A leader is required
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
From here to the establishment of the Cordillera as an autonomous region, somebody is needed to lead us.
During the celebration of the 34th Anniversary of the creation of CAR the other day, all the recognized leaders of the region were there. That is where I learned that former Baguio mayor and congressman Mauricio Domogan has now a new title, Regional Elder. That is very fitting.
He had worked the longest and the hardest for the establishment of autonomy, often until his voice became hoarse. His dedication for that cause even awakened the crab mentality among local leaders who even said that Domogan was motivated by self-interest—that he just wanted to be the first regional governor if autonomy would be established.
To disprove that, Domogan publicly declared that he would not run for any regional elective position if autonomy were established. He was even willing to sign any document for that purpose. Yet the “self-interest” talk persisted.
Last week, I went to have a talk with him regarding the disunity brought about by crab mentality in this region. For some, that was expected due to the numerous tribal groups around. The good news is, according to Domogan, times have changed for the better.
Back then, the opposition to autonomy was very strong. Sometimes out of ignorance. Many of those employed by line agencies who owe their positions to the creation of CAR were even against autonomy. But when confronted with the possibility of the abolition of their positions if CAR were disbanded, they did not have any answer or an alternative. Now many of them got awakened to the reality.
So who will lead us to autonomy? The most qualified is Domogan, I would say, obviously. Not only because he had been there fighting for it all along, but because he is the most qualified to lead the people in terms of leadership ability and qualifications.
Secondly, he is the eldest among the recognized leaders of the region. When we say “eldest” it means he has the wisdom required of a leader. He has been tempered by experience, and it appears that nobody around comes close.
Seeing the Cordillera leaders at the Convention Center the other day, there are qualified upcoming Cordilleran leaders like Baguio congressman Mark Go, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas who is also a doctor by profession. They all have the education and knowledge to lead this region but I would say that they were not seasoned enough as Domogan.
Perhaps, a few more years of them learning about, and mingling with, the various tribes and groups of this region should make them qualified to lead us.
If there is a regional election right now, Domogan will handily win the highest position. But he said he would not run if that is what the people want. If he will not run, the Baguio officials (Mark Go and Benjamin Magalong) and Benguet Gov. Diclas would be at the forefront because of the number of voters among their constituents.
In sum, as of now, it is Domogan who can lead us towards Cordillera Autonomy. We should all take advantage of this reality.**