a huge amount should be needed to perfect and improve on their rocket project.   In fact, he said, they have already spent a considerable amount on these rockets program which is still in the initial phase.   Hence, they have to spend much bigger amount for the bigger rocket phase.

At this juncture, a colleague in the Committee, who is known for his sartorial elegance and his forthrightness and often times colorful language, which he punctuates with comic relief, stood up and in sight of the TV, on a loud demanding voice said, “Mr. General, how much did you get from your big time racket?”   The Committee and the audience let a loud guffaw and the hearing was adjourned.

UN Conference  on the Environment (Sweden)

One morning in my Office at Congress, I received a phone call and the caller refused to identify himself.  All that he said was this, “If you are really interested in Congress to stop the shenanigans in the Bureau of Customs, check now with the Bureau of Customs and find out that shipload of imported luxury items consigned to a big department store in Cebu.  That cargo should merit hundreds of thousand in customs duties if levied upon.”  I told the caller, that it might just be a crank call that he is doing and he retorted – “Bahala na kayo!  Panay kayo daldal sa Kongreso, eto nga at sinasabi na sa iyo, tinatanong nyu pa kung totoo o hindi”, then he put down the phone.  A news reporter Eddie Monteclaro was at my office and he heard all about the phone call.  Then Eddie said – “Baka totoo nga naman Congressman.”

I picked up the phone and called Commissioner Geotina of the Bureau of Customs, and inquired what was that ship unloading its cargo of luxury items in Cebu.   I asked if it was being taxed the real customs duties.  Fortunately, Commissioner Geotina, who+ is a soft spoken person readily answered “Yes, I have a report from our customs people about that ship.  I told Commissioner Geotina to double check on the details about that ship, as it might again explode in the media.  That very afternoon, a story appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper about that ship, and it mentioned that I was going to initiate a Congressional investigation on the matter.
That afternoon, the media were pressing me to disclose if I really do intend to have Congress investigate the Cebu Shipment.  The following morning, the newspapers again carried the news that came out in the afternoon papers.  At about 10:00 am that day, I was notified that Speaker  Villareal’s Office called and requested that I drop at his office.  As I entered the Speaker’s Office, there were several  people  and  two  Southern  Colleagues  in  the  House who were in a huddle with the Speaker. 

After some moments, the people left including the Congressmen.  It was just me and the Speaker.  “Mulong, that was how the Speaker addressed me – yung gusto mong inbestigahan tungkol sa Cebu – ay huwag na muna kaya”.  “Bakit ho Mr. Speaker?”  Itinanong ko.  Then again, sabi ni Speaker, “Alam mo Mulong, dito tayo sa Kongreso ay parang isang pamilya.  Kami na mas nakakatanda sa inyo na mga bata, ay lagi gusto naming na mahasa kayo ng husto sa mga gawain natin bilang mga kinatawan.  So, because you are actually Chairing the Committee on Economic Affairs and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Tourism, I have chosen you to represent the House in the 1st United Nation Conference to be held outside New York.  It will be held in Stockholm, Sweden and it is called UN Conference on Environment.  Senator Helena Benitez of the Senate will be your co-delegate to the Conference.  Immediately, I perceived the meaning why I was called by the Speaker.  It was what appeared in the papers about the purported Congressional investigation, which I reportedly wanted to take place.  Anyway, when I was about to Speak, Speaker Villareal with his winsome smile and fatherly pat on the shoulder, said “Mulong, this will be your exposure to International Conferences.”  As it was a Tuesday, he said – “The Conference will commence this coming Monday next week.  Go prepare your travel papers and other needs.  You are entitled to bring one Staff to act as your Secretary.  Then I interrupted, “Mr. Speaker, could I have my wife Linda, as my Secretary”.  Anyway, she is a civil service eligible and a graduate of Philosophy and Letters.  Then the Speaker laughed, stood up and patted me on my back, “of course Mulong, that is what I meant, that you are entitled to a Secretarial Staff.”  We flew to Sweden that Friday.

Congress – September 22, 1972 Friday evening when Martial Law was announced.

Before lunch time, speaker Villareal sent word, that I have to join their group, that was going to see President Marcos at the Palace that afternoon.   Speaker Villareal, together with Congressmen Barbero and Joaquin Titong R. Roces were to leave for Russia, on an official mission, the following week.   A week before, I arrived from an official trip from Russia and other Eastern European Socialist countries, as Chairman of the House Committee on Economics Affairs.   My mission was to see the prospects of having trade with the socialist countries.    When we arrived at the gates of Malacañan, I was surprised to see, that all the guards were in combat uniform and fully armed.   They even had to inspect the trunk of Speaker Villareal’s car, where I rode with the Speaker.
When we went up the stairs of Malacañan, there were armed guards by every door, in combat gear.   As we were ushered into the study room, we were met by Secretary Jake Clave who told us, that the President was still in the other room, as he was being interviewed (telephone) by US overseas media.   After a while, Mrs. Imelda Marcos came out and greeted us.   She said that FM was still busy answering queries of media from abroad (overseas interview).    Sometime thereafter, FM came out smiling saying “sobra naman yung mga Media abroad, paulit-ulit nilang itinatanong kung mag Martial law daw tayo.”    Congessman Mike Barbero, a former Colonel in the AFP, who was beside me, was listening intently and he whispered in Ilocano “Romy – agpaysun san”.   FM who must have noticed Congressman Barbero whispering to me, blurted out – addressing Speaker Villareal “Oh Compadre, Mr. Speaker how are you in the House?   Have you finished with our economic measures, as I intend to call Congress for another Special Session tomorrow?”    Speaker Villareal responded, “Mr. President, tapos na kami, yun sa Senado lang ay magtatapos na rin sa pagkat, mamaya   mag meeting yung Conference Committee of both Houses sa Hilton.    Sinama  ko si  Congressman Lumauig dahil siya ang House Representative  sa  Conference Panel doon sa Economic Bill na  naiiwan.”    FM said, “Mabuti naman.”   

Gayun pa man, inutusan niya si Sec. Clave na  tawagan  si  Senate President Gil Puyat, para makausap
niya.    Noong binigay ni Jake ang telepono kay FM, agad tinanong ni FM kay Senate President Puyat, kung tapos na ang pending measures sa Senado at idinagdag niya na “Nandito sila Speaker Villareal at sabi niya na tapos na raw sila sa House – dahil pag hindi pa, balak kong tawagan uli ang Kongreso for another Special Session bukas.”    Malamang nasabi ni Senate President Puyat na tapos na sila – kaya sabi ni FM, “mabuti naman”, at  ibinaba ang telepono.   Tinanong ni FM si Speaker Villareal kung pagkatapos ang mission nila sa Russia, ay dadaan pa sila sa America.   Sabi ni Speaker Villareal na malamang dadaan siya sa Washington.   Sabi ni FM, “pakisabi mo sa mga kaibigan natin doon, na huwag silang mabahala sa epekto ng pagtatapos ng Laurel-Langley Agreement, sa pagkat maayos na natin yun.  
After the talks, FM stood up and the rest of the group stood up.   It was a clue for us to leave.   When we were proceeding to the stairs, FM pulled me aside, and asked, “How were things going on in Ifugao?”   I answered, “Mr. President, not much, only that what I informed you the other day, about a group of armed men were spotted to have passed the town that night and were sighted, to be proceeding to the nearby mountains.”    Then FM said, “Don’t you worry, perhaps those were our men….”    I was puzzled with that statement.
As we were descending the stairs of the palace, Congressman Barbero sidled up to me, and inquired what FM told me.   Congressman Barbero added, “Did he tell you, that he was about to declare Martial Law?”   I answered, “FM did not tell me anything about Martial Law.”
From the palace, we went back to Congress, and it was about 6:00 pm when we reached there.   I disembarked from the car of Speaker Villareal and told him, that I was proceeding straight to the Bi-cameral Conference Committee meeting at the Hotel Hilton.    When I reached the hotel, I noticed that there  were  many  MetroCom  personnel  around  the hotel and were all in battle gear.   The hotel was literally   surrounded  by elements  of  MetroCom  and other army contingents.   As I entered the lobby
which was already full of soldiers, I proceeded to the elevator as the Bi-cameral Conference Committee was to meet at the upper floor.   A few of our staff members of the Bi-cameral Conference Committee met me, to tell that the meeting will not go through as Senator Benigno Aquino, my Senate counterpart in the Bi-cameral panel was being fetched by the military.  Seeing all the military people around, I easily understood and hurried back to the House, where with other Congressman with glummed face, waited for the inevitable.

A night of dialogue in Baguio City
I was invited as a Guest Speaker, in a Forum at Baguio City on 05 March 1971, sponsored by the Commission on National Integration, the University of the Philippines at Baguio and the Mindanao State University.  The theme of the forum was about the problems confronting the cultural minorities.  The venue for the Forum was at the Pines Hotel.

As the Forum was going on, shortly before the noon break, there were noises heard coming from outside of the Hotel.   There were mostly students rallyists, who wanted to get inside the Hotel, to watch and perhaps to participate in the forum.   They have just finished with their picket at the Saint Louis University, and were proceeding to the UP Baguio Campus.  They have to pass by the Pines Hotel before  reaching  the  UP Campus.   The police stopped them at the driveway leading to the Hotel.  The students tried to push their way through, but the police stood their grounds.  There was a lot of pushing and jostling and shouting by the rallyists.  So I got out of the Hotel and approached the police cordon, which stopped the students.  I talked with the team leader of the police and asked if it would be possible to let the students proceed to the Hotel, if they desist from being noisy so as not to disturb the ongoing forum inside the Hotel.
The police team leader said, “That would be dangerous, as they might be again unruly.”  Meanwhile, the rallyists ceased shouting as they watched me talk to the police.  I then approached the rallyists, and they were saying, “Congressman Lumauig, apay dida kami pastriken?  Why do they not allow us to get to the Pines Hotel?”  I talked to them for a while, and they calmed down.   I told them, that the forum was about to wind-up.  After that they, could proceed to the Hotel, and I would be pleased to sit down with them, to know more about their concerns.  They were receptive to my suggestion, but they opted to just proceed meanwhile to the UP Campus.   They said though, that they will try to see me later in the day.  In the afternoon at about 5:00 pm, a young UP lady student showed up at the Hotel and introduced herself as Didi, and requested that she withhold her surname.   We had a long talk. 

It was indeed an interesting exchange of views that I had with her.  I was impressed with her youthful exuberance when she pontificated on the reformed society, that their group forecasted to happen in the country once their struggle for reform is attained.  I was patiently listening to her, and she would ask me if I do understand and sympathize with all that she was telling me.  I replied that, I understand all that she was saying, it was their privilege to think that way they did.   But I did not agree though, I replied, to all that she was describing about the ills of Philippine Society.   There are also a lot of our countrymen who seek reforms.  I referred to the new crop of elected young Congressmen, who are as idealistic as they are, and are also agitating for reforms.  But she did not agree with me.   As it was already getting late, she stood up and begged to leave, as their group was to hold a meeting with the Miners community below the Mines View Park.  She invited me to join them.  I declined, as I told her I was to leave early the next morning back to Manila.  I did walk her though to the driveway of Pines Hotel, and the street leading to the Convention Hall.  We parted fr om there and she said, she would just write me a note before I’ll leave the Hotel tomorrow morning for Manila. 

Early, the following morning as I was about to leave the Pines Hotel, I was handed an envelope with a letter.  I opened the letter.  It was from Didi.  At this juncture, perhaps it would be best that I
reproduce her letter in full.  See next post "letter of Didi".

Who is Romulo Lumauig -- End of WW II

During the closing months of November and December 1945, there were noticeable Japanese mass troop movements coming from Isabela and Cagayan Province that passed through at Bagabag.   At first, they seem to be headed south towards Manila.   But by January and February onwards in 1945, it was the reverse.   Japanese troop units were now heading north towards Isabela and Cagayan Province and also towards Kiangan, Ifugao.  Meanwhile, during the day, the skies began drowning with the roar of American planes that were strafing the Japanese troops.   Due to the increasing presence and arrival of Japanese troops, and the almost strafing and bombing by the American planes in our town, the civilian populace opted to stay away from the centro/town and moved to two (2) evacuation centers – one located east of the town towards the “Magat River”, the place was called Baños, and the other site was in Tul-lag southwest of the town towards the foot of Mount Singian, about five kilometers west of the national highway.

Words passed around that the Japanese were now actually retreating as the American forces were already advancing towards Nueva Vizcaya.   The news was that there was a fierce battle going on in the mountains of Sta. Fe, what is now known as the “Dalton Pass”.   Reportedly, the American General leading the American forces was shot by a Japanese sniper.  Hence, the place was called “Dalton Pass”.    The Americans were expected to be in Nueva Vizcaya anytime.   The Japanese troops must have been following an organized pattern of tactical positioning of their units for while the main body of their contingents were moving northward to Isabela or the Mountain Province, a unit was observed to have stayed at the junction of the highway northeastward leading to the Cagayan Valley towards the province of Isabela and Cagayan and northward to Mt. Province.   They established their anti-aircraft batteries atop the hill of Brgy. Baretbet, along the north highway leading to Isabela, which was also astride the nearby Magat River.   Several days later, when a pair of twin body American planes known as P-38’s flew over the place to do their almost daily routine of strafing and harassing the Japanese troops heading northward, the anti-aircraft batteries stationed in the hills of Baretbet, started to fire at them.   It was a thrilling sight.  Despite the continuous anti-aircraft firing at the American planes, the latter skillfully eluded the shots by their maneuvering and instead, dived and dropped their bombs at the anti-aircraft batteries on the ground.   We did not have a way of knowing whether the American planes were able to knock-out the anti-aircraft batteries.   But the battle between the American planes and the Japanese anti-aircraft units at Baretbet, continued almost daily for about a week and after that, the American planes flew undisturbed by any anti-craft firing.   The Japanese failure to shot down any of the American planes may have been because they have already run out of anti-aircraft shells or that the American planes must have effectively destroyed the defiant Japanese anti-aircraft units.     

With the almost daily bombing and strafing by US planes, the civilians at the two evacuation places, would just get into their make-shift air-raid shelters.   Fortunately, the American forces must have been informed of these evacuation places, for the strafing and bombings were concentrated in the town and along the highway and adjacent places, where they spotted the presence of Japanese troops.   Actually, the Japanese would move only during the night.   At day time, they would dodge in camouflaged areas away from the highway.   As soon as darkness sets in and there were no more American planes hovering above, they would resume their march northward.   One incident though, that I could never forget was the apparently singled-out carpet bombing of the town of Bagabag.   Before the town was anecdotally referred to as the “dark town”, or “malammuc” in Gaddang, or “nasipnget” in Ilocano, as the town was almost covered with thick tall lush coconut trees bearing abundant fruits.  

A few days, before the arrival of the American liberation forces in Bagabag, one early morning, we heard the approaching deafening roar up high in the skies, unseen by the thick hovering clouds.  Then suddenly, bombs were pouring down in torrents from the skies that swept clean the entire town.   As the bombs hit their targets, the ground seemed to quiver with such intensity.   The bombing directly hit the century-old Catholic Church and reduced it almost to ashes as well as the market place, the most visible structures in town.   The town was almost wiped out of its houses, except for one or two that included our ancestral house near the market, which were still standing, but fully scarred with bomb fragments and its roofs and walls tattered with gaping holes from massive 50 caliber machine gun fires.   When the American forces arrived few days later, and started clearing the town of debris, it took two (2) bulldozers to get in to the almost 50 meters deep and several meters wide circumference of the bomb-caused craters.   Alongside our ancestral house in San Geronimo Street fronting the market place was a similar bomb-caused crater like what hit the church.   The devastation caused by the bombing was so massive.   Those that returned to their homes have to put up make shift shelters for their families even as they tried to salvage whatever was left of their ruined houses.   Hunger was everywhere.  The populace would wait with their empty cans or empty plates as the Americans lined-up for their daily mess rations.    If the G. I. had any left in his mess kit, he would just push it over to the waiting person with empty plate and can.   That was the situation in town for the first few days of the American Forces arrival.

Our ancestral house which was one of the two remaining standing houses in town with a bullet tattered roof, was where we resettled coming from our evacuation place in Tul-lag.   Our house fronted the town market which the American Forces readily cleared and fixed to put up their Division Quartermaster Base.   Alongside our house, was also cleared of the debris and the 32nd Infantry Division or better known as the Red Arrow Division of the US Eight Army chose it to be their Headquarters or Command Post.   The officers of the 32nd Infantry Division approached my late father and inquired as to the condition of the civil government of the town.   My father told them, that the
elected Mayor of the town was executed by the Japanese shortly before the arrival of the Americans.  Noticing the apparent confusion in the town, due to the absence of civil government, they requested that my father meanwhile act as town Mayor and that he was free to choose the people to work with and set up the civil government structure.   My father agreed, but he asked the Americans, to do something for the people who were suffering from hunger.   The Americans Civil Affairs Office (CAO) initially provided sufficient sacks of rice and canned goods to be distributed to the needy.   Meanwhile, my father designated a cousin of mine, Domingo Callueng who was a member of the Philippine Scout, a unit of the US Army, to be the acting Chief of Police, to speed up the restoration of order in the town.  

The Civil Affairs Office of the American force advised my father, that they were ready to provide gainful employment to people, for maintenance and general assistance services in the various American camps.   My father immediately called the able bodied men of the town, who were not busy building their make-shift shelter for their families or not yet resumed their farm work.   Two teams were immediately organized.   I and my younger brother Gualberto, who was only 12 years old at the time, while I was already 14 years old joined the working teams.   Mr. Domingo Bollan, an elderly man and formerly a town crier and Mr. Agapito Castillo, a retired teacher, were designated as ‘capataz’ to head the work groups.   I sort of became the interpreter for the groups, as the American Civil Affairs Officer, who took charge of the Civilian working groups, relayed all the work instructions through me, as I could easily understand his manner of speaking in English, which, I in turn conveyed to the two ‘capataz’.   We were fetched in the early morning of each day by US Army trucks and brought back home after 5:00 pm.   We were posted in the various American camps at the town of Lamut, then to the barrios of Banting, Halog and in Bolog along the highway leading to Kiangan.  

Essentially, we were assigned to help clean the premises of the Army camps, dig drainage and canals and gather their trash cans and empty them of garbage, cleaned and put them back to their places.   Often times, we were asked to guide them in the sporadic patrols, that they conducted in the

immediate areas of their camps, perhaps to check if there were still, Japanese strugglers that would attempt to hit their camps.   I remember, one day at about noon time at Bolog, a stream of Japanese mortar fires rained on the camp.   The mortar barrage came from the forested mountain side of the camp.   The Americans scampered to fall flat in the ground, while our innocent workers continued their works despite the holler of the Americans to fall flat or seek cover.  After a few minutes, the mortar barrage stopped.  There were no casualties except for one or two Americans who were hit by mortar shell shrapnel’s.  This employment with the US Army lasted for about six months until the first week of September when the Japanese surrendered.

Another incident which etched a lasting memory in my mind was that time when our working group was brought to Halog, a spot along the highway leading to Kiangan.   A US Army unit camped in that area.   But just across the highway, was another camp of Filipino Soldiers belonging to the Buenavista Regiment, composed mainly from elements of the Bulacan Guerilla Command of then Governor Santos of Bulacan.   They were attached to the 32nd Infantry Division of the US Eight Army.  I learned later, elements of the Buenavista Regiment acted as scouts of the American forces, that were then slowly inching their way towards Kiangan, where the main Japanese Forces, headed by Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita was reported to have put up their final stand.

One midday, the Americans as well as the Filipino soldiers lined-up at the kitchen tent for the noontime meal.  Our civilian co-workers were just standing by waiting their turn to join the line.  I was conversing then with our American Civil Affair Officer, when a tall and husky Filipino soldier from the Buenavista Regiment Unit approached us, and in his booming voice looked at me and said, “I notice you speak good English”, then he asked, are you an Ifugao?”   I answered in English, “Yes sir, I am an Ifugao from Kiangan, Ifugao but my parents are from Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya.”   Then he smiled, and turned to the American Officer and said, “The operations here is rather convenient with the local populace speaking English.”    About  more  than  two decades later, I met that tall and husky Filipino

Officer of the Buenavista Regiment that talked to me in Halog, Kiangan, Ifugao.   He turned out to be a high official of the land – Minister Blas Ople of the Ministry of Labor and Employment of the Republic.

With the surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Commander of the Japanese Forces in the Philippines surrendered on September 3, 1945 in Kiangan, Ifugao to the American Forces.   With a tight American Forces escort, he was brought down to Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya at the Headquarters of the 32nd Infantry Division which was adjacent to our residential lot.   Filipino soldiers were not allowed to be in town.   The highway from Kiangan to Bagabag was lined-up with American soldiers.   As a small boy then, I saw actually the convoy of vehicles that brought Gen. Yamashita.   As the vehicles stopped in front of the 32nd Infantry Division Headquarters, I saw Gen. Yamashita and his staff disembark.   They were in full uniform with their sabers.   They were ushered toward the open tent headquarters of the top officials of the 32nd Infantry Davidson, and on cue took, their seats facing their American counterparts.  They must have been offered something to drink as I saw them and the American officers raising their glasses to drink.   After sometime, everyone stood up and proceeded to board the waiting vehicles to proceed to the Bagabag Airport where Yamashita was flown to Baguio.

Meantime, as my father started organizing the civil government of the town, he was able to locate the duly elected vice-mayor of the town, who was then the Vice-Mayor of the late Mayor Inaldo.  The Vice-Mayor was Caesario Dumlao, from the barrio of Tuao.   It was in Tuao, where they evacuated and hid during the retreat of the Japanese forces.   My father then turned over the office to the Civil Government to Caesario Dumalo.  Our House continued to be the temporary Municipal building as the Civil Government was slowly restored.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Who is Romulo Lumauig -- Going to Congress

After my stint with the CNI, I was drafted as the official candidate of the Nacionalista Party for the Lone Congressional District of Ifugao.   The Ifugaos knew of my having earlier worked in Congress with Nueva Vizcaya Congressman Leonardo Perez, and my being the incumbent Legal Division Chief of the Commission on National Integration.   They contended, that with my broad experience and knowledge of the problems of the National Cultural Minorities, I could easily get the support of the Ifugao electorate.   The Ifugao people, realized that together with my brother Gualberto, as the 1st elected and incumbent Governor of the new province of Ifugao, and I would be the 1st elected Congressman of the province, we could work as an effective tandem to attend the critical development needs of the newly organized province.   I won in the Congressional elections of 1969, handily.

But an earlier incident that really ushered me into Ifugao politics, was when the then, Banaue Municipal Mayor Alipio Mondiguing, whom I assisted to get national support for their joint project with my Governor brother Gualberto, to develop the town of Banaue as a tourist spot, invited me to be the Guest of Honor and Speaker of the Banaue Town Fiesta in 1968.   Mayor Mondiguing used to come to Manila to follow-up his requests for community improvements and public works projects with the various government national offices.  When in Manila, he would literally park at my CNI Office.   From there, we would make the telephone or personal follow-ups for his projects.  Most often, I would accompany him to the government offices, where his proposed projects were pending for consideration.   One office that we frequented, was the Bureau of Tourism and Travel Industry (BTTI), chaired by the late Greg Araneta, brother in-law of my UP law classmate, Jun Leido and later, my colleague in the House of Representative.  He was also elected as Congressman of Oriental Mindoro.  BTTI Chairman Greg  Araneta, while  very  supportive  of  the Banaue  Tourism Project, was a stickler for administrative procedures.   Mayor Mondiguing and I had  to  observe  and  to comply with  all the  project  document requirements.  It took about several months, when the Banaue Tourism project was officially approved.  Banaue finally got its five-star Banaue Hotel and also a Hostel. 

Mayor Mondiguing introduced me to the crowd, (I was still then with the CNI) as the candidate to be the first Congressman elect of Ifugao.   I was both surprised and flattered, as I did not expect at all, that Mayor Mondigiung was going to make such a public statement.   Anyway, I thanked Mayor Mondiguing for his kind and generous introduction.  But Mayor Mondiguing immediately blurted out – “Atty., I am serious.  That was not a joke that I made.   I suggest, do not go back to Manila yet as tomorrow, we will make our first round of the surrounding barrios.  He prevailed on me to stay.  The following morning, we proceeded to Hapao, one of the big barrios of Banaue then to Nungulunan, and other adjacent barrios and sitios.   In those instant meetings with the barrio folks, he introduced me as “our candidate for Congress that we should vote for in the coming elections.”   After four days of visiting the different barrios of Banaue, I returned to Manila.   But the vagaries of politics was such, that by some quirk of event, Fred Mondiguing, lawyer son of Mayor Mondiguing eventually ran against me in that 1969 Congressional elections.   He lost and I won handily.
My first few months in Congress was indeed hectic.   As the saying goes – “My first day in Congress, I hit the ground running.”  I had to fast tract the consideration and approval of the numerous development projects of the province, which were under study and review by the national offices concerned. The immediate improvement of the national highway linking the province to Nueva Vizcaya leading to Manila, was on the top list of our Action Program.   The province had already an export potential for its well known Ifugao woodcarving products, as well as its vegetable production similar to that of Benguet Province.   Next was to prod the Department of Education, to repair and improve the old dilapilated  school  houses (buildings) and/or to build more  newer  school buildings in several towns and barrios of the province.  The old Municipal building in each of the towns had to be rehabilitated and to secure funds for building Municipal Halls for several municipalities without Municipal Halls.  I also upgraded thru legislation, the existing Nayon Farm School into a National High School for Industrial Arts and  Agri-Technology.   To  improve  the basic  talents of  the natives in  indigenous wood carvings and other wood crafts, I was able to put up the Lagawe School of Arts and Trade.    It improved a lot of the basic skills of the Ifugaos in woodcraft.   Later, my brother Governor Gualberto carried on with putting up more advance training schools like the Ifugao State College of Agriculture and Forestry (ISCAF), in Potia, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.   The health problem of the people must also be attended to.   The existing health clinics in some of the municipalities were in most cases, mere dispensaries where free medicine and first aid treatment were done.   I had to fast tract the establishment of hospitals in a far flung municipality Mayoyao, and later in Tinoc.  Livelihood enhancement programs for a great number of the populace had to be organized and launched and also other related projects designed to advance the progress of the province.

Congress Doings

Before the opening session of the 7th Congress on January 1970, a series of caucuses were held by the House Majority party, the Nacionalista Party (NP), the Party to which I belong.  Elected as Speaker of the House was Jose P. Laurel, Jr.  The regular House Committees of the House was also organized and chaired by the senior members.  The newly elected members of the House composed mostly of young ones, made some intimation, that the Chairmanship of the various House Committee, should not only come from the senior members, but the House leadership should also consider even the newly elected members.   We were graciously advised, that it was the tradition in the House, that only the senior members would be given the chairmanship of the Committees.   The junior members or neophyte could only, at most, be considered for the vice-chairmanship or just plain Committee members.  Thus, when the composition of the various House Committees were finally announced, there were negative observations about the choice of Committee Chairmenship and membership.  It was alleged, that vested interests dominated the powerful House Committees.

One Committee Chair, that elicited some harsh comments, was the powerful Committee on Economic-Affairs (CEA).  It was announced that the amiable and soft spoken, Congressman from Davao, Lorenzo Sarmiento, would chair the Committee.   The Sarmiento family of Davao was known for their wide ranging business interests in timber concessions, various industrial and commercial enterprises in Davao and other parts of Mindanao.  They played a big factor in the increasing progress of Davao and Mindanao.  The negative reaction to the announced Chairmanship of Congressman Sarmiento, to the Committee on Economic-affairs (CEA), was his identification with big business interests.  It was perceived by the critics, that he may use his Committee position to unduly advance, his family’s business interests.   Because of the furor raised to Congressman Sarmiento’s posting as CEA Chair,  the  House  in  a  caucus  decided  to  defer meanwhile the election of (CEA) chair.   For about a month and a half, action on the Chairmanship of the CEA was deferred.   Meanwhile, House Speaker Jose Laurel, Jr. conducted a survey of the House membership, to ascertain the extent of their business interests.
One early Monday morning, about the 2nd week of March 1970, I received a message from Speaker Laurel to join him at his private office at the Manila Bank Building at Bonifacio Drive St., Port Area, Manila.   When I was ushered in to Speaker Laurel’s Office, I saw Congressman Lorenzo Sarmiento and the Speaker in a huddle.  The Speaker beckoned me to join them.   Speaker Laurel said that he made a survey of the varied interests (business, professionals etc.) of the House membership and, “Romy, he added, parang ikaw lang ang walang connection sa negosyo.”   I answered, “Totoo, Mr. Speaker, hindi ako negosyante.   Ang mga magulang ko po ay mga guro at wala talaga kaming ka ano-ano sa negosyo.”  The Speaker smiled, and said, “That is why I called you and Congressman Sarmiento, so we can solve the problem of the Chairmanship of the CEA.  I will make an announcement that you are chosen to be Vice-Chairman of the CEA and Congressman Sarmiento remains as Chairman.  But it will be you who will actively handle the Committee Affairs, and Congressman Sarmiento will be there to guide and assist you meanwhile”.  He asked me if I agreed with that kind of arrangement.   I answered, “Yes Mr. Speaker, if that is the decision of the House leadership.”  But I added, “Hwag lang naman akong pabayaan ni Congressman Sarmiento at bagito lang ako”.   “Ay oo naman”, the Speaker remarked.   “Si Enchong ay alalayan ka.”   Congressman Sarmiento likewise remarked, “Nandito naman ako lagi eh, hwag kang mabahala Romy, madali mo naman matutunan ang pamalakad ng Committee.”   The Speaker, called his media adviser, Tony, and instructed him to brief the media of what transpired.  The EAC was regularly briefed and advised by the Congressional Economic Planning (CEPO), composed mostly of top acknowledged economists, graduates of world class economic schools abroad, (i.e. London School of Economics, Wharton, Yale, Harvard and Cornell University in the US, like Jose Romero, Alejandro Lichauco, Dr. Emmanuel Q. Yap,Dr. Vicente Valdepeñas and a few others.

Meanwhile, student rallies in the streets were increasing everyday.  At one time, they barged inside the session hall and fully occupied the galleries.  Then they sung the national anthem, and the Congressmen rose from their seats to stand.   But when the singing ended and the Congressmen were about to take their seats, the students would again sing the national anthem and perforce, the Congressmen   would again stand up.   Speaker Laurel who was presiding over the House proceedings, 
stood up from his chair at the rostrum and pounded for three times, the gavel on top of his table and loudly announced “ We are now witnessing how this unruly group, abused the hospitality of this Chamber.   I order the House Security to evict them out of the gallery at once”.   A loud scuffle occurred in the gallery, as the House Security people forced out the rallyists from the session hall.

Even as I was already in Congress, I still pursued any studies in Anthropology at the UP.   Dr. Landa Jocano and Dr. Arsenio E. Manuel, well known Anthropologists and writers in Philippine societal structures, cultures and traditions, were my two guiding professors and advisers who eagerly and patiently encouraged me to further broaden and deepen my knowledge and understanding of Philippine Society.  It was already the time when rallies in the streets were increasing almost every week.  I arranged to attend my Anthropology studies at two o’clock to four o’clock in the afternoon.   After class hours, I then would rush to Congress to be on time for the daily session which usually started at five in the afternoon.   One afternoon on my way back to Congress from my afternoon class in the UP, there was already a huge rally of students at Congress.   The street below Congress and the driveway leading to the doorway entrance to the Session Hall were already teaming with rallyists.  My car was following the car of Senator Jose Roy of Tarlac with his No. 7 plate.   I never used my No. 8 car plate as a Congressman.  I was seated beside the driver in the front with the right glass window rolled down, as I was also eager to see, if I recognized a few of the rallyists.  Just as Senator Roy stopped in front of the doorway entrance, a stone was hurled at the back of his car hitting the rear glass window which immediately cracked and broken with shattered glass pieces strewn on the car and the driveway.  The policemen and other security people immediately surrounded the car of Senator Roy, as it was being led down and out of the driveway.   At that moment I got frightened.  I thought, I was next to be stoned as I saw several rallyists with arms raised and clenched fists.   At that instance, I heard several voices coming from the rallyists standing along the driveway, saying “Huwag si Romy yan.”   I looked at the right, and scanned the sea of faces.   I caught a few familiar faces among the crowd.   I recognized two or three of them to be my classmates in my Anthropology and Political Science classes.  They were smiling and waving at me, and were shouting “Hi Romy”.   I also waived back and felt so relieved.  As I rushed out of my car and proceeded to the Session Hall, it was only then, that I could breathe in full.   The session for the day adjourned early – about six pm.  I went down to my office located in the basement of the Congress Building.   As I entered my office, I was surprised to see Brig. General Mariano Ordoñez, the MetroCom Commander in Manila.  He stood up and greeted me.   So I asked what was the purpose of the visit.   Then he said, “Congressman, we saw that after the stoning of the Senator Roys’ car, you were just a few feet behind his car, but you were not stoned.  Mr. Congressman, perhaps those in that rally, knew you.  Would you know them too, Sir?”   I laughed a bit and I said – “Ah General, that is why I deserved a visit from you.”  And I continued, “General, I recognized two of the girls in the rally, are my classmates from UP, but I don’t remember their names.”  General Ordoñez smiled, thanked me and left.   Those two girls that I saw, were my classmates in the Anthropology class.  I learned later, that they joined the activists and went underground.  One of them, was reportedly killed later in an encounter with government troops in the Sierra Madre mountains, on the border of Quezon Province and Bicol.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who is Romulo Lumauig -- Working with Cong. Perez

After finishing my law studies and having passed the bar, the late Congressman then later, became Senator, Leonardo Perez of Nueva Vizcaya, invited me to join his staff in Congress.   My task assignment was mainly legislative work.   I studied intently the intricacies of legislation as well as the various House Committee proceedings and deliberations.  I was also assigned the additional task to assist members of the National Cultural Minorities who resettled in Nueva Vizcaya after being displaced from their ancestral occupations with the construction of the Binga and Ambuklao hydro Dam in Baguio-Benguet.   At one time, eighteen members of these cultural minorities were arrested and jailed in the Municipal Jail of Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya after their arrest by forest guards of the Bureau of Forestry.  They were caught doing kaingin along the fringes of the forests of Dupax.   I was sent by Congressman Perez to talk to then Mayor Palugod of Dupax to set free the settlers.  Mayor Palugod of Dupax, was just too glad to let them go free as the Municipality cannot afford to feed that number of people.

I saw the sad plight of the displaced people from their ancestral lands who were left alone to fend for themselves, without sufficient support from government.  The government allegedly informed them that there were sufficient lands in Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya for them to resettle.   But most of the arable lands in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija were private lands, already owned and occupied.   The poor minorities had to settle in the forested areas which were not yet classified as alienable and disposable.  Thus, many of them were arrested or harassed by the Bureau of Forestry personnel.   Everytime, there were arrests by the Forestry people, we would invariably make representations for them to let go of the minorities as they were just trying to etch a living after being eased out of their ancestral lands.   I could not help but commiserate with the displaced people.  My first hand exposure to the miseries and deprivations suffered by the cultural minorities, must  have conditioned my mind to  detest any act of exploitation made against those less-advantaged among our citizenry.   I was determined to come to their succor, circumstances permitting, if not now, perhaps in the days to come.
Meanwhile, as I started my active law practice, and enjoyed my bachelorhood days. Eventually I thought it best, that I should establish my family.   I  got  married  to  the  woman  whom destiny perhaps so consigned to be my lifetime partner, Erlinda Guillermo, a graduate of Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas.   We were blest with four children – two boys and two girls namely Romulo Roman (RR), Jesus Victor (JV), Nona Romilda (Nona) and Maria Liza (Liza).