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).

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