EXCLUSIVE: The son also rises

by The Sentinel Times Research Staff September 14, 2021 Antonio "Anton Jun" A. Punzalan LUCENA CITY - Two decades after his much-l...

by The Sentinel Times Research Staff
September 14, 2021


The son also rises
Antonio "Anton Jun" A. Punzalan




LUCENA CITY - Two decades after his much-loved father was murdered in cold blood by what witnesses described six "young looking" men, the son of the late Rep. Marcial Punzalan has shunted aside thoughts of vengeance, even asserting that it was vindictiveness and minds thoroughly shut that had doomed the nation's bid to industrialize and free itself from the clutches of foreign domination.

Antonio "Anton Jun" A. Punzalan looks back in fondness to the ancient regime's 11 major industrial projects that would have paved genuine progress for the Philippines and ushered the nation in the league of Asian tiger economies.



"Since when have we started a 20-80 mix of bioethanol and gasoline to bring down fuel prices? It was Mga kathe Biofuels Act of 2006 or R.A. 9367 that directed the use of biofuels, establishing for the biofuel program, appropriating funds therefore, and went into force 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation. But this had been established back in 1979; it had never been supported, and slept for a decade before it was roused back to take effect.

"The Philippine Alcohol Commission was set up in 1979 to carry out a nationwide program for producing a mixture of 20 percent alcohol and 80 percent gasoline to run motor vehicles. It is expected to use sugarcane molasses, primarily, as raw material. Then-Energy Minister Geronimo Velasco drew out plans to establish alcogas plants and filling stations in major cities nationwide that could have been a game changer," Punzalan pointed out.



Punzalan confided of having pored over the 11 major industrial projects conceived in the 1970's, napakaganda po sana kung itinuloy ng sumunod na administrasyon, kaso inuna ang personal na damdamin, sarado ang utak, sarili lang ang iniisip."

He wants the discarded projects back in the pipeline, say, "the petrochemical complex to process compounds from raw petroleum or fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as maize, palm fruit or sugar cane. We can produce rather than import finished fuels like methane, ethane, propane and butane. Since this is a nationalized project rather than a privatized undertaking, we'll have an easier life-- no more arbitrary and capricious increases in gas prices perpetrated on us by oil multinationals who would even jack up prices despite having procured low-priced fuels in world markets-- puro panloloko ang ginagawa sa atin, magro-rollback ng bente sentimos 'tapos,magtataas sila ng piso."



With the mining sector barely contributing a paltry 0.6% to 0.89% to the nation's gross domestic product, the young Punzalan bewailed that the mineral ores these mining firms sell at a pittance abroad are sent back here and sold at higher costs: "Napakadami po nating mina lalong lalo na sa Surigao, nasaan na po ang ating nickel? Ang pinakamasakit po ay kontrolado lang ng iilang makapangyarihang tao ang mina ng nickel; computer age na po ngayon bawat cellphone,laptop,television ano mang electronic products isama na rin po natin ang sasakyan buong mundo kailangan ng nickel.

"Ang ating mga mambabatas ay nagbubulag-bulagan, nagbibingi-bingihan. Ilang billion ang kinikita ng mining sa isang taon? Kayo pong mga nasa mining busog na busog na kayo. 'Yung pera na kinita niyo diyan ay mahirap nang ubusin kahit ilang henerasyon pa ng inyong pamilya.

"Ipamahingi n'yo naman sa taong bayan simula sa lolo n'yo hanggang sa mga apo na ang humawak ng minahan; ilang henerasyon 'yun mabusog naman kayo. Issue lang po ito walang personalan; pero sana kayong mga mambabatas gawin n'yo na ang trabaho n'yo para naman 'yung mga susunod na henerasyon matikman man lang ang sarap ng Pilipinas."

What atrocities?

Looking back to 2001, reports have it that six armed men opened fire on the elder Punzalan and two of his bodyguards, as the former alighted from the stage used in the political rally. One of the suspects was said to have shaken hands with the victim before shooting him.

Hours after that incident, New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas under the Melito Glor Command operating in the Quezon area claimed responsibility for the elder Punzalan's killing. It turned out to be a false lead.

The elder Punzalan even went through a prolonged hunger strike in protest of the accusations leveled at him... and as later events would prove, it was political rivalry with its dark shadows that had taken him out-- he was too popular with the masses that found a pillar of strength, and trustworthy partner in him.

Today, the accusations against the elder Punzalan had been proven as lame excuses spawned by filthy politics that had cost him his life-- and likely, a political career that could have brought a measure of upliftment for his constituents in Quezon.

In fact, the left-leaning political party Akbayan denounced Punzalan's killing. Congressman Loretta Ann Rosales of Akbayan said Punzalan was a "hard working legislator who joined in the impeachment of former President (Joseph) Estrada."

The young Punzalan would rather let bygones be bygones, and instead, carry on the legacy of serving the people like his father did as an example worthy of emulation.

Mission: Paglilingkod

Tackling a topic not unlike how New Zealand took gooseberries from an Asian country, improved the strain, and turned up a winner that has become a major export produce, the kiwi fruit, Punzalan takes up the much-needed protection of Philippine plant life that had become fair game for foreign poachers.

"Ang ating punong niyog, nakapunta na sa buwan ang mga Amerikano at naka balik. At ngayon ay nagbabalak na sila ay makapunta sa Mars ngunit ang variety ng niyog ng ating pinakamamahal na lungsod ay kasing luma pa ng Apollo 11. Nauna na magpahayag ang Malaysia na sa kanila ang Coco Aroma, they were claiming na sa kanila galing ito.


AGRIKULTURA, which will prioritize the needs of the agricultural sector:

- Examples: Ayuda para sa mga magsasaka at mangingisda, subsidies for farmers and fisherfolk
- Examples: Higher daily rates for farmers, tax exemption on basic needs.


PROGRESO

- Employment and Investment (Industrial park/zone)
- Youth education and skills development
- Support for small and medium enterprises
- Innovate practices in agriculture
- New age farming

"Pero hindi po sa kanila galing iyon. Meron tayo pruweba na ito po ay meron na sa University of the Philippines agriculture department noong panahon pa ng Pangulong Marcos, siya po ang nagpagawa ng pag-aaral nito. Doon sa U.P. n'yo matatagpuan ang limang mother plants ng Coco Aroma."

“Isa rin sa sa ating tutukan kapag tayo ay pinalad lalong lalo na yung ating masisipag at makisig na magbubukid. Protection at benepisyo para sa bawat isa. Regulate po natin ang mga presyo ng mga tanim pati ang bigas. At bigyan ng pansin ang buwis.

But poachers pounced: "Nakakapagtaka lang po pagkatapos ng Marcos administration, nawala po ang isa sa mga mother plants. Ano po ba ang Coco Aroma? Ito po ang niyog o buko na kapag binuksan, mabango ang amoy, parang buko pandan. Tissue cultured po, ginawa sa laboratoryo. Hindi lang po yan meron na rin po tayong 100% macapuno! Tama po 100% ibig sabihin lahat ng bunga ng niyog ay macapuno.

"Ang pinakamasakit po nito umaangkat pa tayo sa Malaysia ng coco aroma samantalang kayang kaya gawin dito sa atin.Ewan ko ba sa ating mga mambabatas puro bar topnotcher, econ prof, matitinding negosyante,cum laude pero bakit hindi hindi man lamang naisip na suportahan ang sariling atin. Kakalampagin natin ang konseho para bigyan ng tunay na suporta ang University of the Philippines at iba pang state universities at mga lokal na establisimiyento na nagbibigay-aral sa mga ganitong bagay.

"Pati na rin sana Philippine General Hospital na number one dalahan ng may sakit na walang pangbayad. Kung titingnan ninyo ang ating pinakagamit na ospital ito po ay talagang kaawa-awa. Hindi lang po ito kulang staff ito po ay nahuhuli narin pagdating sa kagamitan," lamented Punzalan.

Aiming for a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2022 polls, the young Punzalan pushes for consistency and continuity in projects that has expended taxpayer money: "Mahalin natin ang mga proyektong nagawa na at gagawin pa lang at naipasa na. 'Wag po sana natin harangin at sayangin ang projects na ginawa para sa tao. 'Wag naman natin sana sayangin ang pera ng taong bayan. Maayos na kalsada bubutasin. Yung may lubak tatambakan, mag-aaspalto kapag masama ang panahon. Ilang dekada na po ang ganyang sistema panahon napo baguhin ito. Baguhin na natin ang lumang sistema at alam naman natin na ito ay napapanahon na, para 'wag na matularan ng susunod na henerasyon. Gagawan po natin ng batas 'yan upang hindi masayang ang pera ng taong bayan."

He rued that when he was elected as Quezon provincial board member, all he had carried out were job fairs and medical missions as he was a minority in the provincial board-- "lahat po ng aking proyekto ay ibinasura at hindi na binigyan ng pagkakataon na makita ng aking kababayan ang aking tunay na hangarin para sa ating mahal na Quezon."

Punzalan envisions himself fighting a good fight for the common tao-- not only for his home province but for the Filipino citizenry. "Trabaho, karapatan, proteksyon at benepisyo ng bawat mamamayan ang ating tutukan. Boses ng kabataan at mahihirap ang ating bigyang halaga. Ipagpatuloy po natin ang MISYON:PAGLILINGKOD na sinimulan ng aking ama noong 1992!"

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