CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/11 August) — A few years ago, when I was detailed at the City Tourism Office, I was assigned to meet a group from Manila who came to Cagayan de Oro City on a study tour. Upon their arrival, two of the visitors requested me to arrange a trip to the “CDO Carne Norte Factory. I was momentarily stunned by their request. I then informed them that there is no such factory in the city. It was their turn to be surprised. They told me that since Cagayan de Oro City is also known as CDO, they presumed that this is the place where the CDO meat products are made!

This erroneous perception bothered me for a while because I then realized that Cagayan de Oro did not have its own brand initials that can serve as its distinct identity. Our city’s name is composed of twelve letters and this is one of the reasons why many simply use CDO to refer to our city. But are we conscious of the fact that CDO refers to the official brand name of a nationally known food company? That the initials CDO do not legally belong to Cagayan de Oro at all?

I made a research on the where there is a brief article by Dindo A. Danao about Corazon Dayro – Ong, nutritionist and a housewife from Valenzuela City, Bulacan. She was known to make good longanisas and who experimented with the skinless variety. she started to sell them at a small scale, and it did not take long for it to become popular. In 1981, her thriving business was registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission as Foodsphere Inc. However, Corazonn Dayro – Ong’s initials – CDO is used as the flagship brand of the company’s food products like CDO carne norte, hot dog and many more.

The use of the initials CDO to denote Cagayan de Oro, probably started when the CDO meat products entered the local market. I guess that the company’s marketing arm may not want to admonish us for the misuse of their brand name for this is a big way to promote their products.

In 2008, the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission, after doing research and much discussion among its members, recommended to the City Council, the adoption of a new set of initials of the city as a way to stop the prevalent use of CDO which is not legally ours. Also, we deemed it unethical to be borrowing the corporate identity of a prominent food manufacturer and adopt it as the city’s own.

Being in charge of the research section of the City’s Historical and Cultural Commission, I found two important laws that gave Cagayan two different names during the Spanish colonial period and in 1950. The first one was a decree issued on February 27,1871, by Governor General Carlos Maria de la Torre that made Cagayan the official capital of the Misamis Province, also known as the the Segundo Distrito de Mindanao. This huge province consisted of the present provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin and Bukidnon and the cities of Iligan and Dapitan. The capital town was henceforth known as Cagayan de Misamis.

Decades later, on June 15, 1950, President Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act 521 – creating the City of Cagayan de Oro. Note that in these two laws, the word “de” was used. The word “de” in English means “of” and in case of place names, it means “that is” and is used to signify an important thing. Like “Cagayan that is in or of Misamis” – probably to differentiate it from Cagayan Valley of Northern Luzon. And our city’s name since 1950 means – Cagayan of Gold.

On April 21, 2008, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 10962 – 2008, adopting “CdeO” as the official initials of the City of Cagayan de Oro. The principal author of this ordinance is Councilor Alden Bacal. The use of CdeO as the distinct initials of the city is to be used for all official and semi-officials activities of the city. In Section 2 of this ordinance, it says that the official initials “CdeO” should be printed and stamped in all city government stationaries, IDs, official documents, banners, signs, posters and other similar materials authorized by the City Mayor or the City Council. In Section 3, it enjoined the tri-media, national offices and agencies and other private agencies located and stationed in the city as well as the barangay officials to use CdeO in their websites and other official communications, posters, signs and other similar materials.

We can definitely promote our city with CdeO as our global brand name. There are endless and wonderful possibilities in which we can do this through the use of our official initials. This way, many will know and differentiate the fact that CDO is for hotdogs and other meaty delights and CdeO means Cagayan de Oro – Cagayan of Gold!

(MindaNews is the opinion section of MindaViews. A. Paulita R. Roa is a member of the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission and Deputy of the National Museum in Cagayan de Oro)