Monday, July 26, 2010


Make My Day – Hilarion Henares, Jr.

The Philippine Post – August 7, 1999

In the latter part of June 1991, Senator Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez, chairman of the committee on natural resources and ecology, proposed that experts study the possibility of strategic bombing of selected spots around Mt. Pinatubo to divert mudflows from populated areas.

And everyone snickered. Derision in the press consigned Alvarez’s Pinatubo bombing to such nincompoopery as Congressman Vera’s outlawing of typhoon’s President Ramon Magsaysay’s abrogation of law of supply and demand, and Raul Manglapus’ abolition of fiestas.

Hehehe Alvarez can take satisfaction from the fact that such strategic bombing was used successfully in the 1935 eruption of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, but he cannot escape the derision of the press.

Vera’s bill was a perfectly valid proposal to study the typhoon while the view of diverting it or dissipating its force. Today it is possible to seed hurricanes, even bomb the storm’s eye to divert and dissipate it. Up to now, long after he’s been dead Vera is still known to have attempted to abolish typhoons.

Ramon Magsaysay’s remark about abrogating the law of supply and demand is a complete fabrication, a politician’s joke to show Monching’s lack of sophistication. But the joke acquired a life of its own and will probably last forever.

Manglapus’ proposal regarding fiestas sought not to abolish them but to utilize them for capital formation and productive endeavors, like pig raising, duck raising, credit unions, scholarship funding – instead of conspicuous consumption and give-away hospitality. A perfectly valid movement which I headed as president of Fiestas for Progress was practically laughed out of existence.

My friend, Raul Manglapus, screamed with pain every time he saw reprinted for the nth time the canard that a senator he introduced a bill to abolish fiestas. Max Soliven in 1987 wrote that Raul "proposed a law banning fiestas" and that he was "jeered and booted out of the Senate in the 1967 elections". And Teddy Benigno did the same thing in his Star column dated March 21, 1997, writing that Manglapus "got off a Senate Bill to ban fiestas and was bopped bowlegged by a fiesta loving citizenry and Congress." Well, Max and Teddy, pardon me but I was there as the president of Fiestas for Progress, and I know that:

Raul never filed a bill banning fiestas. We proposed not to ban the fiesta but to use it for productive purposes, such as saving capital for projects like balut and salted eggs in Pateros, where our experiement became successful. No need for a law.

Raul did not lose an election to the Senate simply because he did not run for the Senate in 1967. I did, along with Ninoy Aquino, Soc Rodrigo, Camilo Osias, and Maria KK the Censor; only Ninoy won. Nobody could have jeered Manglapus then, nor booted him out in an election he did not participate in.

The next time Raul Manglapus did run was his third party (Progressive) bid for the presidency in 1965, and he and Macapagal lost to Ferdinand Marcos. He then ran in 1970 for the Constitutional Convention. He won in the first district of Rizal with the highest number of votes in the entire country.

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