Bangued, Abra (03/15/2013). I arrived at the Governor Takit Bersamin’s farm in Penarrubia, Abra at about noon. He had accepted my request for an interview (note: this is very informal) earlier that week. The purpose of my interview is to get his side of the different issues leveled against his administration and of course the upcoming elections.
This was the first time I met the governor in person and I noticed that he was just wearing a t-shirt and jeans as he ushered us to the table where he has laid down a myriad of dishes.
After exchanging some few pleasantries, he started asking everyone to eat. The dish were the usual Ilokano food like chicken, pork and fresh water fish. There were other food on the table which I couldn’t make out of it but nevertheless looks delicious.
He seems to be laid back, relaxed and always smiling, as he points towards the rows of chicken cages “This is what I do during the weekends, I hang out here and try to relax. This was my plan even before I was a governor – to retire early and just spend my time here”, he said. “It’s very peacefull here”.
In between bites, I started to ask him questions:
SysOp: Thank you Governor for seeing me today. It was great to finally meet you in person.
Guv: of course. Any time. Am-ammo ka ah Eric!
SysOp: You probably know why am here. To ask you some questions about things that has been said on the internet, particularly in abrenian.com
Guv: yes i know, abrenian.com. You can ask me any questions. I am familiar what’s being said there. And I can tell you right now, most of them are not true.
SysOp: Am sure you know I have no personal agenda with the site governor, I can’t stop people from commenting. But before we go further, can you tell me what are your most significant accomplished for Abra in your last 6 years in office?
Guv: There’s so many things to mention, but first off, we succeded in breaking the almost 20 year rule of Vicsyd. It was a tough fight but we did it. We have improved our roads and bridges and Peace and order has also been improved. A new hospital will soon be opened to the public.
SysOp: I noticed that you have been very quiet about all these charges of corruption in your adminstration. There’s this radio program that goes to the extreme of calling you and your wife names. What can you say about that?
Guv: I don’t want to bother on those nonsense. “Lakayakon nga mang-tutop pay laeng kadagita nga banag”. “I don’t want to engage any word war with them”. “Ammo ti tao no nya ti naarmid ko nga pagsayaatan ti Abra”. About what had been said about me, my wife and even my kids are not true. My kids have good life in America, they have good jobs so they can afford whatever they want. “Sayang di mo naabutan ni Ruby, she actually wanted to meet you”.
SysOp: Let’s talk about the hospital which is one of the hottest issues right now.
Guv: The hospital was built according to standards. In fact, we are scheduled to open the facility this April. The preparation is in full swing.
SysOp: What about the e-coli issue?
Guv: Well it’s up to the health department. They are looking into that. That should not be an issue when the facility will be open. In fact, I invite you to see the facility for yourself.
SysOp: I would love it see it (I was able to gain access of the facility and took some pictures – this will be published soon). What will happen to the old APH?
Guv: We will improve the old building and probably will retain other services there. I assure you the new hospital will be open soon.
SysOp: What about the ABRECO issue? People has said that you have not done enough to avert the disaster?
Guv: I’ve explained it over and over, it is not under my control. But any case, you noticed there’s no more disconnection notices for the past month. We’ve discussed this with all parties concerned. The GM has agreed to do a thorough restructuring. So the situation is now under control.
SysOp: It’s election time, what are your chances?
Guv: “Kayat dak met pay laeng ti tao”. I have the support of the masses. I have confidence that I will win this election.
SysOp: including those people abroad?
SysOp: People are very concerned about election related violence, what can you say about that?
Guv: I have confidence with the military that they will make sure that we have a peacefull elections. I have confidence with Gen. Magalong. Sinno ayat ti mayat ti nagulo nga election? That’s why I said earlier, I don’t want to engage in provocations like what the other camps are doing. I even subjected all my guns to be sealed during the election campaign. Province wide I think we will have a peacefull election. I do see that in Bangued, there will be problems.
SysOp: Why Bangued?
Guv: It’s history, Bangued is always a very hotly contested town. Plus it’s the return bout between Dominic and Ryan.
SysOp: YOu think the military will remain neutral?
Guv: Yes, I do. Gen. Magalong is an honorable man.
SysOp: If you lose, what will you do?
Guv: I don’t think that’s going to happen. But if ever, then so be it! I won’t force my way. Look at what happen to the previous administration (referring to the downfall of Vicsyd Valera who is now languishing in jail as the primary suspect of the killing of COng. Chit Bersamin). So if ever, I can just retired peacefully here in my farm.
SysOp: If you win, what’s your priority programs?
Guv: I will continue with the improvement of our infrastructure. I will concentrate on improving our roads in the uplands. That’s the key to develop far flung areas.”ammom deta Eric, like in the U.S. no napintas ti dalan, adda progresso”.
SysOp: I visited the Abra-Ilocos road and it has not been completed. There are parts of it that are either destroyed or incomplete.
Guv: this is a national road so it’s under our Congresswoman. I cannot comment on that. But I’m sure she’s doing what is needed to be done. Siguro it’s better that a foreign contractor should finish the job since they are the experts on road buildings.
SysOp: If you win, it’s going to be your last term as a Governor. What’s next?
Guv: It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen after 3 years. But right now, I want to see a new leader that will emerge to succeed me as Governor. If I can find that person, then I will be happy.
SysOp: Thanks for your time Guv, it was a great lunch.
Guv: Anytime! Now go and see our new Hospital.
Before we left, the Governor treated us with ice cream. He then ordered one of his assistant to drive me to the new APH. (sysop/abrenian.com)
next article: Interview with former Congresswoman Cecy Luna