Gov. Malanyaon Administers Historic Oath Of Sen. Pimentel In Davao Oriental

By Ferdinand Zuasola 

Governor Corazon Malanyaon administered on Friday morning the historic oath-taking of Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III who was declared the true 12th winner of the 2007 senatorial elections by the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

The historic oath-taking ceremony was held at the Provincial Capitol’s covered court in the province’s capital, the City of Mati. Pimentel III is the first senator in the country who took his oath of office in Davao Oriental. Explaining his choice of Davao Oriental over his hometown Cagayan de Oro City as the venue for his inauguration, Senator Pimentel said he was overwhelmed by the support shown to him by the people of Davao Oriental.

“I am overwhelmed by emotion because it is now a reality,” says Pimentel whose proclamation was made a week after Juan Miguel Zubiri resigned and rendered his Senate post vacant. Zubiri is the first senator in the country to resign because of an election protest filed by Pimentel. “I could have taken my oath in Cagayan de Oro where I was born. I was impressed with the results in Davao Oriental even without me having visited the place. The people of Davao Oriental supported me and gave me such a wonderful placing in the province. I also have a high placing in Cagayan de Oro and in Misamis Oriental but it’s my place of birth so I have many relatives, while in Davao Oriental I virtually do not have any relatives,” says Pimentel during a press conference held at the Capitol in Mati.

Before a jampacked crowd at the Capitol’s covered court, Pimentel spoke to the audience in a mix of English, Tagalog and Cebuano languages. “I made a promise to our leaders here, sabi ko if I win, I will take my oath in Davao Oriental. I won but I was not proclaimed. So we fought. We fought, we are from Mindanao. We know how to fight for our rights. And we got proclaimed yesterday. One day later, we are here to fulfill our promise. Dili ko makaingon na I shall return because I have never been here. It’s the first time in my life to be in Mati, Davao Oriental.  And I am taking my oath as a senator of the Republic of the Philippines. But now, inyo nakong gi adopt as an adopted son of Mati City and the province of Davao Oriental. Busa makasulti nako paglakaw nako unya, I shall definitely return. I am very glad that I made the decision to take my oath in Davao Oriental without having seen the place, because Davao Oriental should be the model for Mindanao. Kong Makita nato, what such a progressive place, such a rich and beautiful place. But you have kept, I think, intentionally a low profile. So you are still awaiting to be discovered not only to the rest of Mindanao but by the rest of the country and the rest of the world. It is good that I am not only willing to fight, I am also willing to learn and I have learned a lot from a short conversation I have with the governor this morning. Davao Oriental is so rich in mineral resources. You are so rich in tourism attractions and you are such a well-planned place that you are producing agricultural products at the commercial level. And what made this all possible, not only your good location and your rich history because according to the governor this is the oldest settlement in Mindanao, but what is more responsible for your progress and for the peace that we see and the cooperation that we see is actually the unity of the people of Davao Oriental. So I have come not only to take my oath but also to learn from you, and I will bring this new insight with me as I craft laws to strengthen local autonomy,” says Pimentel during his inaugural address here.

For her part, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon says she was “extremely overwhelmed” to have administered the historic oath-taking of Pimentel in her province. “I am extremely overwhelmed that I, a governor of a relatively small province, will administer the oath of office to a senator of the Republic of the Philippines. I am deeply honored to play the important role in this historic occasion unprecedented in the history of the Philippine Senate,” says Governor Malanyaon during her speech at the oath-taking ceremony.

“Thank you Senator Koko for this single honor. Thank you also senator for giving me this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude once again to your father, former Senator Aquilino Nene Pimentel, whom we call Nene with endearment who is responsible for my entry into politics when he appointed me as councilor of Davao City during the Cory administration. They say you can never put a good man down,  you persevered in spite of the overwhelming odds. As you join the Senate on Monday, we look forward that you will be our advocate for local autonomy and people autonomy like your father before who has been our champion for strong local governance. We trust that you will sustain all the gains the people of the province enjoyed under the Local Government Code. Dako ang among paglaum nga imong panalipdan ang tanan namong nakab-ot diha sa Local Government Code, og imong hatagan og katumanan ang tanang mga pangandoy sa among barangay officials, mga municipal officials, city officials as well as provincial officials,” says Governor Malanyaon whose political party during her first foray in politics was the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan or PDP LABAN.

“MINDANAO MUNA”

The final and official count of the Senate Electoral Tribunal showed Pimentel leading Zubiri by 258,166 votes. Pimentel received a total of 10,898,786 votes, and Zubiri, 10,640,620 votes. Pimentel’s lead easily overwhelmed Zubiri’s 19,292 lead in the Commission on Elections’ Senatorial Canvass Report No. 30, which had him missing the cut at 13th place. Pimentel said he did not join the 2010 senatorial election because “I knew as early as 2008 that I had won.

“I hope this would infect the other institutions in delivering justice in our country. It can be done. My only request is that we find ways to do it more speedily,” says Pimentel. During his inaugural address here, however, the new senator vows to give much priority to Mindanao which continue to lag behind Luzon and the Visayas regions.

“So mga kaigsoonan, I am left with less than two years as senator. All I can promise you the people of Davao Oriental is that I will do all my best as a senator of the Republic of the Philippines in the limited time that I have. I will listen to you now that I have established contact with your provincial leaders and city leaders. I will maintain communication lines and I will listen to them. I will work together with your two congressmen, Congressman Dayanghirang and Congresswoman Almario. I will work closely with them so that whatever are your local concerns filed in the House of Representatives, you will already have a champion  in the Senate as I will fight the counterpart bill in the senate. Tandaan nyo po na kababayan nyo po ako because you adopted me. And of course, I also know that the senator can direct projects and direct funding to certain projects and I will use that influence in favor of Davao Oriental and to the City of Mati. But of course, after satisfying the needs of Davao Oriental and the City of Mati, I will also pay attention to the needs and the clamor of our brothers and sisters in the rest of Mindanao… Mindanao muna. I know that we are covered by the national media but this early, I will request for the understanding of our brothers and sisters in Visayas and Luzon. Please understand if I will prioritize Mindanao in my time, in my attention and in the resources under the direct control of the office of Senator Pimentel. Give us a chance. This is my way also of implementing my campaign promise in 2007 that I will implement and pursue affirmative actions in favor of Mindanao… Pagbigyan naman po natin ang Mindanao. Luzon and Visayas please understand. Let us make concessions to the island of Mindanao para po makahabol din kami sa standard of living ninyo diyan sa Luzon at sa Visayas,” says Pimentel.

 

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