A thought for those who honor Cong. Francisco Perfecto
posted 3-Nov-2019  ·  
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A year ago, Catanduanes and its people celebrated the province’s 73rd foundation anniversary, an event we owe to the late Congressman Francisco Perfecto as the man behind Commonwealth Act No. 687 that declared the island as an independent province on Oct. 26, 1945.

Then, all that existed in remembrance of Perfecto was a bust in Caramoran town, in honor of his sponsoring a bill creating the town and separating it from Pandan, and a marker at the provincial capitol.

Four years earlier, in January 2015, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan enacted an ordinance installing a life-size statue of Cong. Perfecto in front of the Legislative Building on the left wing annex of the capitol.

Supposed to be in October that year, the site remained vacant until 2018 when the base of the statue was finally erected. In the following months, the project remained uncompleted much to the dismay of the surviving heirs of the late congressman although they can never fault the provincial government for trying as it did exerted effort to complete the project but for lack of appropriate funding.

Their long wait is now over, with the capitol leadership headed by Acting Governor Shirley Abundo and Acting Vice Governor Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr., along with Congressman Hector Sanchez and Congressman Jose Teves Jr. and provincial officials, spearheading the unveiling of the Perfecto statue on Oct. 26, 2019 at 8 A.M.

True, Catanduanes’ birth as an independent province may have been a product of maneuverings by those in power, a political elite that arose when the Americans brought democracy to the Philippine islands.

But Francisco Perfecto, the son of migrants from Masbate who settled here in 1904, did not belong to the gobernadorcillo class that ruled the island then.

Little is known about how the family made its living then, but the young Francisco reportedly got his schooling from his mother and in the public schools of Bagamanoc and Panganiban. How he managed to study at Manila High School and at the Philippine Law School, there is no proper account.

But one thing is sure, when he ran for representative of the Second District of Albay in 1925, Perfecto was the quintessential politician at the time, defined by his education, skill in oratory and a genuine connection to the people.

He ended 32 years in politics and public service when he retired in 1957 after the end of his term. This last stint was clouded by controversy, as an ignorant colleague in the House of Representatives and equally uneducated members of the media had branded his proposal seeking to create a Typhoon Commission a “Bill to Outlaw Typhoons.”

Had his critics carefully studied the bill and learned that it sought to conduct research on typhoons and recommend measures on how to minimize their harmful effects, the country could have had its own weather bureau much earlier, an insight that Cong. Perfecto doubtlessly learned as a native of the Isle of the Howling Winds.

It bears stating that when he retired from politics after the end of his term, he was succeeded by Jose M. Alberto, who along with his two brothers, ruled the island for more than three decades and ushered in the era of money politics.

This Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, our current leaders will reflect on Cong. Francisco Perfecto’s life and lay flowers at the base of his statue, something that in most likelihood they have never done at the late solon’s grave at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

Would they entertain the thought, with the permission of his heirs, of moving his remains back to the island where he spent and dedicated a huge part of his life, such that he could be appropriately honored not only on the anniversary of his birth on Sept. 4, 1895 and remembered on his death on Aug. 20, 1973?

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