The Two Dabawenyos

Abp. Valles and President DuterteOn May 2016, former Mayor Duterte became the President of the Republic of the Philippines. On July, 2017 Archbishop Romulo Valles became the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

As President, Duterte represents the 100 million Filipinos while Archbishop Valles shepherds the about 80 million Filipino Catholics together with the collegial body of about 80 bishops.

Together, this is a powerful force involved in the daily political, social and religious lives of the nation. This is the first time in our history that we look at leaders who are not from Manila for guidance. That the two who are from Davao are now where they are did not happen by chance or accident. Strange are the ways of the Lord is an old cliché but indeed it applies to both of them.

The two leaders affirm the truth that Davao City is the melting pot of Mindanao. The President’s father is from Danao, Cebu while his mother is from Lanao. His parents came to Davao in search of a better future. The Archbishop’s parents are from Maribojoc, Bohol (where Undersecretary Jun Evasco was the mayor, until his transfer to Malacañan as one of the three USEC directly under the President; the other two are Melchor Quitain and Bong Go from Davao City). His parents went to Davao del Norte for a better future.

The President has spent 40 years as a government servant starting as prosecutor to Vice Mayor and to Mayor. He was also able to serve as a congressman.

The Archbishop spent 41 years as a servant of God and of the faithful. The Archbishop finished his undergrad studies at the St. Francis Xavier College seminary in Catalunan Grande, Davao City (XACOSE) and his theology at the Regional Major Seminary (REMASE). Call it the right person at the right place at the right time, he was the first diocesan rector of St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Bishop of the Diocese of Kidapawan in 1997 then as Archbishop of Zamboanga (the first Archdiocese in Mindanao) in 2007. Five years later, he was chosen as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Davao.

Today’s power had its origin in the center of the Philippines: Danao, Cebu the roots of the President and Maribojoc, Bohol, birth place of the Archbishop. The two as Father of the Nation and Father of the Catholics represent the best of Visayan culture “mapaubsanon” (humble), “matinabangon” (helpful), “maluluy-on” (merciful), “maantoson” (patient endurance).

Our prayers and best wishes go with them!

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