SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Hardly has Roel Ragay Degamo warmed his seat up as the new provincial governor when the first blast of fire baptism hit him.
As he started to fill up sensitive positions at provincial capitol, his political party intervened. The intervention effectively stopped Roel dead in his track, a few days only after he announced to the public his appointments of Arnel Francicso as Provincial Administrator, and Atty. Richard Enojo as Provincial Attorney.
His Party wants experienced, tested, and reliable persons filling up the sensitive positions.
This early in his stewardship of the provincial leadership, he is already placed on the hot seat watched by the public eye struggling with the Gordian Knot.
As the newest MetroPost columnist aptly describes it, people in Roel-like situation is to be caught in “between the rock and a hard place”. Will he be like Alexander the Great who just sliced it with his sword? Or will he be like President Manuel L. Quezon who in his inaugural address declared “my loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to the country begins.”
President Quezon made the quotable declaration at a time in Philippine History when a two-party system — the Nacionalista and Liberal — existed with concrete platforms to command and make the members’ loyalty worthwhile.
Now there are only porous platforms of pseudo-political parties with political butterflies or balimbings as members. The Party is built around a powerful or popular political figure as the Partido Lakas Tao of President Fidel Ramos, the Partido Masang Pilipino of President Joseph Estrada, and the Partido Lakas Kampi of President Glorial M. Arroyo.
Now they are in limbo. Easy come, easy go. Nowadays, they come a dime by the dozen making party loyalty utterly meaningless and useless.
To the politically-mature Filipinos, party loyalty rings hollow, and will be invoked only by a would-be puppeteer who would like to dictate the acts and voice of the new governor. Ergo, if there is to be any political party at the provincial capitol it should be built around the person in power, just like the Partido Kasaligan at the Dumaguete City Hall of then Mayor Tuting Perdices.
It is refreshing to note that Roel is standing firm on his initial appointments in upholding man’s inherent power to choose. He is grateful for the party support in winning as a provincial board member.
He believes though that his becoming governor is not a party design or agenda but an act of Divine Providence. To deprive him of the power to choose his trusted men is to divide, a devious inclination of a puppeteer to subtract and subtract repeatedly until a person becomes a non-entity or a puppet merely.
It is well for Roel to pursue good governance unobstructed by political debts. He owes it to the people of Negros Oriental to remain faithful to the divine design.
To be in denial mode, to negate it is risk, a Fall far worse than losing the good will of a political benefactor.
However, to leave Roel alone in the governance of the Province is to ensure failure. The people should be with him all the way through thick and thin in blazing a bright future for the succeeding generations.
An effective governance needs the unqualified and enduring support of the people. A vibrant and compassionate society is the sum total of the talents, grits, and character of its people.
Roel needs a clear vision, he has to craft with his trusted men, as a rallying point for his people. Guaranteeing and delivering the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, and justice are daunting tasks too overwhelming for one man alone.
Earlier on, Hector “Tata” Villanueva of Bais City advised the young Governor to “do right, and fear no one except God.”
No stranger to politics himself, Tata may have the uncanny sense of telling that this was forthcoming. Perhaps, but his exhortation is still easier said than done.
Negros Oriental IBP Gov. Raymund Mercado had the same foreboding as he forewarned the neophyte Governor “to rise above political patronage.” “Raising the standard of provincial politics” is a parallel phrase from 1st Dist. Congresswoman Josy Sy Limkaichong.
Confronted by the dilemma, there is where Roel needs breathing space as environmentalist Leo Mamicpic advised all of us “to let him be and allow Roel to do his job”.
There is hope. There is reality. Hope that we do right now with a new and young provincial leadership. Sucked by reality is obliquely admitting that for too long, we have been mired with traditional politics (trapo) that stinks to high heavens, and all the way from Imperial Manila down to her vassal provinces.
We hope that with the unwitting turnover of leadership from the Builder to Gen X, we, united as constituents of NegOr, can go it alone in carving our future freed from the corrupting ways, and anchored, set apart on His path of righteousness.
He is the man on the move. He is on the public radar screen. Roel Ragay Degamo. He is Ro(e)land with a mission to make Negros Oriental a famous land.
That is to exclaim as Robert Browning, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”
Let it be the Song of Roel and the Oriental Negrenses. Let Roel say it again, “I am who I am because of who we all are.”
United Oriental Negrenses will stand. Possibilities are endless. Divided, we fall as possibility is nil.