By Leo Tuason, MD
I’m saddened and deeply disturbed when I (Dr.Leo) learned from the Abrenian.com Website that the younger generation of Bersamins are having ‘behavior’ short of what the people expected them (Bersamin) in Government Office to have…that is ‘integrity’, pro-people and ‘well behaved’ – behavior in accordance with strict code of moral values’.
Integrity above reproach is hard to acchieve nowadays. YES IT’S TRUE, as the saying goes;…”Behavior changes with the changing times”. I hope the good behavior remain!!!
I can’t help but reminisce about the ‘good old days’ when every thing is simple. I can recall the older generation of Bersamins who have served the people via Government offices, fully aware that they are only ‘temporary’ stewards of the province … and being temporary in status they can be removed from office by majority of votes.
I can recall the older generation of Bersamins whose ‘integrity’ was beyond reproach like..
1. DON. HONORIO BERSAMIN the 1st progenitor of the Family Bersamin. He was married to Dona Romana Villamor. These were Dr. Leo’s grandparents. Don Honorio was a land owner and pilanthropist. He donated hectares of his land west of Bangued, when in early 1920′s the community needed land to build the highest Academic Institution of the province at the time.
Incidentally, after the American – Filipino Conflict of 1900 to 1902, the American Government established the early educational system in the Islands. In Bangued, they built the long Building east of the Plaza …this was the LONG BUILDING and was made as the EAST CENTRAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL… this was the grade school I (Leo) attended. after 1 year of Kindergarten to the 1st year of grade school at the Catholic School.
Kababayans, have you passed as students through the Academic Portals of the Abra High School? If you have, then, you’ve been touched by the ‘legacy’ of Don Honorio Bersamin to the people of the province of Abra.
1. Don Honorio Bersamin. (previously mentioned).
2. Don Longino Bersamin. Oldest son of Don Honorio. Married to Maestra Isang Ferraren. Don Longino was twice elected as Mayor of Bangued (in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s). He was responsible in the initiation-creation of the ‘water supply with faucets’ in every household in the municipality of Bangued.
The abundant supply of water comes from the crystal-clear spring water of Lusuac Penarubia, at the time owned by Don Longino’s cousins… Don Ignacio Villamor (1st President of Univ. of the Phil. and later became the Chief Justice of the Phil. Supreme Court) and Don Julio Villamor Borbon (was Abra Governor early 1930′s and initiated the construction of the ‘Tangadan Tunnel’ at the border of ILOCOS SUR and ABRA).
Both cousins Dons Ignacio and Julio gave the water to the Bangued people ‘FREE’.
Allow me to trace the route of the water from source Lusuac to Bangued, through Cosili thence to Casamata Hill of Bangued where the water is received by a huge cement water reservior located at the summit of the Hill, where the statue of ST. MARY now stands.
It took me a long time to figure out how the Lusuac water reached Bangued without electric-pump during the time, how to propel forward the water. Yes, natures way…. the Romans did it. They knew the source of water for the city of Rome to create their ‘water fountains’. Water came from a higher source. Through a system of ‘aquaducts’(acting as pipes) the water is channeled to the City of Rome. The force to propel the water from source is created by difference of height (higher source and to lower City of Rome) plus gravity creating a ‘water head-pressure’ to cause the water fountains to function!!! How ingenious these Romans were. Michelangelo never had ‘electric-pump’ at the time.
3. Dr. Luis F. Bersamin, Sr. married to Pharmacist Ms. Rosario Purruganan daugther of the late Governor of Abra Eustaquio Purruganan.
Dr. Luis was the second oldest son of Don Longino. He was a WW II veteran of the Phil. Medical Corp and Survivor of the Bataan Death March. Dr. Luis became the first Governor of Abra after World War II.
As the Governor of the province, Dr. Luis’s first project was the building of the Provincial Hospital (APH) (his ‘legacy’ to the people of the province). After the War, he saw the deteriorating ‘Health’ situation of his constituents. He asked his cousins the Tuasons Meno and Moises who were in the Logging-lumber business at the time to ‘bid’ for the construction of the Hospital using their lumber… The Tuasons won the ‘BID’, the older Meno stayed to oversee the Construction of APH while the younger Moises went back to the high mountains of Abra to resume the Logging-lumber business.
For the first time I (Dr.Leo) heard the word ‘NEPOTISM’ uthered by cousin Gov. Luis (nepotism has no place in a good government, he said. I was very young then, I did not know the word but it got stuck in my mind. Many years later I learned the meaning of the word ‘NEPOTISM’ from the Dictionary…means favoritism shown or bestowed in consideration to family relationship NOT ON MERIT…After knowing the meaning of the word, I said to myself, “what a brilliant fellow my cousin Luis was!!!”
After his term as Governor, Dr. Luis left the GOVERNORSHIP (one term only) he returned to the practice of Family Physician his first love. By the way, shortly before WW II, I Leo used to carry his medical bag for 10 centavos which was a lots of money then for a youngster when he made his rounds in the municipality of Bangued to see his patients from Linasin (north), Lalaud (west), sinapangan (south), barikir, (east) which usually took the whole day.
What a joy I had for the 10 centavos and the Medical Bag had endeared me to the Medical profession.
4. Mr. Luis P. Bersamin, jr., went by the name of ‘CHITO’, married to Ms. Evelyn Mayor. Divorced after having three children … Charito, Mary Ann & Michelle, and remained single. At a time of political turmoil during the dark years of the province, he became the Mayor or Bangued then became the Congressman for the Province a much contested office at the time… Chito got the mandate of the Abrenians but time was not to his favor… his life was cut short by assasin’s bullet.
In 1997, I took my family to visit Bangued My family consisted of an American wife and four young adult children. It was the time I saw cousin Manong Luis ‘bed-ridden’. It was the darkest ‘political era in the province of Abra’, the first time I heard Bangued as being the ‘killing field of the Northern Luzon’. Manong Luis confided on me, he said this he adviced his son Chito “To lay low and not to antogonize the incumbent administration”.
Cong. Chito was the oldest son of the late Gov. Luis F. Bersamin, Sr. Chito remained single after his divorce till his untimely death in the early 2006.
In 2005, my last Bangued visit in months of February to March… I stayed at his residence in the old Purruganan Ancestral House… and had evening conversations with him after hectic days in the Congress. I noticed disatisfaction in his voice regarding his status as a Congressman because he can not implement his ideas to bring forth betterment of the province. In order to do the job, he said, “I must be the Governor”. and you uncle shall be my adviser from distant USA, he added.
At this point, I reminded him about the advice of his Father, ‘Not to upset the cart’.
Regarding Chito’s contribution to the Abrenians. Recorded are water supply to several communities he sponsored using money allocation from the Congress, put up-built in the form of artesian wells. Another was the bridge at SOOT RIVER in the southern Abra. These are his ‘legacy’ to the people of the province.
5. Mr. Eustaquio ‘Takit’ Bersamin married to Ms. Ruby Mamsaang. TAKIT is the son of
Dr. Luis F. Bersamin, Sr. He was voted to the Governorship soon after the death of his older brother Cong. ‘Chito’.
Question…”Does Takit have projects, pending or otherwise that can be considered his ‘legacy’ to the people of province?”
Many Abrenians have noticed Gov. Takit, with a Bersamin DNA in his blood is treading the wrong side of a righteous road. Compared to the Bersamins who held Government Offices before him…
Don Longino – Mayor, Dr. Luis, Sr -Governor, Chito’ Luis, Jr – Congressman.
His constituents blames him (Takit) for exercising poor executive judgements…Claimed to have acquired proved or unproved accomulated wealth not commensurate to salary or investments (USA or ABRA).
Folks, these accusations, please present proofs, documented proofs, not hearsay-gossip.
Many of your kababayans believed that you TAKIT is under the ‘saya’.
All informations mentioned here are obtained from the Abrenian.com Website.
I know FOR A FACT that Don Longino, Dr. Luis and Cong. Chito never, never ENRICHED themselves while they were in Office!!! and I know the wives of Don Longino and Dr. Luis personally, they were of ‘ILOKAN HERITAGE’.
They remained just plain housewives and never allowed Abra people call them MAYORA or GOVERNADORA …meaning not involved in the government activities or functions.
I have never met personally Mrs. Ruby Mamsaang Bersamin. All I know about her is that she is from Penarubia, Abra.
Dr. Leo Tuason.