Davao del Norte stands out as one of the most progressive provinces in Mindanao.
DavNor’s fast-paced march to progress is credited primarily to its political leadership.
It’s strategic location is only secondary.
Next to Davao City, the acknowledged center of commerce and industry in Southern Mindanao, DavNor is also a key player in regional economy being at the crossroad of the region bounded by Agusan del Sur on the north, Bukidnon on the west, Davao City on the southwest, Davao Gulf on the south and the Province of Compostela Valley at the east.
DavNor’s story is a unique saga among local government units.
From an outback, impoverished entity, it rose to become an international figure in the 70s with its export of Cavendish bananas, an industry pioneered by Tagum Development Corporation (Tadeco) founded by the late Antonio O. Floirendo Sr. and his brother-in-law Rodolfo del Rosario.
DavNor’s bananas placed the Philippines in the map of the world’s top banana producing countries. Today, Cavendish banana export is one of the country’s top dollar-earning industries, making DavNor a major contributor to the national economy.
DavNor’s over-all progress is credited to bananas, its vibrant business community and its political leaders.
Under the leadership of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario (RDR), DavNor has leaped forward in terms of economic and political stability.
With RDR exiting in June after winding up his three terms, Dabaonons are facing a crucial point in their life.
The coming election demands that DavNor must choose a candidate with the energy, talent and dedication of the young to lead the province and push its continued march to progress. One who can do better than RDR and not one who can do less or, at worse, nothing.
RDR has passed on the mantle of leadership to his son, Congressman Anthony del Rosario (RDR).
AGR is young and has the vision that can respond with vigor to the need of DavNor for a new leader. He has political experience having been an active, working vice governor before earning a seat in Congress.
As governor, he could also bring his earlier experience, like his father, as an executive of Tadeco to replicate his private management savvy into building a successful local government unit.
By reality, experienced private sector execs of stable companies, who are elected into office, are far better as managers of local government units than “veteran” foot-licking politicians who, other that serve their constituents, promote personal motives and ambitions and depend on political patronage to win an election.
To Dabaonons, it is AGR.
In their radar, the baby is a non-entity as a leader.
There is a joke going around DavNor as the election campaign heats up. It is about political ambition crashed and ended like an aborted orgasm
AGR is being challenged by Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio.
Popularly known as “Baby,” Suaybaguio is a former ally of the Floirendo-Del Rosario clan, who forgot his past, and dared to lock horns with people to whom he owed a political debt. The joke is that, he did this suicidal act that could put finis to his political life after RDR and the local Liberal Party leadership decided to field AGR in the gubernatorial race. The choice crashed the baby’s longtime dream of succeeding RDR as governor.
Suaybaguio is a baby that did not or refused to grow up. He refused to accept the reality that the need of the hour is not a leader in the sunset of his life but a young performer who could take thr challenge of leading the province with energy. If there is such a thing as political maturity, Suaybaguio has none his politics having not grown and still dependent on others to support his political endeavors.
The baby is not only tormented by age.
He is a baby whose politics was nurtured by others.
The best of his political experience is being in the shadow of the Floirendos and del Rosarios, like a mindless puppet on a string, because he had no political will to strike his own direction on his own, without a leg to stand on.
Although considered a veteran politician, Suaybaguio was, during his entire political life, a babe that needed a guiding hand in local politics and has not grown up to create for himself the image of a leader who can stand up without others backing him up.
Throughout his political career, Suaybaguio depended on the Floirendo-Del Rosario political combine to support him in all his forays into politics to clear his path to victory.
Given the new challenges that DavNor faces, the baby does not fit the call.
Suaybaguio is utterly incorrect if he thinks that he should be the next governor based on political equity because he is next in rank to the post being the sitting vice governor.
Political patronage is not in the book of the Dabaonons during this crucial hour when they vote for new leaders.
The need is for a young leader, not a former vice governor who doze off while presiding sessions of the provincial board, that is if we believe stories circulating in media.
Or a new governor whose only credential is his long ambition to be one because he is next on the line on the basis of the principle of succession.
This is the reason why Dabaonons did not react violently when RDR and the LP picked AGR instead of the baby to succeed RDR. Dabaonons have high repect for Suaybaguio but they see him as shooting for the moon with his ambition to be governor. Dabaonons knew too well the real Suaybaguio as to be given the daunting task of a governor.
From our perch, we see nothing personal on the part of RDR to pick his son AGR as his successor.
He has worked with Suaybaguio for years and may have decided it was a risk to place the future of DavNor in the hands of a politician without the capacity to lead the province.
The truth is RDR risked being accused of building a political dynasty by naming AGR as his successor.
This an accusation hurled by Suaybaguio against the del Rosarios but Dabaonons are rallying behind the decision of RDR because they believe it is for the future of DavNor.