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ROUGH CUTS | Mags Maglana: let’s know her

Vic N. Sumalinog

MONTHS before the start of the filing of Certificate of Candidacy for national and local elective positions no one ever thought that one or two will ever dare to challenge incumbent Davao City First District Congressman Paolo “Polong” Duterte. No, not because no one Davaoeno is as qualified as he is. There are so many who perhaps are even more qualified than the present congressman. 

     Rather, the reason why hesitancy gets the more on those harboring the idea of challenging Congressman Polong is that they feel he is so well-ensconced in his position given the influence of his President father and the perceived seamless connections that he has, as well as the seemingly bottomless resources that the incumbent could utilize in his campaign for reelection.

     But then, out of the blue came two unexpected challengers. One reportedly is a businessman but is a virtual unknown in the Davao political circle. The other, a woman, sports a name that rings a bell in the Davao political spectrum decades back. But her family name rings not with a decibel that could create a tsunami in the ears of Davaoeno compared to the one that she is challenging.  Perhaps some political observers might consider her candidacy a pebble   being thrown to a granite wall in an attempt to have it crash down.

     However despite knowing the futility of challenging the incumbent the lady opposition candidate appears to be unmindful of her quixotic mission. Why? Because she is one woman with balls and wants to show that her “smallness” as a challenger can still prove that she is capable of making democracy work in exercises like elections.

      This feisty woman is Mags Maglana. We actually have a very limited knowledge of who she is, although while we were editing some local papers in Davao we had limited interactions with her.

     A friend of ours though gives us an opportunity to take a peek at the First District congressional aspirant and Polong challenger. Wennie Gorres of the Konsumo Dabaw fame shared with us some insights on Mags Maglana’s life.  This is Mags life as seen by Mr. Gorres:

     “I hired her on the spot. She was a fresh graduate in 1992 from Ateneo de Davao where she was the President of the student body. I was dumb-founded and very impressed. How could a very bright fresh graduate choose to work in the NGO world, a very thankless and low-paying job?

     “Konsumo Dabaw (KD) was just chosen as the partner of Green Forum Philippines in a very comprehensive country-wide environmental advocacy project. I was to form a regional network to implement it, thus Lunhaw Mindanao was born.

     “KD at that time was wholly funded by the Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP) of the Canadian International Development Aid (CIDA). Mr. Rey Ureta of Asian NGO Coalition was assigned to monitor and evaluate the KD projects. He met her (Mags) and was so impressed that when he became the head of PDAP, he begged me to allow her (Maglana) to work with him in 1994.

     “She worked at PDAP for seven years and later became a consultant to the Local Government Support Program of CIDA for a long time. It was there that Mags Maglana learned the intricacies of political realities in our country.

     “Her father was the first elected representative in 1966 of the newly formed congressional district of Davao Oriental. She prodded her father to allow the informal settlers to own their lots through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of a land along the coastline in Barrio Patay in R. Castillo in Agdao, Davao City. Old time residents there still remember her visits.”

     Added Mr. Gorres, “Mags Maglana came a long way since I hired her at Konsumo Dabaw 30 years ago.”

     Personally we have no doubts as to Mags’ intention in challenging the first district incumbent. She is a woman baptized with fire of service to the people. But as we said here earlier she is up against a windmill that could blow her candidacy to smithereens. Will she be able to bring down the giant of a windmill? Hope springs eternal. 


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