Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Despite what people in Manila think about him, Congressman Wahab Akbar is well loved in his province. This is shown by the fact that more 10,000 attended his burial today.

It is a fact that people like him draw a lot of friends and enemies. Search the newspapers and the blogosphere and you will most likely find only his enemies. But in Basilan, he is known for having made the province a better place. There is lesser criminality and they are talking about planting more rubber trees and corn nowadays. Something that is in sharp contrast to what it was before when it was called a No man's land.

Despite my personal objections to the ideas of having dynasties and giving absolute power to a few, history also shows that such also provide good results.

In the area of the convicted rapist and murderer Calauan Mayor Sanchez, there were no thieves during his term. Whenever something was stolen, the mayor only had to spread the word that it should be returned and the thief, out of fear, returned what he stole. Cavite, prior to the time of Governor Juanito Remulla, was filled with thieves, killers, carnappers, etc.. A friend's mom once told me, that in Laguna then, whenever something went missing, one only needed to go to Cavite to be able to find it. It was all there-- nawawalang Kaldero, Kalabaw, kotse, atbp.. Nardong Putik was there. During the time when killing a cop was something unimaginable, Nardong Putik had the gall to abduct, torture and kill an NBI agent. But when Governor Remulla came, Cavite finally became peaceful. As one Caviteno once told me, "lahat nang ito, utang namin ke Gob". Remulla was later pictured as a "Berdugo" for he was also tagged as the one who banned labor unions from holding any strike, during the time when labor unrest plagued the country. But the result was a province that became the favorite destination of all foreign investors.

Like Cavite and Caluan, Basilan also benefited from strong leaders. Whether it is good or bad in the long term is another issue for us to ponder. But one thing is clear. Akbar did something that people in his area, Christians and Muslims alike, found to be worthy of their love.

Assalam Alaikum!

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