Abdusakur M. Tan Vice Governor, Province of Sulu
Auzubillah hi minas syaytan nirrajeem
Bismilla hi Rahman Nirraheem
The Honorable Abdusakur A. Tan II, reelected Governor of Sulu; the Honorable Hja. Nurunisah A. Tan, the newly-elected Vice Governor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; Honorable Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Sulu; Honorable Municipal Mayors, Vice Mayors and Municipal Councilors; the Honorable Alsad Alfad Jr, Presiding RTC Judge of Branch 25; Mufti Sharif Julasiri Abirin; distinguished and honored guests;
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu.
Three years ago today here at this same place, we gathered in this Gym to install a new Governor, Abdusakur A. Tan II, a new Vice Governor, yours truly, and a host of other Local Chief Executives.
Today we are about to witness the Oath-taking of the reelected Governor of Sulu and the new Vice Governor Hadja Nurunisah A. Tan and a combination of new and old Provincial Board Members, Mayors, Vice Mayors and Municipal Councilors. Admittedly we will be holding this ceremony in a rather laid-back manner as we are in the fasting month. Nonetheless, you will agree with me that this event marks another milestone in our province’s history and another stride in its journey towards a destination of peace and development for Sulu and its people.
In 2013 when I had another term left as Governor I decided to let my eldest son Totoh to run in my place and instead I opted to make a bid for Vice Governor. Many asked why. I said why not!
To shorten the episode, we both won with convincing majority.
My memory is still vivid on the inaugural ceremony on that day in 2013 and in my inaugural speech and turn-over I quoted a poem by Rudyard Kipling - If. It was a father’s advice and caution to a son who will soon be a man. Of course Governor Tan was already a man of age when he stepped into my shoe, but in the bittersweet political arena he still lacked enough experience to wriggle his way through the labyrinth and maze and also the traps in the way of politics. One is never guilty of being too protective of one’s family and one cannot stand judgment for doing the most primordial of human nature.
In the three years of being Governor, Totoh has proven to be a man any father would be proud of. The vast majority he obtained over his next close rival in this year’s elections is proof enough of the people’s confidence in him and his team, and should silence the cynics and other sour grapes.
With this new term he has another two terms to prove his worth, and I’m certain he will prove it well.
In the inauguration and turn-over ceremony in 2013, my youngest daughter Shernee co-emceed for the occasion. In the processional as I walked along the aisle strewn with accolade and praises, she was in tears and emotional; perhaps she could not let go of the thought that her father whom she grew accustomed to of being always at the top, was then relegated to be the 2nd best. In the three years that followed she now realizes the wisdom behind the move. Look at her now as she will soon be walking the halls of Congress as first nominee of the Kusug Tausug partylist. She does the family proud and I’m certain, too, that she will build her own niche in Congress for the pride of Sulu and the Tausug!
Hitukbal ku in malagguh pagsarang sukul ku pa katan gausbug namuh labi awla na tuud pa Tuhan taniyu Rabbul Alameen in tunggal salaggu laggu sasanglitan, ha kiyabusan Niya aku ummul iban kusug-kaya, sartah kiyaridaan Niya aku lidjikih amuin nahinang ku pagun ha pagsangsah ku ha mahadjanah iban hulah sibuh da sin ha way pa ku ha kawasa sampay pa sakarang ini.
Masanyang ha pangatayan ku iban pagsukulan ku isab ha katan namaugbug ha napih ku sumubli kakuh mag Gubnul sin 3 tahun limabay amu, na hi Governor Totoh Tan, iban huwat-huwat aku isab sin hituy niyu in pamaugbugi kaniya sampay maubus niya in 3 terms bilang gubnul sin Lupah Sug.
Today I will be turning over the baton of Vice Governorship to Hajja NurunisahA. Tan. She deserves to be the new Vice Governor of Sulu and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan not because she is my wife or the mother of the reelected Governor but simply because she deserves it.
Her quick responses to calamities and incidences where relief and assistance are called for, and her outreach activities which extend even beyond the borders of Sulu, made her endearing to many. Her advocacies in promoting cleanliness of surroundings and her unheralded advocacies in adult education and livelihood training programs are bearing fruits. Madrasas are named after her in many parts of the province. Her staunch support for the welfare of women and the care of children are exemplary. The office of the Vice Governor will be in good hands.
Ha adlaw ini timubtub na in kawajiban ku bilang Vice Governor. Ha lawm kuyag daysab aku tumukbal sin pagsarang-sukul ha panukuhi niyu ha sumubli kakuh mag Vice-Governor, in kakasih ku salama-lama, panun ku naglukuh-ligad dayn sin tagnah, inah sin manga anak ku, inah sin gubnul, hambuuk babai panday-pandikal hi Vice Governor-elect Hadja Nurunisah A. Tan. Pangayuun ku daysab kaniyu anduh ayaw nyu pasari, abayan iban tukuhun ha supaya mapaintul nya in kyawajiban kaniya tungud sin mahadjanah iban na sin hulah.
The national elections this year saw the emergence of a new President, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and he mesmerized the Filipino people with his direct and no-nonsense approach.
On Friday of last week, June 24, I was in Davao with the new OPAPP Secretary Jess Dureza to handover Marites Flor, the Filipina who was among the victims in the Samal Island kidnap incident. We caught Mayor Duterte while he was officiating at the turnover of command of the Davao PNP and we were ushered onto the stage to hand over Marites and the new President acknowledged our presence in public.
I personally heard how passionate he was about the changes he wants to see in our country and how angry he was, as he had always been, about the evils of drugs and criminality. And he is deadly serious about it.
We in Sulu have to attune ourselves to the dare and challenge of the new President if only to take them as opportunities to mend the damages done to the image of our province because of incidences of kidnapping, the drug trade and other criminal activities by a few in our midst. No one can block the wave of changes.
The imposition of Martial Law by the new leadership is being considered on areas known to be lairs of KFRs and other armed groups. We are of the opinion that we should tread lightly and with utmost care on the matter of imposing Martial Law. Even the mere mention of it reawakens the stigma of that bygone era more than four decades ago. Some of us who are present here today personally experienced that dark episode which was punctuated by abuses of the military authorities, and ignited a devastating and destructive rebellion.
If and when Martial Law be imposed as the only option left to take, then it must be well-defined and limited only to target areas. The emergency powers that go with it should not be intrusive on the civil rights of the people and should maintain, protect and respect the mandate of the duly-elected local government. We will not get in the way of the law against those who are proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt whatever their positions in the government or status in society may be.
Tiyatalih sin bagu pamarinta hi Duterte in pagpapanaw sin pagtawagun Martial Law. In banu-banu ini bang ta taliun hikarayaw iban hikahanung sin hulah bang sawpama in maksud amu na in pagsiksah ha manga sila amu in limalanggal sarah atawa naghihinang sin manga karupangan makalummu sin kawman. Asal da in miyamaksud sin kita amu na in mapapanaw in sarah amu way pagpinig iban way pagnapi.
In manga kahihinangan langgalsarah nag-puun dayin ha kamiskin. Ha way na malingih kasawahan ha katigidlum sin pamutangmutang nila, na nalugus in kaibanan lumawag sin unuunu na hika-pakaun nila ha manga ahli atawa anakasawa nila. In pagpapanaw sin sarah Martial Law subay daysab awun abay niya manga hibal dayin ha parinta ARMM iban na sin National, amu in katudjuhan nya kaubatan in hapdi sin sila kulang in gaus iban maukab para kanila in lawang sin makabak sila kabuhianan halal bukun sadja ha sarah sin manusiya labi-lubah na ha sarah sin Tuhan.
Incidences of criminality cannot find solution by iron-hand alone. The causes of such crimes and the emergence of armed groups trading in what they term as a “thriving industry” of kidnapping and drug trade should be seriously looked into. There should be parallel actions by the national government to the military operations and law enforcement, in the shape and form of social, economic and livelihood programs, and the necessary infrastructures that are basic and prerequisites in nation-building, such as roads, schools and hospitals, ports, post-harvest facilities and so forth. On hindsight if the huge allocations to the region were prudently and diligently spent for which they were earmarked, there would have been less persuasion to attract adventurism from any group. Development remains to be a formidable deterrent.
We take exception to the tirades of some sectors that the proliferation of crimes, specifically the kidnappings, as indicative of the failure of local governance. The local government is not in the chain of command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police where competency lies in maintaining peace and order. People should not be barking on the wrong tree and instead let those who are mandated with responsibilities do so with due diligence and they should be held to account for any dereliction of duties and tasks.
We have always maintained the position that law enforcement operations to be more effective should entail the involvement of the community and local leaders. It is not fair to pass judgment that local leaders and the people in the communities are coddling criminals and in one way or the other alleged to be committing the crimes themselves. We must bear in mind that this outlook is not healthy and may aggravate the situation further and ignite the flame of resistance against the authorities. The peace-loving and the exponents of the rule of law are still in the majority. Where will true justice be if we bundle the good and the bad together and judge the entire province to be in cahoots with criminals? Let the law take its course and do not let the innocent be the collateral damage to over-zealousness or self-agenda of some players in the field.
Some said that this is my exit call. Maybe they said it in jest and maybe not. I am not an old soldier who simply fades away.God has been kind and generous with me. I cannot thank God enough. Allah, in His Magnifence, Greatness and Abundance is not in need of anything. Being of service to my people is my own way of gratitude for God’s Blessings and Compassion.
Misan ha way na iyuulinan ku kawasa dayin ha adlaw ini, dih ku manjari bugtuun in panindug iban pamamawbugi ha kamaruwan iban martabbat sin Tausug amu timutubuh ha lawm bigijantung ku iban na sin kamu katan. Way na tawaran ku pa Tuhan taniyu Rabbul Alameen ha katan lidjikih tyukbal Niya kakuh iban na ha family ku. Wayra tuud dapat bang bukun hikakuyag ku magsangsah ha pagkahi ku bilang pagsarang sukul pa Nagpapanjari.
I have spent my entire life as a public servant and I chose politics as a discipline. At my age I have witnessed how Sulu went through many phases, some good and others bad. But through the good and bad I have never abandoned her and the many storms that swept through this land were experiences that molded my principles and outlook in life. I still have many good years left in me and I will not waste them by sitting idly and just watch sunsets or read books on a rocking chair to while away time. That is not me. In the realm of serving my people, retirement will never be an option. To rest and be idle are not in my vocabulary. I will be around in whatever capacity I opt to take or if and when my people still need my services.
I have nurtured the seed of a better Sulu and it has already gained roots. Maybe I will be a gardener. I will continue to sprinkle the water of experience that those roots will grow stronger and sturdier and able to weather storms and strong winds and blossom in vibrant colors to add glow in the landscape of my homeland. I shall continue to tend the growing tree with care and attention that it bears the fruits of sustenance for this generation and the next, inshallah!
It is in the nature of the democratic exercise of elections that people tend to be polarised into opposing camps, and many unkind and brutal accusations and counter-accusations are hurled by one side against the other. There is nothing personal about this feature of election campaigns. Now that the exercise is over and the people have spoken let the process of nation building continue. The healing hands of time will prove that differences can be resolved and that everyone must play a role and has a share of duties and responsibilities for our one and only Sulu.
Mangayuh kita duwaa ha bang man in Lupah Sug tattap ha Kasi iban Ulung sin Allahu Taala; ha bang mayan papasun Nya in iggil, jangki iban abughu ha pangatayan sin katan ha supaya hikatunay sin Tausug in pagtaymanghud ha antara sin sila hangka bangsa, hangka agama, Ameen!
Magsukul kaniyu katan, wabillahi taufik wal hidaya, wassalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu.