Darlene’s Apprenticeship in Governance Work

Posted: July 2, 2010 in Political

I am now starting to serialize in this space the old article I wrote for Darlene, with a hope that we can contribute in the task of social mobilization to enable the new local administration to redirect our local community in accordance with the social covenant it forges with the people during the newly-concluded local elections. This article will come out in eleven series. Let us begin:

The life of Darlene Magnolia Recasa Antonino-Custodio, Representative of the First Congressional District of General Santos City and South Cotabato, can be readily viewed in graphic details by merely putting to in-depth scrutiny her unpopularized resume or biodata.. An examination of her kilometric list of achievements is enough for us to conclude that she is, indeed, a woman of wisdom and achievement, and one public official with sufficient preparation for executive or management tasks.

However, such a resume, being mere product of mechanical listings of the efficacious achievements of Congresswoman Darlene Antonino-Custodio, now the mayor-elect of General Santos City, is not enough to capture all the beautiful abstractions lurking beneath every facet of her feats as a person and as a young politician. Of course, it cannot be denied that her resume, mechanical as it is, has been welcomed by many quarters with some degree of awe. For a very young politician, like Darlene, her achievements stand taller than herself.

In the past, Darlene is one among the few politicians whose academic preparation and initiation for public office are always put to doubt. Probably for the other politicians, the issue is legitimate. But for Darlene, the reason is that there is no aggressive effort on her part to advertise or popularize her competence, much more her achievements. Unlike other politicians, she finds it culturally repugnant to engage on any matter that borders to the self-serving.

Thus, the primary task of this work is to breathe a fresh new life to Darlene’s statistics of achievement by bringing to the fore the human contexts through which they were given shape and form. A resume, if not put in the context of human struggle, becomes  merely a repository of a lifeless data. Any monumental achievement, even if it had emerged overarching among all others, may still be rendered meaningless if not viewed through the lens of humanity, and without considering them in the context of human experiences that passed through different vicissitudes of an ever changing social landscape.

If Darlene has succeeded to have herself prominently decorated in the national political stage by virtue of her being a no-nonsense legislator, a crusader for good governance and a development activist; it is not a feat and a social stature that just spurt out by the mere stroke of a magic wand. It is primarily attributable to Darlene’s a glorious lineage, to her formidable formal and informal initiations and apprenticeships in the arena of governance and development. Some said that it is because she has the looks that suits well with the requirements of our contemporary boob-tube politics, but others posit that it is because of her in-born charisma, reinforced by her good-natured eloquence. (To be continued)


We are also waiting for some materials from the information officers of Governor Migs Dominguez in Sarangani Province which we will use to update our readers about the economic and governance trends and events in this seashore area. We have been receiving feedback from our friends in Sarangani that they appreciate the post-election analysis we previously published in this space. We will continue doing it so we may be able to enliven the economic and political discourses in this speedily growing seashore province.

General Santos City and Sarangani Province are interesting areas for economic and political discourses are they are both managed by young and dynamic leaders who have, this early, captured the national political stage because of their proven expertise in the field of politics and governance.


Yellow Bus Line – The giving of this report is quite too late, but I am constrained to do this because the drivers of Yellow Bus Line or YBL still continue to drive recklessly along the General Santos City-Davao City route. We will continue to discuss here the abusive ways of YBL drivers as our mission to prevent the tragedy that these drivers could inflict on the lives of many passengers in the future.

At about 2:00 in the afternoon of May 15, 2010, we almost fell on the ravine while the bus we were riding was negotiating on a mountainous part of Malungon, Sarangani Province. This accident was not caused by anything, except the abusive ways of the driver manning the bus.

This near fatal accident happened because the driver, instead of reducing speed, was steeping on the gasoline on curves and corners to the consternation of the passengers. As we experience it, this has been the brand of driving of abusive YBL drivers. Almost all YBL drivers are doing this.

The bus did not reduce speed, as it always did, and instead moved speedily as we approached a very dangerous curve located at one of the highest mountains in Malungon. Beyond said curve is a deep ravine which is approximately more than 300 meters deep, with which the bus could easily fall into that deadly abyss by the driver’s slight mistake.

But despite that dangerous curve, the driver did not loosen the gasoline. While the bus was nearing the edge of the ravine, the driver maneuvered to avoid the abyss by sharply moving the bus towards the left, causing it to skid, with its right tires no longer touching the ground. With the driver almost losing control, the bus speed off into the rocky mountainside on the left side of the road.

To prevent the bus from bumping on the rocky mountainside, the driver moved the bus back to the right, causing the bus again to skid, with its left tires this time no longer touching the ground, towards the deep ravine. Then the driver maneuvered to avoid the ravine for the second time, until the violent movements of the bus were finally stabilized.

I got a scarce on my left hand. My wife turned as pale as paper. Some passengers also suffered slight injuries as a result of the incident. What was frustrating of all was the fact that the driver and the conductor did not apologize to the passengers.

Few weeks after this incident, it was reported in the news that one of the YBL units was featured in a self-accident; it fell due to its own weight and speed. I still observe that YBL buses continue to step on the gas even on dangerous curves, forcing the passengers to strongly hold on their seats to avoid being thrown away.

I still have plenty of tragic experience with YBL. I commit to inform the public about it, until Ritchie Yap, the owner-manager of YBL, will do something to discipline his abusive drivers.


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