Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Reviewing “Of Missions and Destinies”
Call me a gatecrasher if you wish. I came uninvited to the book launching of “Of Missions and Destinies” last April 21, 2010 at the main lobby of the Sablayan Convention Center. The book is a collaborative endeavor of the out-going mayor of Sablayan, Godofredo B. Mintu and Marian Regina M. Layug. It was published by Mintu Rice Mill only this year. Ms. Layug is not a resident of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro but a freelance writer. She is a Journalism graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas and a former Assistant Information Officer of the British Embassy in Manila.
Around one hundred people from all walks of life attended the book launching headed by Governor Josephine R. Sato and Vice-Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola, Mintu’s political allies in the local political scene. In the book’s foreword, Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel has this to say : “Even without the benefit of past political experience, Godofredo Mintu was able to achieve the transformation of a community, a transformation that is evident in the confidence, the energy and the love for the community that distinguishes the people of Sablayan. This book is also a homage to these beautiful people as well as the fascinating account of their beloved mayor.” The book talks a little about Sablayan but a lot about Mayor Mintu. Mintu by the way is about to retire from politics after a lengthy tenure as the town’s chief executive and the province’s vice governor. His wife, Mrs. Edna N. Mintu at present Barangay Chair , is vying for the mayoralty post of said municipality this coming election. While their son, Edwin, is seeking for his third and final term in the Sangguniang Bayan.
The book “Of Missions and Destinies” is divided into eleven chapters : A Day in the Life of the Mayor, Introducing Sablayan : The Dormant Municipality, The Mintu’s of Cavite, The Man and the Municipality Meet, Enter the Mayor, Six Times A Mayor : Sablayan Awakens, Power to the People, The Builder of the Future, Caring for the People : Social Services, Man of Action; Man of Peace, and Recognition and Legacy. Around fifty photographs can be seen in the book featuring mayor Mintu's achievements and personal photos. Nowhere in the book dwelled with Mintu’s stories about his former wife but filled with stories being told by his close friends and allies. According to Norma Ordenes, former Election Officer of Sablayan : “In the early ‘60s, when I try to recall the kind of politics that existed in Sablayan, all I know is this – the local leaders were product of homegrown “politicos” of the then undivided province of Mindoro : clannish, traditional and parochial.” The book likewise failed to magnify the main author’s personal view on the issue of political dynasty.
Mintu before transferring to Sablayan in 1975 is already financially capable and infact he had business in Mindanao and the Visayas. According to the book, he had a ranch in Bukidnon and was engaged in tobacco business, travelling all over the two regions as official market distributor of US tobacco imported cigarettes. In 1988 he ran for mayor under UNIDO's gubernatorial bet Pedro Medalla, Jr.
I remember the late homegrown political scientist, Prof. Remegio Agpalo in one of his books on the political realities in Occidental Mindoro saying that a new social force ("Big Money"), which has its basis in industry and commerce, challenged the traditional one ("Big Family"). The best example according to Agpalo is the victory of Pedro Medalla, Sr, in the congressional elections of 1965. Pedro Sr. is the father of Mintu's political ally, Pedro, Jr. commonly known as Peter Medalla.
The book also present many historical facts about said town. I came to know that in 1902 Sablayan was separated from Mamburao and the municipality was legally born. It was said that the Visayan root of its name is “Sablay”, which, according to the book, politically means “where the waves” meet. That the Sablayan Penal Colony was erected under the Pres. Ramon Magsaysay’s administration in 1956 under then Mayor Loreto Urieta. “Of Missions and Destinies” is a must-acquire material for our students, local historians and academicians. A well-written book about a developing town of Occidental Mindoro and the man who claimed that he started it all.
Here is a worth-reflecting quotation from Mayor Mintu himself : “Usually the greatest men are not the politicians but the nonconformist. I think it is true that to be good is to be misunderstood.” Though I think that Gen. Douglas Mc.Arthur also said something to that effect, this “nugget of wisdom” is still relevant specially in our political situation today.
Without doubt, “Of Missions and Destinies” is indeed one of the legacies of Mayor Godofredo B. Mintu of Sablayan. So far, Mintu is the only political figure in my province who have written a full length book as good as this.
Will Edna N. Mintu will be able to continue her husband’s legacy in case she win? Nobody can tell …
(Photo from ilovemindoro.blogspot.com)